Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center was among a diverse group of environmental stewards recently honored by the Christie Administration for their leadership and efforts to improve their communities through green practices designed to protect the environment. Hackensack University Medical Center received the Healthy and Sustainable Businesses Award at the 18th Annual Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards (GEEA) ceremony at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton.
According to the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards, the medical center “has transformed itself into a model campus of sustainability through a variety of actions including significant increases in recycling tonnage, providing farm-fresh foods for patients and staff, and equipment improvements that reduce energy consumption hospital-wide.”
“We are honored to be recognized for the hard work we do every single day to improve the health of people and the environment across New Jersey,” said Deirdre Imus, founder and president of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center. “Every little thing counts when it comes to green sustainability initiatives. We take nothing for granted and continue to seek new, innovative ways of optimizing the environment in and around Hackensack University Medical Center.”
Hackensack University Medical Center is home to The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center, one of the first hospital-based programs whose mission is to identify, control and ultimately prevent toxic exposures in the environment that threaten our children’s health. Beginning with the Greening The Cleaning program in 2001, the center has helped the hospital implement and expand its sustainable practices, benefiting patients, team members and the wider community.
“At the core of our sustainability efforts are innovative partnerships and initiatives that foster a healthier and cleaner environment,” said Kyle Tafuri, director of Sustainability, Hackensack Meridian Health. “In providing world-class health care to our patients and their families, we have a responsibility to promote health and wellness, and environmental responsibility is a key component of that mission.”
After the merger between Hackensack University Health Network and Meridian Health in 2016, Hackensack Meridian Health began baseline assessments for each hospital in its expanded network. Various initiatives include partnerships with PSE&G and local schools; green-focused purchases for furniture; and a focus on use of safer chemicals. A partnership with regional educational institutions to share best practices with other health care systems and companies in New Jersey became so successful that hospitals in New York and Pennsylvania began participating in the discussions.
The Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards are the state’s premier environmental awards program for recognizing outstanding environmental performance, programs and projects in the state. Since 2000, the GEEA program has recognized 170 winners. The awards program is sponsored by DEP, the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust and the New Jersey Corporation for Advanced Technology, in partnership with the New Jersey League of Municipalities. A panel of judges reviewed and scored nominations that featured unique or valuable environmental projects and activities. To learn more about the GEEA program, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/eeawards/