RWJBarnabas Health’s commitment to healthier New Jersey has many lanes

State’s largest safety-net provider (by far), RWJBH also is leader in food insecurity and addressing social determinants of health

RWJBarnabas Health has been dedicated to treating New Jersey’s sick and injured for more than 140 years. As the state’s largest and most comprehensive not-for-profit academic health care system, every year we take care of more than 3 million patients with over 5 million encounters, across 700 patient care locations. Whether it is the 26,000 babies we deliver, treatment of the most complex diseases at the state’s top-ranked cancer program, performing heart and lung transplants at the state’s only hospital that does both or tending to the most severely burned at the state’s only burn center, our 38,000 team members and 9,000 physicians work tirelessly, treating all with compassion and respect, and delivering the highest-quality and most equitable care.

While we take pride in the incredible array of health care services we provide, many of which are regionally and nationally recognized, what distinguishes RWJBarnabas Health, and what we are most proud of, is our deep commitment to the most vulnerable among us. RWJBarnabas Health plays a vital role as part of New Jersey’s safety net. We are, by two times, the state’s largest provider of medical care to those who can’t afford to pay and to beneficiaries of the Medicaid program.

RWJBarnabas Health is much more than a critical health care provider. Our commitment does not begin with a visit to a doctor or a hospital. It starts with creating educational and economic opportunity, safe and affordable living conditions and access to healthy food.

RWJBarnabas Health is a robust economic engine contributing more than $5.5 billion to the New Jersey economy per year, and we harness that horsepower for the benefit of our diverse communities, in particular, the disadvantaged. Since 2019, our hire local-buy local “anchor mission” has led to more than $214 million of spending with local and diverse vendors.  We have intentionally recruited and hired 3,000 teammates from ALICE (asset limited, income constrained) neighborhoods. We funded the construction of a public elementary school and have developed career path programs for students with multiple educational institutions. We have “fall-proofed” senior homes and subsidized affordable housing for the working poor and the homeless, as well as transitional housing for families suffering from illness-related financial hardship.

To address food insecurity and health, RWJBarnabas Health has built a greenhouse in Newark, distributed thousands of meals to the hungry, funded local community gardens, hosted farmers markets and established food hubs with local farmers in our cities, embedded nutritional programs in schools and community centers, and our Wellness on Wheels van traverses the state offering cooking classes on healthy eating.

We are also investing in the future health and well-being of all New Jerseyans. RWJBarnabas Health has dedicated more than $1 billion, through our transformative partnership with Rutgers University, to increase access to groundbreaking clinical trials and innovative medical care. The partnership also trains and develops the health care providers who will take care of the next generation of New Jerseyans. Further, to make sure cutting-edge clinicians have the most effective settings in which to practice, from 2020-25, RWJBarnabas Health will have invested more than $4.7 billion in new equipment, technology and facilities, with a sizeable portion of that in underserved communities, creating thousands of jobs along the way.

We have implemented programs to reduce disparities in maternal health outcomes by focusing on prenatal care and education, enhanced clinical services for the unique needs of the LGBTQ community, partnered with the state on the “Arrive Together” program pairing mental health professionals with police on 911 response calls, implemented post-incarceration programs focused on providing health and social support services, and built fields and parks throughout the state, including the incredible Field of Dreams facility in Toms River, an inclusive playground and park for those with special needs.

RWJBarnabas Health is deeply “in and of” the great state of New Jersey — we work here, we live here, we build here and we take care of each other here.  We thank the residents of New Jersey for trusting us with their health care and social needs and we are honored to be one of the state’s anchor institutions. As we step into the future, we look forward to witnessing all we will accomplish together in pursuit of a healthier New Jersey.

Mark Manigan is the CEO and president of RWJBarnabas Health.