11 Kevin O’Dowd
Cooper University Health Care
When the governor calls out your hospital in the best of ways — noting that its actions have saved lives in the hardest-hit communities — you know you are having impact. Cooper has been a leader in care and education in the Camden community and surrounding areas when it comes to COVID. But the impact doesn’t stop there, as the hospital is fully established as being front and center in all health care issues in the area. O’Dowd’s impact goes even further. As the governor’s Southern Region COVID-19 response coordinator, he has helped streamline the state’s efforts in the area.
12 Chris Paladino
New Brunswick Development Corp.
Between the state-of-the-art expansion of the Rutgers Cancer Institute and the exponential potential of the Hub, Paladino and Devco are the master developers of approximately 1.5 million square feet of research and care that will save lives and improve care while helping the state regain its place as a center for medical research and innovation. Paladino not only is tasked with building the buildings — but leading the charge to get all the top companies as tenants.
13 Amy Mansue
Mansue, one of most respected health care leaders in the state, has been elevating Inspira Health since she arrived a year ago. In addition to numerous top hires, she has helped the system relaunch a mission and vision plan that stresses its role as a health care leader and economic engine for South Jersey. Care, of course, always is at the forefront. The system recently expanded its residency program — adding new programs in internal medicine, emergency medicine and family medicine.
14 Thomas Polen
Chairman and CEO
Becton, Dickinson & Co.
Health and political leaders around the globe have been calling for more COVID-19 testing to help in the fight against the pandemic since it began. Polen and Franklin Lakes-based BD have been answering the call from the start. Its latest efforts include a COVID-19 test that you can take at home — and get results back in minutes on your smartphone — as well as a combo test that will check for both COVID-19 and the flu.
15 Social determinants of health
Valerie Harr, Nicole Harris-Hollingsworth, DeAnna Minus-Vincent, and Judy Washington
The state’s leading health care institutions have known for years that social determinants of health are one of the biggest — if not the biggest — influencers of health care in the state and country. Harr (director of community health at Horizon BCBSNJ), Harris-Hollingsworth (VP, social determinants of health, at HMH), and Minus-Vincent (chief social integration and health equity strategist at RWJBarnabas Health) are all leading efforts to prevent health issues before they start. Washington (associate chief medical officer, Atlantic Medical Group) has a particular focus on equity in care and the use of data to identify and address disparities in patient outcomes, particularly in communities of color.
16 Mike Maron
Maron and Holy Name continue to punch way above their weight in the battle against the pandemic and serving its community. For starters, the hospital has vaccinated more people than any other system — even those coordinating the state’s mega sites. Holy Name has been out in front on other issues, both COVID (digital security for vaccine records) and non-COVID (see Hospital at Home program and needle-free blood draws). Then there’s the hospital’s continued efforts in Haiti, where the facility it owns and operates has enormous impact in a country devasted by natural disasters and political strife.
17 Jack Morris
His role as the chairman of RWJBarnabas Health is enough reason to place Morris on the list of influencers, as he helps oversee and guide one of the state’s two top health systems. This year, Morris did even more. His personal donation will help create the 500,000-square-foot Jack & Sheryl Morris Cancer Center, an expansion of the already great work being done at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. The Morris Center will lead to more breakthrough discoveries, while allowing state residents the ability to receive world-class treatment without leaving New Jersey.
18 Dennis Pullin
As the head of a large system in South Jersey, it’s easy to put Pullin on the list. Selecting from the many accomplishments is more difficult. In July, the system announced major transformational renovations to two of its acute care facilities (Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Camden and the soon-to-be-renamed Virtua Memorial Hospital in Mount Holly) that will meet the evolving needs of their communities. In August, Pullin was named to the board of trustees of the powerful American Hospital Association. For these reasons, it’s no wonder why Virtua was selected as having the best health system brand in the state.
19 John Gallucci
JAG-One Physical Therapy
Founded in 2005, JAG-One has grown to be the biggest and most influential physical therapy brand in New Jersey and the tri-state area (where it is quickly expanding into Pennsylvania and New York) with more than 80 locations. If you’re an athlete in the pros (New Jersey Devils, New York Red Bulls), college (Seton Hall University) high school (NJSIAA) — or just a weekend warrior — you’re most likely doing your rehabbing through JAG. Gallucci also is helping train and create the next generation of physical therapists; JAG recently announced a scholarship program at Seton Hall.
Our Top 20 list for 2021 wouldn’t be complete without a salute to the frontline caregivers. We salute all those in the health care sector that literally have put their lives on the line in the battle against COVID-19, but we wanted to give a special note of thanks and recognition to nurses everywhere. From caring for critical patients to helping with the administration of booster shots, nurses have been at the forefront of the fight. Unfortunately, its impact is showing. The burnout rate among the profession is at an all-time high. The impact is alarming. More needs to be done to help those who are helping so many others.