Dr. Bonita Stanton, the founding dean of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, will receive the National Medical Fellowships’ Legacy Award.
Stanton is being honored for helping to create “a school that recognizes inequity in health outcomes and that is demonstrating to students that health care disparities are born of structural and systemic racism,” according to the NMF.
The award was announced Sept. 15 and will be given to Stanton at the 2021 Virtual Champions of Health Awards ceremony, held in New York on Sept. 28.
NMF holds the Champions of Health Awards to “honor those individuals who have made a lasting impact on health care and diversity in health care as well as outstanding corporate leaders whose role and influence drives positive change in the business community and the communities they serve.”
Hackensack Meridian Health Chief Executive Officer Bob Garrett called Stanton “an exemplary leader for the progressive mission of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine … She is helping to write the future in 21st-century medicine.”
“This award is validation of what is being accomplished at our school,” she said. “Medical education in the United States needs to be better in treating all people across society with equal resources and attention. We are doing our very best to be part of the positive change to make a brighter future in medicine.”
The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine admitted its first class of 60 students in 2018, and 18 of them graduated at the school’s first-ever commencement ceremony in June. The latest class of 161 students, its fourth cohort, started this summer.
The school has been independently accredited since July 3, 2020, after three years of partnering with Seton Hall University.
Stanton, a pediatrician and infectious disease expert by training, received her medical degree from the Yale University School of Medicine and has since earned distinctions as a health investigator living and working in the poorest parts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, studying diarrheal diseases. Before coming to the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, she chaired the department of pediatrics and was vice dean for research at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich.
A researcher, Stanton has been continuously funded as a principal investigator on one or more grants from the National Institutes of Health since 1990, has also authored more than 325 peer-reviewed papers, and has edited several textbooks, including the Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics.