Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation to Host Inaugural Network-Wide Celebration on May 21

Event to raise funds for the Center for Discovery and Innovation to further scientific breakthroughs and advancements

Edison, NJ – May 10, 2022 – On Saturday, May 21, Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation will host its inaugural Network-Wide Celebration, benefiting the Hackensack Meridian Health Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI), at The Glasshouse in New York City. The event will recognize the work of David S. Perlin, Ph.D., chief scientific officer and senior vice president at the CDI, and his team, for their scientific breakthroughs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the event will remember beloved physician and educator Dean Bonita Stanton, M.D., who was the founding dean of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. Five-time 2022 Grammy Award winner Jon Batiste, who is also an Oscar and Golden Globe winner, bandleader and musical director for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, will join as special guest performer, as will the New Jersey Symphony. 

“I am thrilled to finally host our inaugural Network-Wide Celebration, in which we will pay tribute to our groundbreaking advances in research and medical education,'' said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. “For more than two years, we have witnessed the true value of scientific research, especially as the fight against COVID-19 has continued. While we continue to urge caution, we are thrilled to welcome vaccinated supporters to this essential fundraising event, acknowledge the extraordinary work of Dr. Perlin and his team and honor the memory of Dean Bonita Stanton, a true academic visionary who has left an indelible mark in the lives of all of those who were fortunate to know her.”

The CDI - among many innovations - developed the first, rapid commercial COVID-19 test, reducing wait times for results from days to hours, and a high-throughput test that can detect multiple variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in two-and-a-half hours, a major advance in tracking the virus and treating patients. Dr. Perlin will be recognized for leading this transformational work.

In January of this year, Hackensack Meridian Health lost a beloved leader and true friend when Dr. Stanton, the founding dean of Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine and president of its Academic Enterprise, passed away. Dean Stanton was a prolific researcher, author and educator committed to health care equality. Her legacy extends from the impoverished corners of the globe to the most prestigious halls of academia, including Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine - the medical school she helped create in a new mold amid the promise of a better 21st century future. Dean Stanton’s leadership and mission has structured Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine’s unique curriculum to foster teamwork and a humanistic focus on community wellness through its Human Dimension program. The program integrates biomedical, behavioral, social and population sciences and is placed in the context of the patients and communities, which touches underserved cities across New Jersey.

“Although we have experienced so much angst and sorrow throughout the pandemic, there is still so much to be grateful for,” says Joyce P. Hendricks, president and chief development officer, Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation. “This evening will be a cause for celebration, acknowledging those who helped us to emerge from the darkness and raising funds to ensure that innovation and research continues to shine as a beacon of light and our hope for the future. We will also pay tribute to the incredible Dean Bonita Stanton, M.D., who envisioned a world in which every person could have equal access to excellent health outcomes and wellbeing in New Jersey and beyond. We are grateful to all who have been instrumental in the fight against COVID-19 and we will always carry the Dean’s mission in our hearts. We look forward to a truly wonderful evening.”

Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation was formed in February 2021, bringing together fundraising operations from Hackensack Meridian Health entities across the state. Serving as a parent foundation, Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation oversees all local hospital foundations and raises funds for several Hackensack Meridian Health priorities, including the CDI, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, children’s health, behavioral health and nursing. The Network-Wide Celebration will be the first event hosted by the newly established organization.

"After a challenging two years, it will be so refreshing to finally come together again and celebrate Hackensack Meridian Health as the largest, most comprehensive health network as we raise vital funds for the Center for Discovery and Innovation," said Mark D. Schlesinger, M.D., chair, Department of Anesthesiology, Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center and Network-Wide Celebration event chair. "This year's first ever Network-Wide Celebration will certainly be one to remember!"

A black tie affair, the evening will feature a high-end menu at one of New York City’s newest venues and entertainment. The Network-Wide Celebration is generously supported by Presenting Sponsors: Jersey Mike's Franchise Systems, Inc. and Regional Cancer Care Associates; Platinum Sponsors: Blanchard Turner, Emergent Medical Solutions, Google, Hackensack Radiology Group, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey Foundation, Konica Minolta, Lumeris, Ray Catena Motor Car, TeamHealth and Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP; and Gold Sponsors: Alfred Sanzari Enterprises, Inc., Complete Care, David Kostinas and Associates, Inserra Supermarkets, Inc., Med-Metrix, New York Football Giants, Inc., PepsiCo, St. George's University School of Medicine and United Surgical Partners International. 

The safety and wellbeing of guests are paramount and vaccinations will be required to attend the celebration. To purchase tickets to the Network-Wide Celebration or to sponsor the event, please visit Give.HackensackMeridianHealth.org/HMHFCelebration or contact strategicevents@hmhn.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. 


Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3), is the philanthropic division of Hackensack Meridian Health, a leading not-for-profit health care 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. The foundation oversees fundraising for the network’s three academic medical centers, two children’s hospitals and six community-based medical center foundations, as well as key initiatives, programs and services offered by Hackensack Meridian Health, including behavioral health, children’s health, Hackensack Meridian Health’s Center for Discovery & Innovation and Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine.  Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation is recognized as one of the top three nonprofit organizations in New Jersey in the NJBIZ Reader Rankings. Visit www.HackensackMeridianHealth.org/Donate for more information.

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