A Dean’s Everlasting Impact Through an Enduring Gift   

A Dean’s Everlasting Impact Through an Enduring Gift

Bonita Stanton, M.D., former dean of Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine

November 15, 2023

Bonita Stanton, M.D., former dean of Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, was passionate about her mission as founding dean and widely regarded as a visionary in designing a medical school curriculum geared toward improving outcomes for all patients. Today, her legacy endures through her impactful work, A Better World, the foundation she created, and the established Bonita Stanton, M.D. Scholarship Fund at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, which was created in her memory. 

Last month, Dean Stanton’s daughter, Maggie McAllister, traveled to New Jersey with other family members to participate in the inaugural Bonita Stanton, M.D., Memorial 5K Run/Walk at Brookdale Park in Bloomfield. Proceeds from the run will benefit the Bonita Stanton, M.D., Scholarship Fund, which provides vital scholarships to future physicians accepted into the highly-sought-after medical school. 

While at the race, Maggie and her family presented a $100,000 check from A Better World, Dean Stanton’s foundation, to benefit the next generation of physicians through scholarships.

“Even posthumously she is making the world a better place,” says Maggie, an attorney in Atlanta. “Her legacy lives on, and that could not have been more apparent at the 5K.” 

Dean Stanton suddenly passed away in January 2022, leaving a void at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine and Hackensack Meridian Health, where she was also president of Academic Enterprise. She led the medical school since its inception, charting a path for excellence and innovation in medical education and also serving as a professor of Pediatrics.

Dean Stanton came to New Jersey after a distinguished career in public health that included working on preventing and treating diarrheal diseases with the World Bank in Bangladesh. She also served as a principal investigator on global HIV prevention initiatives funded by the National Institutes of Health for 25 years.

She was an author, editor and expert in pediatric and maternal health and education. Her academic career included positions at the University of Maryland, West Virginia University and Wayne State University in Detroit. 

Dean Stanton was focused on advancing medical education and more equitable health systems and believed that health care providers needed to look at patients more holistically – taking into consideration societal factors such as access to safe housing and healthy food – to improve health outcomes. She later brought this vision to Hackensack Meridian Health

Maggie shared that her mother’s leadership at the medical school was the culmination of decades of her work, and the family was pleased to make the gift. 

“She was so proud to be able to create opportunities for young bright minds,” says Maggie, who oversees the foundation with her sister, Rebecca Bouverette. “Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine is a new medical school, and the achievements thus far have been phenomenal. It’s a most well-deserved cause and we’re happy we can contribute in any way.”

“I am very impressed by Hackensack Meridian Health's commitment to leverage technology to improve patient outcomes and the formative role played by Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine in educating our next generation of doctors to create a better world—Bonnie's mission shared by our family," says Duncan McCallister, Maggie's husband and Dean Stanton's son-in-law. "The impact made by the medical school and the network cannot be understated, and we are privileged to support their mission and impact.”

To make a gift or learn more about Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, please visit GiveHMH.org/SchoolofMed or contact Sheila Wolfinger, executive director, at sheila.wolfinger@hmhn.org.

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