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No. 1: Robert Garrett

Health Care Power 50

Garrett is the CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey’s largest health network with 17 hospitals, more than 500 patient care locations, 36,000 team members and 7,000 physicians.

As CEO of Hackensack University Health Network, Garrett dramatically expanded the system through a series of acquisitions, affiliations and partnerships.

Robert Garrett, CEO, Hackensack Meridian Health

The network opened the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University in 2018, the first private medical school in decades. The new school of medicine offers an innovative curriculum that includes a three-year path to residency, a community immersion program and inter-disciplinary learning. In 2019, the network merged with Carrier Clinic, New Jersey’s largest behavioral health provider, to expand access to treatment, better coordinate care and innovate therapies. In September, the network opened the first urgent care behavioral health center in New Jersey, and perhaps the nation.

A new addiction treatment center will open this winter, offering inpatient and outpatient care on nearly 40 acres in Bergen County.

The National Cancer Institute approved the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center as a research partner of the NCI-Designated Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Garrett also led efforts to create the network’s historic partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

To streamline breakthroughs in care, the network opened the Center for Discovery and Innovation, which will focus on cancer and infectious disease, multiple myeloma and regenerative medicine. The center, which opened in May, was awarded a $33 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, the largest grant the network has ever received. In early March the center created a test to dramatically reduce the time it takes for diagnosing COVID-19.

This is considered a major advancement that will benefit patients, create a more effective triage system in its hospitals and potentially better control the spread of disease. The diagnostic tool will reduce the current process of testing for COVID-19 from days to hours.

In a partnership with the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the network is creating a pipeline to support breakthroughs in care delivery. A $25 million program has supported major advances including Pillo, a home health robot that automatically dispenses medication, and PurpleSun, which uses ultraviolet light technology to reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections.

The network also formed a clinical and strategic partnership with St. Joseph’s Health in Paterson to enhance and expand care, especially in oncology in North Jersey. The network also signed a definitive agreement to merge with Englewood Health, which is under regulatory review.

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