Saint Peter’s finding its growing emphasis on children’s care is growing its stature in community

Saint Peter’s Healthcare System leader Les Hirsch brims with pride when discussing how well-known the Catholic hospital system is in the Central Jersey region.

But he confesses that there are also some lesser-known or maybe underappreciated facets of the organization’s footprint and its Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick.

For one thing, it’s a children’s hospital, licensed by the state of New Jersey for specialty acute care in that area. Its services for young children as well as mothers are among the busiest in the state.

For another, it’s growing those services by the day.

Hirsch, CEO and president of Saint Peter’s, laid out several of the ways its going about that, which includes a wider emphasis on families, such as those served by their Family Health Center.

That arm of the hospital system, which just underwent a $12 million expansion, focuses on social determinants of health — education, food insecurity and other factors determined to have an influence on health outcomes.

“That facility is getting a very substantial modernization, which is providing for expanded clinical capabilities,” Hirsch said. “We’re also enhancing programming at the center to help address (social determinants of health), such as a food market that will have nutritious food.”

Saint Peter’s is also in the midst of modernizing their intensive care units for pediatric as well as adult patients.

“We’ve already done some of the initial projects that have to be done to make way to actually start construction on that,” Hirsch said, adding that the plan is to double the size of the hospital’s ICU floor and bring it to high-quality, current standards.

Along with that, Hirsch added that the pediatric ICU — among the region’s most highly utilized — will see a 14-bed expansion. The health system’s pediatric emergency department has more than 25,000 annual visits, Hirsch said.

The organization is also growing its pediatric surgery program, which has a couple new recruits coming on later this year, Hirsch said. As it would happen, the professional selected as the chair of the surgery department at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, Lindsay Grier Arthur III, is also a pediatric surgeon.

Hirsch anticipates a lot more growth lies ahead for Saint Peter’s.

He’ll add, emphatically, that there’s one thing that won’t change among all that. …

“(That’s) our community focus,” he said. “We’ve had the community’s confidence for over 116 years.

“But we’re always striving to invest and make better what we have. So we would hope the community would take great comfort in knowing that Saint Peter’s is continuing to grow and enhance the care it’s providing.”

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Reach Saint Peter’s Healthcare System at: or call 732-745-8600.