Hackensack University Medical Center Physicians and Researchers to Speak at the Vatican’s 2016 Cellular Horizons Conference

April 29, 2016


Robert C. Garrett, president and CEO of HackensackUHN, and Joseph Simunovich, chairman, HackensackUHN Board of Trustees, attend the Vatican’s Third International Conference on the Progress of Regenerative Medicine and its Cultural Impact in Rome, Italy.

Andrew L. Pecora, M.D., chief innovations officer, professor and vice president of Cancer Services, HackensackUMC; past president of Regional Cancer Care Associates; and COTA founder and executive chairman; and Yong Zhao, M.D., Ph.D., associate scientist, HackensackUMC; are selected participants in Cellular Horizons: the Vatican’s Third International Conference on the Progress of Regenerative Medicine and Its Cultural Impact in Rome, Italy. Dr. Pecora will participate in a panel today, “Rationalizing Health Care Through Big Data,” moderated by Emmy-award winning CNN correspondent and neurosurgeon, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Dr. Zhao participated in the “Cell Therapy Research Discussion for Type 1 Diabetes” panel yesterday afternoon with other world leaders in the field.

“I am proud to share that two members of the HackensackUMC team are selected participants in this highly-regarded conference,” said Robert C. Garrett, president and chief executive officer, Hackensack University Health Network. “This morning, HackensackUMC team members and I had the honor of hearing Holy Father Pope Francis and Vice President Joe Biden speak. It has been an inspirational and educational morning. These panel discussions are comprised of some of the most world-renowned, award-winning scientists, physicians, patients, faith leaders, and others who are focused on pediatric cancers, rare genetic diseases, and diseases that occur with aging.”

Hosted by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council For Culture, The Stem For Life Foundation and the STOQ Foundation, this exclusive, three-day, international event gathers the world’s leading cell therapy scientists, physicians, patients, ethicists and leaders of faith, government and philanthropy to discuss the latest cellular therapy breakthroughs as well as hope for the future. It runs from April 28 to 30, and is attended by Holy Father Pope Francis, moderated by renowned journalists, and broadcasted around the world.

As part of the visit to Rome, Garrett and Joseph Simunovich, chairman of the Hackensack University Health Network Board of Trustees, were among those attending a special reception at the residence of Ambassador John Phillips, U.S. Ambassador to the Italian Republic and the Republic of San Marino.

“Joe Simunovich and I are so incredibly proud to be here in Vatican City on behalf of the Hackensack University Health Network to support Drs. Pecora and Zhao,” Garrett added. “HackensackUMC has encouraged an environment of research and innovation, and as physician leaders, they have gone above and beyond to seek new ways in care. We are honored that Drs. Pecora and Zhao choose to practice medicine at HackensackUMC, and we are excited to share with and learn from others on this international stage.”

About Hackensack University Health Network
Hackensack University Health Network is the New Jersey-based parent company of HackensackUMC, HackensackUMC Palisades, the HackensackUMC Foundation, Hackensack University Medical Group, and corporate joint venture partners with LHP Hospital Group in ownership of two hospitals: HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley and HackensackUMC Mountainside. In 2015, HackensackUHN welcomed Englewood Hospital and Medical Center as an affiliate hospital. In May 2015, HackensackUHN signed a definitive agreement to merge with Meridian Health; creating one, integrated healthcare delivery system, known as Hackensack Meridian Health. In June 2015, HackensackUHN and Seton Hall University announced a definitive agreement to form a new, four-year school of medicine – the only private medical school in New Jersey. HackensackUHN also enjoys clinical and academic affiliations with some of the nation’s most well-renowned health systems, hospitals and universities, including: Aetna, AllSpire Health Partners, CityMD, Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey; MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, MinuteClinic, NYU Langone Medical Center’s Division of Pediatric Surgery, OMNIA Health Alliance; Rutgers Medical School, St. George’s University, Stevens Institute of Technology, Summit Medical Group, The Statesir Cancer Center at CentraState, and United Surgical Partners International. With more than 10,800 employees, 3,300 credentialed medical staff members and 1,717 hospital and nursing home beds at hospitals within the Network, Hackensack University Health Network is one of the largest healthcare systems in New Jersey.