While some cynics deride the World Economic Forum’s annual meetings in Davos, Switzerland, as a playground for purveyors of conventional wisdom, Garrett takes the conference seriously.
As CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, Garrett runs New Jersey’s largest health network with 17 hospitals, 500 patient care locations, 35,000 team members and 6,500 physicians. Upon his return from Davos this year, Garrett described the work he and HMH have done to reduce health care equity gaps – a major theme of the WEF’s health care programs.
A forthcoming study should provide the data to back up his assessment that the efforts have paid off. “It’s an intense schedule,” Garrett said of Davos and the work that goes on there. “You go from 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning until 10:00 at night. … They have bilateral meetings, where you’re sitting down one on one with stakeholders … In our case, I met with leaders of some organizations and companies that potentially we could partner with. It also gave me a chance to connect with colleagues, for example Kaiser on the West Coast, who I don’t see on a regular basis. … I do find it to be useful. … I would not go to a conference just to shoot the breeze. You’re going a long distance, you’re taking five important days out of your routine, this job and this field is challenging enough, but I think what we come back with is something significant.”
Under Garrett’s leadership, HMH has made strides in medical education, behavioral health care, cancer care, and innovation and research. It opened the first private medical school in New Jersey in decades. The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine offers a curriculum that includes a three-year path to residency, a community immersion program and inter-disciplinary learning. According to Garrett, the school is on track to secure its final accreditation before the summer.