Hackensack Meridian Health Hospitals Recognized as Top Hospitals in the Nation for Environmental Sustainability by Practice Greenhealth

June 5, 2020

Hackensack University Medical Center and Jersey Shore University Medical Center Recognized by Practice Greenhealth as Top 25 Hospitals for Environmental Excellence

Hackensack Meridian Health, the state’s largest and most comprehensive health network, today announced that two of its hospitals, Hackensack University Medical Center and Jersey Shore University Medical Center, were recognized by Practice Greenhealth as Top 25 Hospitals for Environmental Excellence. In addition, seven network hospitals were recognized for their commitment to environmental stewardship and their sustainability achievements.  The Hackensack Meridian Health network alsoearned the System for Change Award and the Circles of Excellence Awards for Chemicals and Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP).

“At Hackensack Meridian Health, we are constantly pushing the boundaries of medicine to reach new heights of research and innovation. Promoting a clean environment and food sustainability is an important part of advancing health care,” said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, chief executive officer of Hackensack Meridian Health. “I want to congratulate Hackensack University Medical Center and Jersey Shore University Medical Center on being recognized among the top 25 hospitals in the nation for elevating the standard for sustainability in health care. Further, I want to recognize our team members across the network for their commitment and dedication to sustainability as we continue to do our part to preserve the planet for future generations.”

Hackensack University Medical Center, the network’s flagship hospital, earned national recognition as a Practice Greenhealth Top 25 Green Hospital — one of only three hospitals in the U.S., and the only hospital in the tri-state area to receive this recognition —for a seventh consecutive year. Through its efforts in sustainable food purchasing, Hackensack University Medical Center has helped to protect patients and team members from antibiotic resistance by purchasing meat and poultry raised without routine antibiotics since 2013. In addition, their use of safer chemicals has not only protected the environment, but it has helped shield patients and team members from unnecessary exposure to toxins. Practice Greenhealth also awarded the medical center with Circles of Excellence Awards for Leadershipandhealthier, more sustainable food, and the Greening the OR Recognition Award.

Jersey Shore University Medical Center was also recognized for its leadership in serving fewer meat options in the cafeteria. By serving less meat, Jersey Shore University Medical Center is helping to prevent many diet-related illnesses. With dishes like buffalo cauliflower bites and falafel hash, Jersey Shore University Medical Center is creating innovative dishes that fuel patients with better food sources while, also saving the planet. The medical center was also awarded the Greening the OR Recognition Award and Making Medicine Mercury Free Award.

“We are thrilled that Practice Greenhealth has recognized the incredible achievements Hackensack Meridian Health hospitals have made over the years to advance environmental excellence and improve patient outcomes,” said Deirdre Imus, founder and president of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center®. “Our health is directly impacted by the environment, and we are excited to continue our important work to create healthier communities by implementing innovative environmental practices across our Hackensack Meridian network.”

Launched in 2002, the Practice Greenhealth Environmental Excellence Awards program recognizes health care organizations for their commitment to environmental stewardship and their sustainability achievements. In addition to the Top 25 list, the program includes Circles of Excellence Awards, which honor the top 10 hospitals nationwide in each sustainability impact area, as well as several other recognitions.

Across Hackensack Meridian Health, affiliated hospitals were recognized in the following ways:

  • Bayshore Medical Center: Emerald Award; Making Medicine Mercury Free Award
  • Ocean Medical Center: Emerald Award; Greening the OR Recognition Award and Making Medicine Mercury Free Award
  • Palisades Medical Center: Emerald Award; Circle of Excellence Award for Climate
  • Raritan Bay Medical Center – Old Bridge: Emerald Award; Circle of Excellence Award for Food; Making Medicine Mercury Free Award
  • Raritan Bay Medical Center – Perth Amboy: Emerald Award; Making Medicine Mercury Free Award
  • Riverview Medical Center: Emerald Award; Greening the OR Recognition Award
  • Southern Ocean Medical Center: Emerald Award; Making Medicine Mercury Free Award

“At Hackensack Meridian Health, our team remains focused on advancing environmental excellence across all of our network hospitals for our patients and the communities in which we serve,” said Kyle Tafuri, director of Sustainability at Hackensack Meridian Health.

As a network, Hackensack Meridian Health is reducing its environmental footprint in several ways and leading the way in sustainability:

  • Standardized the use of third-party certified green cleaning products throughout Hackensack Meridian hospitals
  • Rolled out participation in the cool food pledge which focuses on meat reduction throughout Hackensack Meridian hospitals while also implementing sustainable meat
  • Successfully enrolled in all available utility and state programs for energy efficiency funding for Hackensack Meridian hospitals
  • On Stop Food Waste Day in 2019, Jersey Shore University Medical Center held a Zero Waste Dinner to raise awareness of the ongoing efforts in reducing waste created by each meal
  • In 2019, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy proactively launched the WasteWatch by LeanPath tool with food partner Sodexo. As part of a broader initiative of reducing food waste, the medical center highlighted suggestions for using normally discarded food items and how to include them as part of a meal.