University Hospital delivers its preliminary draft of new Facility Master Plan

New Jersey’s public hospital to embark on positive change in the coming years

University Hospital in Newark. ­— File photo

The leadership of University Hospital presented the preliminary draft of a new Facility Master Plan during its recent meeting of the board of directors.

The meeting also acknowledged the service of interim CEO and President CEO Mary Maples, who turned control of the hospital over to incoming CEO and President Ed Jimenez on Monday.

Mary Maples.

“The transformation of University Hospital is critical as we respond to the present and future health care needs of our community and continue to deliver on our mission to provide exceptional care to every patient, every time. The new Facility Master Plan will reinforce UH’s role as a major academic health center and a social and health care engine for Newark and the region,” University Hospital board of directors Chair Tanya Freeman said. “At this pivotal time, we are also grateful to our interim President and CEO, Mary Maples, for leading the organization over the past number of months and for her service as chief legal officer and corporate secretary for several years prior. Through her tireless work with her colleagues, she leaves the hospital in an excellent and optimistic position as we welcome our new leader.”

Hospital administrators presented the latest update from Gensler, the architecture, design and planning firm chosen to design the hospital’s latest Facility Master Plan. Now that Gensler and the hospital have reached a preliminary draft of the plan, UH will review the draft plan with the same internal and external community groups and stakeholders who participated in early interviews and discussions regarding the future of the hospital and the plan.

The process, which will take several months, is meant to further refine the proposal before a final Facility Master Plan is prepared. When completed, the plan will serve as a guide for the preservation, adaptation, refurbishment and potential redevelopment of all current facilities, as well as the identification of new facilities to enhance and optimize space to create a care environment that addresses all of the acute care, emergency, health maintenance and community health needs of the community now and into the future.

The current draft of the plan, and the ultimate vision for the renewed hospital, are based on three main principles, all of which are based on the hospital’s enduring commitment as an anchor institution in the Greater Newark area and to the Newark Agreements of 1968:

  • Foster a Sense of Safety and Trust: UH will allocate more resources towards creating a care environment that makes everyone feel seen, heard and cared for at the hospital;
  • Build Community and Opportunity: UH will bring the community into the facility through strengthening its community outreach and showing itself as more than a trauma center with associated care services; and
  • Create Conditions for Health and Well-Being: To care for the community, the new UH will serve as a place of healing that not only addresses specific health needs, but also addresses racial equity and the social determinants of health.

“As we embark on this next phase in the history of University Hospital, I am confident that our Facilities Master Plan will ultimately provide the resources this exceptional team needs to continue delivering on the promises made to our community decades ago,” Maples said. “UH is a wonderful organization, and I am proud to have been entrusted by the board to lead during this transition.”

At the meeting, two significant service announcements were also made. First, UH has been re-designated as a Baby-Friendly Hospital by Baby Friendly USA.

Second, UH, through the University Hospital Foundation, received $866,400 in American Rescue Plan Funds, administered by the state of New Jersey, to support its Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program. UH, along with 11 other New Jersey-based acute care facilities, shared in $10 million of these funds for these programs.