Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation Receives Grant from Bank of America to Support the Human Dimension Program at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine

Funding to advance health equity in Paterson, New Jersey and educate the next generation of health care professionals by leveraging partnerships with community-based organizations

January 26, 2024 - Edison, NJ - Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation is pleased to announce the receipt of a generous $100,000 grant from Bank of America aimed at advancing health equity in Paterson, NJ and supporting the education of the next generation of physicians participating in the Human Dimension program at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine.

“We are truly grateful for Bank of America’s generous grant, which will foster the next generation of compassionate physicians and empower them to make substantial strides in advancing health equity in Paterson,” said Joyce P. Hendricks, president and chief development officer, Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation. “Hackensack Meridian Health is the largest, most comprehensive health system in New Jersey, and we are committed to improving the health and well-being of all of our residents in this great state. Philanthropic support from our corporate partners, like Bank of America, allow us to make a significant impact in the communities our medical students serve.” 

Opened in 2018, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine’s unique curriculum fosters teamwork and a humanistic focus on community wellness through its Human Dimension program. The school integrates the biomedical, behavioral, social and health systems sciences in the context of the patients and communities, with a focus on underserved cities across New Jersey, like Paterson. 

“Our Human Dimension program at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine teaches our students how to be compassionate doctors, capable of integrating the social determinants of health into their practice to achieve health equity with a focus on prevention as well as curing illness,” said Jeffrey Boscamp, M.D., president and dean, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. “Moreover, this humanistic approach during their medical education provides our students with a critical first step in understanding the professional culture of health care - and how resilience and empathy can strengthen it.  We are so pleased to have Bank of America’s support and know that their generosity will help shape our physicians of tomorrow.”

Since 2018, the School of Medicine has worked with residents and communities in Paterson.  Through the Human Dimension program, future doctors become involved in all aspects of the family’s life to better understand the social determinants of health that contribute to poorer health outcomes, identify unmet needs and help families navigate community resources. Medical students have cared for more than 300 Paterson families, engaged with 120 community partners, completed 55 community health projects benefiting more than 8,000 Paterson residents and established 21 current community health project task forces. By doubling the number of medical students paired with individuals and families in need, the School of Medicine will serve a greater number of Paterson residents year over year, increase health literacy and support the connections needed to improve the health and well-being for patients, regardless of their socio-economic status or level of education. 

Paterson is the largest city in Passaic County and serves as the county seat. According to the U.S. Census American Community Survey dated July 1, 2022, the most recent data intake, the total population was nearly 157,000, representing about one-third of the population of the county. Per the 2020 Passaic County Needs Assessment, health care concerns ranked third highest due to the lack of medical professionals who accept Medicaid and concerns about inequities in accessing medical services, including language barriers, and lack of culturally competent, affordable health care. 

“Bank of America recognizes the importance of supporting our healthcare systems and networks as they provide critical resources to underserved communities,” said Alberto Garofalo, president, Bank of America New Jersey. “Addressing these barriers will help our communities move forward and realize true economic mobility."

To learn more about Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine or to make a gift, contact Sheila Wolfinger, executive director of development, or visit GiveHMH.org/SchoolofMed.

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 On3 campus in Nutley and Clifton. Hackensack Meridian Health assumed its independent operation in July 2020. The school achieved full accreditation in February 2023. The school’s vision is that each person in New Jersey, and in the United States, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, will enjoy the highest levels of wellness in an economically and behaviorally sustainable fashion. The School’s unique curriculum focuses on linking the basic science with clinical relevance, through an integrated curriculum in a team-oriented, collaborative environment. The school prides itself on outreach, through programs like the Human Dimension, which is active in communities across New Jersey. 


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 seven community-based medical center foundations, as well as key initiatives, programs and services offered by Hackensack Meridian Health, including nursing support, behavioral health, children’s health, Hackensack Meridian Health’s Center for Discovery & Innovation and Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine.  

Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation has been designated as both a High Performer Overall and Healthcare System High Performer by the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) within their 2023 Report on Giving.

Visit GiveHMH.org/Donate for more information.

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