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University Hospital Draft Facility Master Plan and Notable Service Announcements Highlight January 26th Board of Directors Meeting

New Jersey’s Public Hospital to Embark on Positive Change in the Coming Years

The leadership of University Hospital (UH), New Jersey’s only public academic medical center and principal teaching Hospital for all Newark-based medical education, including Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, today presented the preliminary draft of a new Facility Master Plan during the regular meeting of the Board of Directors. The meeting also acknowledged the service of Interim President and CEO Mary K. E. Maples, who will turn over control of the Hospital to incoming President and CEO, Ed Jimenez, on Monday, January 30.

“The transformation of University Hospital is critical as we respond to the present and future healthcare needs of our community and continue to deliver on our mission to provide exceptional care to every patient, every time. The new Facility Master Plan will reinforce UH’s role as a major academic health center and a social and healthcare engine for Newark and the region,” said University Hospital Board of Directors Chair Tanya L. Freeman. “At this pivotal time, we are also grateful to our Interim President and CEO, Mary Maples, for leading the organization over the past number of months and for her service as Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary for several years prior. Through her tireless work with her colleagues, she leaves the Hospital in an excellent and optimistic position as we welcome our new leader.”

Hospital administrators presented the latest update from Gensler, the global architecture, design, and planning firm chosen by University Hospital in 2022 to design the Hospital’s latest Facility Master Plan. Now that Gensler and the Hospital have reached a preliminary draft of the Plan, UH will review the draft Plan with the same internal and external community groups and stakeholders who participated in early interviews and discussions regarding the future of the Hospital and the Plan.

The process, which will take several months, is meant to further refine the proposal before a final Facility Master Plan is prepared. When completed, the Plan will serve as a guide for the preservation, adaptation, refurbishment and potential redevelopment of all current facilities, as well as the identification of new facilities to enhance and optimize space to create a care environment that addresses all of the acute care, emergency, health maintenance, and community health needs of the community now and into the future.

The current draft of the Plan, and the ultimate vision for the renewed Hospital, are based on three main principles, all of which are based on the Hospital enduring commitment as an anchor institution in the Greater Newark area and to the Newark Agreements of 1968:

  • Foster a Sense of Safety and Trust – UH will allocate more resources towards creating a care environment that makes everyone feel seen, heard, and cared for at the Hospital.
  • Build Community and Opportunity – UH will bring the community into the facility through strengthening its community outreach and showing itself as more than a trauma center with associated care services.
  • Create Conditions for Health and Well-Being – To care for the community, the new UH will serve as a place of healing that not only addresses specific health needs, but also addresses racial equity and the social determinants of health.

“As we embark on this next phase in the history of University Hospital, I am confident that our Facilities Master Plan will ultimately provide the resources this exceptional team needs to continue delivering on the promises made to our community decades ago,” said Mary K. E. Maples, University Hospital Interim President and CEO. “UH is a wonderful organization, and I am proud to have been entrusted by the Board to lead during this transition.”

At the meeting, two significant service announcements were also made. First, UH has been re-designated as a Baby-Friendly® Hospital by Baby Friendly USA (BFUSA). The designation, which involves review of a rigorous set of criteria, demonstrates that UH encourages mothers to nourish newborns with breast milk and promotes a rooming-in policy where babies spend a majority of their first days in mom’s maternity hospital room. This provides for ease of access to the baby for breastfeeding and promotes skin-to-skin contact. UH was the first hospital in Essex County to receive this honor when the Hospital was first designated in 2016.

Second, UH, through the University Hospital Foundation, received $866,400 in American Rescue Plan Funds, administered by the State of New Jersey, to support its Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program (HVIP). UH, along with 11 other New Jersey-based acute care facilities shared in $10 million of these funds for these programs. University Hospital’s HVIP, launched in July 2017, was the first program of its kind in the State of New Jersey. The measurable impact and success of UH’s HVIP trail blazed the work in New Jersey, establishing the foundation for the New Jersey Attorney General’s New Jersey Violence Intervention Program in March 2019. The HVIP program’s mission is to support survivors of gun violence and their families from the very early stages of the healing journey and help to disrupt the cycles of violence that claim lives. To date, UH’s HVIP has served more than 675 patients since the program launched.

In other actions, the Board of Directors:

  • Approved the addition of a new trustee to the University Hospital Foundation, Jennifer Erdelyi, Senior Vice President and Wealth Strategies Advisor at Bank of America Public Bank in Princeton, New Jersey
  • Heard a report from Newark’s Broadway House for Continuing Care, and, as sole corporate member of Broadway House, approved their 2023 budget
  • Heard an informational update and spotlight on the construction of a new operating room inside the Eric Muñoz Trauma Center
  • Heard a report of the second fiscal quarter’s financials from UH’s Chief Financial Officer.

“The pandemic taught the healthcare industry many lessons. Perhaps the most important lessons were those of resilience, adaptability and change. Our healthcare heroes continue to demonstrate these qualities in their daily work with patients, and the Hospital continues to build on the strengths of its programs, services, and its service to our community,” concluded Freeman. “Change is definitely a concept that we will continue to embrace under our new leadership, but we are enthusiastic about our future and our continued commitment to Newark, the region, and to the people of New Jersey.”

About University Hospital
University Hospital is part of one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers and is the Level 1 Trauma Center for Northern New Jersey. Located at University Heights in Newark, University Hospital is a principal teaching hospital of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and a regional resource for advanced services across many medical specialties. For more information about University Hospital, please visit www.uhnj.org.

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