Today is "World AIDS Day, a Day of Remembrance.  I often like to look back on this day and reflect on the past year and the past 30 years of working and fighting to defeat HIV and AIDS. We have come a long way with our medical interventions. We are moving towards ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and making significant progress, reducing the number of people who live with HIV and AIDS. Hopefully, soon, one day, we can say, "the epidemic is over!".  

But it is essential to remember on this day, we have not ended the social injustices that still disproportionately affect our communities of color and LGBTQ.

I am often reminded of how these communities are affected when faced with new pandemics, such as COVID-19, that disproportionately cause them more suffering than the general population.  I am grateful we are close to a vaccine for COVID-19, and I am hopeful that it will work, and I am confident that we will learn from it. In the meantime, let us all stay safe and continue to practice social distancing. We know it will take some time for our communities to benefit from a vaccine.
We have much to be thankful for during this holiday season!  A vaccine for COVID-19, a new, improved HIV medication that has significantly improved the health, well-being, and quality of life for a person living with HIV. These new medications lead to undetectable virus levels, which means that it is un- transmittable (U=U). Also, there are effective biomedical prevention interventions such as Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). Treatments such as these have brought us a long way over the years and have helped us move closer to eradicating HIV from our communities. However, we still have a long way to go, and we still have many people that we have lost due to the HIV epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic.

2020 has been a tough year; we've seen and learned a lot.  I believe and hope that 2021 will be a year of healing for our communities, physically, mentally, and spiritually.  The battle against HIV is improving, and our fight over the 30 years has helped tremendously accomplish this. But our fight is not over, as we have seen, with new battles against new pandemics such as COVID-19, that have devastated our nation and the community we serve. So it is now more important than ever to continue our fight to improve the social ills that plague all of our communities across the nation and for equality and compassion in our society no matter color, creed, lifestyle, or religion.  
I have immense gratitude in my heart for the support NJCRI has received over these past 32 years. Please continue to support us through your volunteer work by using our services and participating in our social events virtually or in-person and with your financial support.

Today I will take a moment to reflect on 2020 and all of the past year's challenges, with the struggles we have seen with COVID-19. As well as over the past 30 years with our struggles with HIV. Those two Pandemics, with origins years apart, we all came together as a community to fight them, and we learned from those fights and how they made us stronger.
Thank you, and may all of you have a happy, healthy, and safe Holiday and New Year!!

-Brian McGovern



IMPORTANT Message regarding

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

First and foremost, we care about your safety! That's why all of NJCRI employees, staff and clinicians have been tested for COVID-19 before returning to work. Also, prior to entering the premises or facility, all persons (staff and patients) must undergo a screening for the virus that includes a temperature check. Post COVID-19 quarantine, NJCRI services can be accessed in multiple ways. We will continue telemedicine, video conferencing with physicians and counselors, and will now begin on-site, outdoor services in  our medical mobile units, and private canopies stationed behind our building at 393 Central Ave., Newark.

PLEASE NOTE: You MUST have an appointment with your physician/counselor for on-site services. 

Please call us for an assessment and next steps!

  • Medical Services: (973) 558-5039 

  • Psychiatric Services: (973) 558-5054

  • Syringe Exchange Services:  (973) 558-5063 /OPEN DAILY UNTIL 4PM

We will be updating the NJCRI website regularly to keep you informed of any further developments. Also follow us on Facebook/NJCRI for current information. Please check daily. In the meantime, please utilize the sources below for additional information about the Coronavirus and best health practices to keep yourself, your famliy friends and community safe during this time. 


If you are experiencing coronavirus symptoms, or believe you have come in contact with the coronavirus:





Essex County Residents can Register for an Appointment at

The testing site is for Essex County residents; appointments are mandatory. Residents must arrive by car.



NJCRI distinguishes itself by its over 30 year history of providing HIV/AIDS care and treatment to individuals in Northern New Jersey. We are a strong integrated team between all our departments and our full service model, makes NJCRI unique and a welcome oasis for our community.   We will continue to adapt and support our clients with essential and innovative services.

 The North Jersey Community Research Initiative (NJCRI) is one of New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive HIV/AIDS community-based organization.

Our mission is to "empower our clients by reducing social and health disparities in the greater Newark area.”


Over the past 30 years of service NJCRI has adapted and changed to rally the fight against HIV/AIDS, as well as providing important social services to our community. In 1988, the initial focus was to provide clinical trials in Newark so those that were infected with the HIV virus could gain access to promising investigational treatments. At that time patients were required to travel to New York to receive these services. NJCRI was the first AIDS service organization in New Jersey to provide medical care to those with HIV.  Our staff have published more than 30 research articles and have presented their research findings at local, national and international AIDS conferences. 

