Hackensack Meridian Health signed the World Economic Forum’s Zero Health Gaps Pledge, the world’s first global, multisector health equity pledge, during the Global Health Equity Network’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
Hackensack Meridian Health is one of 39 initial signatory organizations from eight countries committed to join the World Economic Forum on its journey.
HMH CEO Bob Garrett said the system was honored to join the fight against global health inequity alongside the World Economic Forum. Garrett said the system sees it as part of its commitment to making a positive, lasting impact in health care.
“Placing health equity at the heart of our health care network is the right thing to do, and I am confident this global partnership will help us create a healthier world for all,” he said. “This opportunity allows Hackensack Meridian Health to expand our impact as we work toward developing a fair and just health care economy.”
Hackensack Meridian Health joins world-class organizations championing innovation in their respective industries, including the American Cancer Society, Black Directors Health Equity Agenda, Deloitte, Kaiser Permanente and Planned Parenthood.
About the Global Health Equity Network
The Global Health Equity Network brings together private-sector executives, government representatives, academics and civil society leaders to advance a collective vision of Zero Health Gaps. The network’s vision is that all individuals have the fair and just opportunity to fulfill their human potential in all aspects of health and well-being. This means that there are no differences in healthy years in a person’s life span, within and across communities.
According to the World Economic Forum, the pledge is a direct response to the persistent and growing global health disparities between and within countries. For example, the average life expectancy for people in high-income countries is 78, compared with just 64 for those in low-income countries. At the most extreme, Japan and the Central African Republic have a difference in average life expectancy of more than 30 years. In recent years, the global climate and health crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, have highlighted the seriousness of these inequities and the dire consequences of not addressing them.
The “Zero Health Gaps Pledge” is a plan for action that works toward correcting these issues — and one of many that HMH is undertaking.
Hackensack Meridian Health is currently fighting health inequities in New Jersey through its social determinants of health program, Healthy Connections, which helps identify five issue areas among patients: food, housing, transportation, caregiver support and mental health/substance abuse treatment.
Since its inception in June 2021, Healthy Connections has provided over 1 million referrals to patients beyond traditional health care. The program also helps uninsured or discharged patients access medications for chronic conditions at no cost and provides medically tailored meals to eligible patients.