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$5 million gift to endow a surgical chair at Hackensack University Medical Center


Newswise – Edison, NJ – February 1, 2022 – The Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation is pleased to announce a $5 million gift from an anonymous benefactor and grateful patient from Howard Ross, MD, FACS, FASCRS, Department Chair for Surgery and Surgeons -Chief at Hackensack University Medical Center to establish the M. Martin Ross Distinguished Chair in Surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center. The establishment of this first endowed chair, one of the most prestigious faculty positions in academia, will mark the work of Dr. support Ross. The name of the endowed chair honors the father of Dr. Ross, M. Martin Ross, and focuses on four major pillars of surgery for which Drs. Ross is passionate about surgical education, surgical innovation, healthcare equity and patient experience.

“We are incredibly grateful to this generous supporter who does not seek recognition for this extraordinary gift, but instead just wants to advance the care of our communities,” said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. “While each area this foundation will support is critical to our network’s surgical advances, one of the most important areas for the network is advancing diversity, equity and inclusion to help us bridge gaps in outcomes due to of race and ethnicity to reduce and eliminate. I am proud and grateful that this ‘angel among us’ recognizes the importance of this mission and has stood by our side to make it a reality.”

“I am honored to be honored with such an important gift and moved to name it after my father. He died when I was young, but he was the influence for me to study medicine,” said Dr. Horse. “Hackensack University Medical Center’s advanced surgical offerings are undoubtedly among the best in the nation. Thanks to this generous endowment, we will improve surgeon education, evaluate new technologies and explore how to improve the patient experience of patients who require surgery. Additionally, we will explore ways to provide our diverse population with greater access to surgical care in the years to come. I am overwhelmed with the possibilities – and with gratitude – for this anonymous donor who is also a patient, and who wants to express their gratitude by helping advance the initiatives that are so close to my heart.”

In the early years, funds from the foundation will be used to hire a research researcher named Dr. Ross, Department of Surgery, and students at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine are collaborating to conduct research that answers questions needed to strengthen surgical equity in healthcare education, surgical innovation, and patient experience. In addition, the Foundation provides research grants for three to four Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine students to conduct research in one of the four pillars with the goal of having their research published in a scientific/medical journal. Each student is guided by Dr. Ross and other institutional subject matter experts. The funds will also support symposiums, lectures and seminars.

dr Ross joined Hackensack University Medical Center in May 2021 with more than 20 years of experience as a board-certified colon and rectal surgeon. He has published numerous publications and is the editor of four well-known textbooks. Before joining the medical center, Dr. Ross has held various positions with the Temple University Health System, Meridian Health System and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, most recently as Vice Chair of the Department of Surgery; Professor and Chief, Department of Colon and Rectal Surgery; and Program Director for General Surgery Residency at Temple University Health System.

As Chair of Surgery/Surgeon-in-Chief, Dr. Ross nine surgical departments including: Bariatrics; Breast; colorectal; General Surgery; pediatrics; surgical oncology; breast surgery; Transplantation; and Trauma, taking place in 18 regular operating room suites; four pediatric surgical suites; two hybrid OR suites; three surgical suites for plastic and reconstructive surgery; and 12 suites in the Outpatient Surgery Center. In addition, dr. Ross will oversee 24 state-of-the-art operating rooms that will be housed in the new Helena Theurer Pavilion, opening in 2022 on the Hackensack University Medical Center campus.

“DR. Ross has been an incredible addition to our highly talented and skilled medical staff, and this honor is incredibly well deserved,” said Mark D. Sparta, FACHE, President and Chief Hospital Executive of Hackensack University Medical Center and Executive Vice President of Population Health at Health of the Hackensack Meridian “This gift will have a significant impact on the surgical services at Hackensack University Medical Center and we are forever grateful.”

To learn more about how you can donate surgical services or other areas at Hackensack University Medical Center, contact Rachel Simoneau, Vice President of Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation at 201-543-4562 or [email protected].


Hackensack University Medical Center, a 771-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital in Bergen County, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in New Jersey. Established in 1888, it was the county’s first hospital. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and the second in the United States to become a Magnet® Recognized Hospital for excellence in nursing, receiving its sixth consecutive award from the American Nurses Credentialing Center in 2019. The flagship academic of the Hackensack Meridian Health network, Hackensack University Medical Center offers award-winning care on a campus that is home to facilities such as the John Theurer Cancer Center, part of NCI, known as the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and ranked the No. 1 recognized hospital for cancer treatment in New Jersey in US News & World Report’s 2020-21 list of “Best Hospitals”; the Cardiovascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, home to the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, designed in collaboration with the Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and featured in the top 10 list Green Guide hospitals stand out in the US Hackensack University Medical Center was recognized as one of the top 1% hospitals in the country and #2 in New Jersey by US News & World Report’s 2020-21 “Best Hospitals” list of honor and Also ranked ninth as the best performing hospital in specialties: Cancer Treatment, Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, Gastroenterology and GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Nephrology, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology and Urology. Hackensack University Medical Center’s comprehensive clinical research portfolio includes studies focused on precision medicine, translational medicine, immunotherapy, cell therapy, and vaccine development. The hospital has embarked on the largest health care expansion project ever sanctioned by the state: construction of the Helena Theurer Pavilion, a nine-story, 530,000-square-foot building that began in 2019. Costing $714.2 million for one of the largest healthcare capital projects in New Jersey, the pavilion will house 24 state-of-the-art operating rooms with intraoperative MRI capability, 50 intensive care unit beds and 150 private patient rooms, including a 50-bed specialty orthopedic institute.

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Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit healthcare organization that is the largest, most comprehensive, and truly integrated healthcare network in New Jersey, offering a full range of medical services, innovative research, and life-enhancing care.

Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 17 hospitals from Bergen to Ocean County, including three academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune and JFK University Medical Center in Edison; a university teaching hospital – Ocean University Medical Center in Brick; two children’s hospitals – Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptun; eight community hospitals – Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Old Bridge Medical Center in Old Bridge, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank and Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin; a behavioral health hospital – Carrier Clinic in Belle Mead; and two rehabilitation hospitals – the JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison and the Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Brick.

In addition, the network has more than 500 patient care locations statewide, including ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, emergency medical services, life-saving medical airlift, fitness and wellness centers and rehabilitation centers, emergency care centers and physician offices. Hackensack Meridian Health has more than 36,000 team members and 7,000 physicians and is a respected leader in healthcare philanthropy dedicated to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

Among the network’s notable accolades is that it has more top-tier hospitals than anyone in New Jersey, as recognized by US News & World Report, 2021-22. Hackensack University Medical Center is the only New Jersey #1 hospital for adults and children.

The John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center is New Jersey’s top cancer center according to US News & World Report, 2021-22. This premier cancer center is also the largest and most comprehensive center dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, management, research, screening and screening, and patient survival of all types of cancer. The John Theurer Cancer Center is part of the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center.

In addition, the network partnered with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to ensure patients have access to the highest quality, most personalized cancer care anytime, anywhere.

The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, the first private medical school in New Jersey in more than 50 years, welcomed its first class of students to its Nutley and Clifton campus in 2018. Housed in a fully renovated, state-of-the-art facility, the Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI) seeks to implement current scientific innovations to improve clinical outcomes for patients with cancer, infectious diseases and other life-threatening disabling conditions.

Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an intergovernmental consortium of leading healthcare systems focused on sharing clinical care best practices and achieving efficiencies. To learn more, visit


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