Today with over 40 different grant-funded programs, NJCRI continues to be on the cutting edge of HIV treatment. We understand that HIV is much larger than just a medical issue, and take pride in providing those in the midst of health disparities with the opportunity to improve their quality of life.  We have taken a holistic approach by streamlining all our services and creating a one-stop resource center for our clients. Named after an esteemed and respected former colleague, the Dr. George Perez Medical Care Center provides care and treatment to both HIV negative and HIV positive patients alike. 

Additional services we offer include behavioral research, transgender medical care, pediatrics, primary medical care, chronic illness management education, street outreach, substance abuse treatment, transportation, mental health/psychiatric services, food pantry, syringe exchange, an adult drop-in center for the homeless , and many LGBTQ services including a drop-in center for LGBTQ youth. We are also strong community advocates and provide technical assistance to other community-based organizations in our area. Approximately over  10,000 people avail themselves of our free and confidential services each year



Primary Medical Care
Transgender Medical care &
Hormone Therapy
Substance abuse Services
Mental Health/Psychiatric
HIV & STI Screening & Counseling
LGBTQ Services
PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) 
PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis)
Food Pantry
Health Education
Clinical Research
Homeless Drop-in Center
Case Management
Psychosocial Services
Community Outreach
Nutrition Counseling 
Treatment Adherence
Community Health studies
Prison Discharge Services
Syringe exchange program
On-Site Pharmacy




Years of Experience


Clients served yearly

 on average 


Grant funded programs


Dedicated Staff



Brian McGovern

Chief Executive Officer

Awilda Rivera

Director of Operations

Corey DeStefano

Director of Research

Joseph Rothenberg

Chief Financial Officer

Henry Iwuala

Director of

Behavioral Health

Ronald Poblete, M.D. 
Medical Director

Edward Raiten

Director of
Care and Treatment




Your unrestricted donation to NJCRI can help us raise awareness and provide essential treatment and support for those whose lives have been touched by HIV/AIDS, those who are battling addiction, the homeless, for those in need of emotional support, and for our LGBTQ community at large.



When you make a gift, you reaffirm your belief in our mission of service and demonstrate your concern for and willingness to help your community.

NJCRI is a 501(c) 3 charitable institution (EIN: 52-1592616). Your contribution is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.




Check donations can be made out to : NJCRI 

Mailing address:


Attn: Joseph Rothenberg

393 Central Ave

Newark, NJ 07103




393 Central Ave

Newark NJ, 07103      

Tel: 973-483-3444

Our Address

Counseling, Testing, and Referral

Health Screening Department:

PLEASE CALL: (973) 558-5035
Toll free – (888) 688-9097

(973) 483-3444 x 215 / Moseale Coker
Fax – (973) 412-8500


HIV Care and Treatment Services:

PLEASE CALL: (973) 558-5039
Erika Escabi, RN x 203

Medical Case Management:

PLEASE CALL: (973) 558-5041

(973) 483-3444 X 208 / Vieshia Morales


Nursing Services:

PLEASE CALL: (973) 558-5039

Erika Escabi, RN x 203
Eileen Scarinci, DNP, x 250

Mental Health:

PLEASE CALL: (973) 558-5040
(973) 483-3444 x 207 / James DeSantis

(973) 483-3444 x 238 / George Walker 
F: (973) 849-0117


Substance Abuse:

PLEASE CALL: (973) 558-5045

(973) 483-3444 x 237 / Dorinda Coleman

Crossroads/ Project Access:

PLEASE CALL: (973) 558-5063
(973) 483-3444 x 204 / Ricardo Rodney


Food pantry:
(973) 483-3444 x 220 / Ron Berry


Monday - Friday

8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

LGBTQ Services:

PLEASE CALL: (973) 412-9605
(888) 688-9078

(973) 483-3444 x 217 / Julion Roman


PLEASE CALL: (973) 558-5039

(973) 483-3444 x 251 / Ivan Wilson

Project RENEW:

PLEASE CALL: (973) 558-5054
 (973) 483-3444 X 222 / Henry Iwuala
Fax – (973) 648-0312


Clinical Trials:

PLEASE CALL: (973) 483-8008

(973) 483-3444 x 209 / Juan Torres

(973) 483-3444 x205 / Corey DeStefano



PLEASE CALL: 973  558- 5048
(888) 657-3228

(973) 483-3444 x 201 / Shariff Hall
Fax – (973) 485-7080

Medical Monitoring Project:

Shena Dance / 

973-483-3444 x239 

Oskar Gonzalez / 

973-483-3444 x 223 
Fax 973-485-7080



NJCRI is about Community focused care.  Please contact us with any questions regarding medical services and treatments, or If you would like to learn more about a specific program and how you can get involved!

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393 Central Avenue Newark, NJ 07103

(973) 483-3444

© 2019  NJCRI, Newark NJ.

Edward Raiten

Director of Medical