$5 Million Gift to Endow Surgical Chair at Hackensack University Medical Center 

Generous gift will leave lasting legacy to improve and advance surgical services in New Jersey

Edison, NJ – February 1, 2022 – Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation is pleased to announce a $5 million gift from an anonymous benefactor and grateful patient of Howard Ross, M.D., FACS, FASCRS, chair of the Department of Surgery and surgeon-in-chief at Hackensack University Medical Center, to create the M. Martin Ross Distinguished Chair in Surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center.

The establishment of this inaugural endowed chair, one of the most prestigious faculty positions in academia, will support the work of Dr. Ross. The name of the endowed chair will honor Dr. Ross’ father, M. Martin Ross, and focus on four key pillars of surgery about which Dr. Ross is passionate: surgical education, surgical innovation, health equity and patient experience.

“We are incredibly grateful to this generous supporter, who requires no recognition for this extraordinary gift, but who instead, only wishes to advance care for our communities,” said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. “Although each area that this endowment will support is vital to our network’s surgical advancements, one of the most meaningful to the network is the advancement of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to help us reduce and eliminate gaps in outcomes based on race and ethnicity. I am proud and thankful that this ‘angel among us’ recognizes the importance of this mission and has stepped alongside us to help make it a reality.”

“I am humbled to be honored with such an important gift and moved to have it named for my father.  He died when I was young but was the influence for me to pursue medicine,” said Dr. Ross. “The advanced surgical offerings at Hackensack University Medical Center are, without a doubt, some of the best in the nation. Thanks to this generous endowment, we will improve the training of surgeons, evaluate emerging technologies, and study how to improve the patient experience of those requiring surgery.  Further, we will investigate ways to enable better access to surgical care for our diverse population for years to come. I am overwhelmed by the possibilities - and with gratitude - for this anonymous donor, who is also a patient, and who wishes to express their thanks by helping to advance the initiatives I am so passionate about.”

During the initial years, funds from the endowment will be used to hire a research investigator who will work with Dr. Ross, the department of surgery and students at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine to conduct research that answers questions needed to strengthen health equity, surgical education, surgical innovation and patient experience. In addition, the endowment will provide for research stipends for three to four students at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine to conduct research in one of the four pillars with a goal to publish their research in a scientific/medical journal. Each student will be supervised and guided by Dr. Ross and other institutional subject matter experts. The funds will also support symposia, lectures and seminars.

Dr. Ross joined Hackensack University Medical Center in May 2021 with more than 20 years of experience as a board-certified colon and rectal surgeon. He is broadly published and the editor of four noted textbooks. Prior to joining the medical center, Dr. Ross held various roles at Temple University Health System, Meridian Health System and University of Pennsylvania Health System, most recently serving as vice chair, Department of Surgery; professor and chief, Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery; and program director for the General Surgery Residency at Temple University Health System.

As chair of Surgery/surgeon-in-chief, Dr. Ross oversees nine Divisions of Surgery, including: Bariatrics; Breast; Colorectal; General Surgery; Pediatrics; Surgical Oncology; Thoracic Surgery; Transplant; and Trauma taking place in 18 regular operating room suites; four pediatric OR suites; two Hybrid OR suites; three plastic & reconstructive surgery OR suites; and 12 suites in the Center for Ambulatory Surgery. Additionally, Dr. Ross will preside over 24 state-of-the-art operating rooms to be housed in the new Helena Theurer Pavilion, opening on the campus of Hackensack University Medical Center in 2022.

“Dr. Ross has been an incredible addition to our highly talented and skilled medical staff and this honor is incredibly well-deserved,” says Mark D. Sparta, FACHE, president and chief hospital executive of Hackensack University Medical Center and executive vice president of Population Health at Hackensack Meridian Health. “This gift will have a significant impact on surgical services at Hackensack University Medical Center and we are eternally thankful.”

To learn more about how you can make a gift in support of surgical services or other areas at Hackensack University Medical Center, contact Rachel Simoneau, vice president, Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation, at 201-543-4562 or Rachel.Simoneau@hmhn.org.



Hackensack University Medical Center, a 771-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in New Jersey.  Founded in 1888, it was the county’s first hospital. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet?-recognized hospital for nursing excellence, receiving its sixth consecutive designation in 2019 from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The academic flagship of the Hackensack Meridian Health network, Hackensack University Medical Center provides award-winning care on a campus that is home to facilities such as John Theurer Cancer Center, part of NCI designated Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center,  and recognized as the #1 hospital for cancer care in New Jersey by U.S. News & World Report’s 2020-21 "Best Hospitals" Honor Roll; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, designed in collaboration with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. Recognized as being in the top 1% of hospitals in the nation and #2 in New Jersey by U.S. News & World Report’s 2020-21 "Best Hospitals" Honor Roll, Hackensack University Medical Center also ranked as high-performing in nine specialties: cancer care, cardiology and heart surgery, gastroenterology and GI surgery, geriatrics, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology, and urology. Hackensack University Medical Center’s comprehensive clinical research portfolio includes studies focused on precision medicine, translational medicine, immunotherapy, cell therapy, and vaccine development. The hospital has embarked on the largest healthcare expansion project ever approved by the state: Construction of the Helena Theurer Pavilion, a 530,000-sq.-ft., nine-story building, which began in 2019. A $714.2 million endeavor, the pavilion is one the largest healthcare capital projects in New Jersey and will house 24 state-of-the-art operating rooms with intraoperative MRI capability, 50 ICU beds, and 150 private patient rooms, including a dedicated 50-bed Orthopedic Institute.

To learn more, visit www.HackensackUMC.org.


Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit healthcare organization that is the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care.

Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 17 hospitals from Bergen to Ocean counties, which includes three academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune and JFK University Medical Center in Edison; one university teaching hospital – Ocean University Medical Center in Brick; two children’s hospitals - Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune; eight community hospitals – Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Old Bridge Medical Center in Old Bridge, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, and Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin; a behavioral health hospital – Carrier Clinic in Belle Mead; and two rehabilitation hospitals - JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison and Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Brick.

Additionally, the network has more than 500 patient care locations throughout the state which include ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness center, rehabilitation centers, urgent care centers and physician practice locations. Hackensack Meridian Health has more than 36,000 team members, and 7,000 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

The network’s notable distinctions include having more top-ranked hospitals than anyone in New Jersey, as recognized by U.S. News & World Report, 2021-22. Hackensack University Medical Center is the only hospital in New Jersey with the #1 adult and children’s hospital rankings.

John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center is New Jersey's best cancer center, as recognized by U.S. News & World Report, 2021-22.  This premier cancer center is also the largest and most comprehensive center dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, management, research, screenings, and preventive care as well as survivorship of patients with all types of cancers. John Theurer Cancer Center is part of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center.

Additionally, the network partnered with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to ensure that patients have access to the highest quality, most individualized cancer care when and where they need it.

The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, the first private medical school in New Jersey in more than 50 years, welcomed its first class of students in 2018 to its campus in Nutley and Clifton. The Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI), housed in a fully renovated state-of-the-art facility, seeks to translate current innovations in science to improve clinical outcomes for patients with cancer, infectious diseases and other life-threatening and disabling conditions.

Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies. To learn more, visit www.hackensackmeridianhealth.org.  

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