Cancer Experts At Hackensack Meridian Health Named Healthcare Heroes By NJBIZ For Innovation And Education

Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey's most comprehensive and integrated health network, announced that Andrew L. Pecora, M.D., FACP, C.P.E., president of the Physician Enterprise and chief innovation officer for the network, was named Healthcare Professional of the Year, the most prestigious honor awarded by NJBIZ in its 2017 Healthcare Heroes ceremony.

"Hackensack Meridian Health is developing a new culture of innovation that will continue to advance our mission — providing the most advanced treatment and optimal patient experience," said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. "It's an honor to have our clinical leaders recognized, and I would like to thank our world class teams for all that they do to help Hackensack Meridian Health deliver highly organized, integrated care."

"These awards are evidence of our commitment to pushing the boundaries of medicine to ensure we offer patients the most innovative care," said John K. Lloyd, FACHE, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. "We are so proud of all of our NJBIZ Healthcare Heroes who set the standard in providing high-quality care for our patients."

Dr. Pecora is recognized internationally as one of the world's most foremost experts in blood and marrow stem cell transplantation, cellular medicine and immunology research. He is credited with recruiting leading oncologists throughout the U.S., developing an extensive clinical trial network and expanding patient care services. Dr. Pecora's award-winning research is funded by the National Cancer Institute, Amgen, Merck and the AHEPA Research Foundation.

Dr. Pecora leads the network's efforts to deliver precision medicine — a more personalized way to treat cancer and other diseases by taking into account a person's genes, environment, stage of disease and other factors. The hospital launched a pilot this year under Dr. Pecora's leadership using IBM Watson for Oncology clinical decision support tool and Cota, a digital classification system developed at Hackensack Meridian Health to help oncologists make evidence-based and outcomes-based decisions for our cancer patients.

"I can't think of a better time to be in health care," Dr. Pecora said. "When you look at where life sciences, computational sciences and material sciences are now and how these are all coming together, we're talking about not just changing how we deliver health care, but we're talking about how humanity is going to change with bringing these forces together."

Andre Goy, M.D., MS., chairman and director, lymphoma division chief and chief science officer at the John Theurer Cancer Center, was honored as Education Hero at NJBIZ's 2017 Healthcare Heroes. He also serves as chairman of Oncology for Seton Hall-Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, which is scheduled to welcome its first class next year, and is a professor of medicine at Georgetown University in Washington D.C.

An internationally-renowned clinician and researcher of all types of lymphoma, including Hodgkin's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and HIV-associated lymphoma, Dr. Goy educates as he investigates cutting-edge treatment. He has been instrumental in elevating the research program at John Theurer Cancer Center to become one of the largest, most active in the nation, including more than 350 clinical trials across 14 cancer sub-specialized divisions. Dr. Goy spearheaded the development of the Hackensack University Medical Center Tissue Repository and leads New Jersey's largest program for lymphoma.

Dr. Goy and Dr. Pecora were instrumental in establishing an unprecedented alliance between Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Hackensack Meridian Health, a venture announced last year which will develop a joint standard of care to optimize treatment in network hospitals and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center outpatient sites in New Jersey. Today, Memorial Sloan Kettering and Hackensack Meridian Health treat one in five New Jersey residents who are diagnosed with cancer.

Award Finalists

Hackensack Meridian Health Southern Ocean Medical Center, Hospital of the Year Finalist

Responding to a network-wide imperative toward a high-reliability and a goal-zero organization, Hackensack Meridian Health Southern Ocean Medical Center leaders and team members accepted shared accountability. A culture change prompted quality and safety improvements, programmatic expansion, and an enhanced patient experience. Leaders identified a high-reliability health care organization as one that can be trusted to cause zero-harm by delivering the right care to the right patient at the right time and place. Southern Ocean Medical Center led the way within the network by training 90 percent of all team members within four months on the key principles — preoccupation with failure, deference to expertise, reluctance to simplify, sensitivity to operations, and commitment to resilience.

Jan Huston-Pryor, M.D., posthumously-named Physician of the Year Finalist

A dedicated physician and an extraordinary person, Dr. Huston served as medical director of the Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center Breast Health Program and as a Mountainside Medical Group physician. To honor her life's work and memory, this posthumous nomination was submitted on Dr. Huston's behalf. She was a beloved colleague, a valued mentor and a strong advocate for women's health. A leader in her field, Dr. Huston was an early proponent of the evidence-based approach to medicine now being widely embraced by colleagues. Known for her kind-hearted communication and genuine enthusiasm for the health and well-being of others, Dr. Huston, a mother of 12, is remembered for coaxing an easy laugh or a smile from those around her.

Beatriz "Bea" Garcia, Volunteer of the Year Finalist

Beatriz "Bea" Garcia of Edgewater, New Jersey, has been a tireless volunteer at Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades Medical Center for more than 21 years. She has become a vital part of the daily activities and has logged more than 17,000 hours of volunteer service. Ms. Garcia is well respected by the medical staff and health care providers for lending a hand in virtually every department. Her efforts have inspired many people on campus, who refer to her as the "most versatile volunteer." In addition to her volunteer work at Palisades Medical Center, Ms. Garcia is involved in several civic programs. The Mayor of Jersey City presented Ms. Garcia with an official Certificate of Appreciation and recognized her as one of the most-active members of the Hispanic Community in New Jersey. Ms. Garcia also currently serves on the Board of Health in Edgewater, NJ

About Hackensack Meridian Health

Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the 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 13 hospitals, including two academic medical centers, two children's hospitals and nine community hospitals, physician practices, more than 120 ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, and urgent care and after-hours centers. Hackensack Meridian Health has 28,000 team members, more than 6,000 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 one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America's 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more consecutive years, the number one hospital in New Jersey as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, recipient of the John M. Eisenberg Award for Patient Safety and Quality from The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum, a six-time recipient of Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For," one of the "20 Best Workplaces in Health Care" in the nation, and the number one "Best Place to Work for Women." 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.

The hospitals of Hackensack Meridian Health include: academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune; children's hospitals – Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital in Neptune; community hospitals – Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, and Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood.

For additional information, please visit www.HackensackMeridianHealth.org.