Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine Dean Bonita Stanton Named to NJBIZ ‘Power 50 for Education’

October 1, 2020

Founding dean guides newly-independent Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine

Bonita Stanton, the founding dean of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, was named to NJBIZ’s “Power 50 for Education,” an annual list of the state’s leaders who in various ways impart “knowledge to students, apprentices and the citizenry at large.”

Stanton, who oversaw the establishment of the newly-independent Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, is one of the executives on the list, which also includes teachers, administrators and public officials.

“We’re proud of the work Dean Stanton and the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine is doing to train the best and brightest of New Jersey’s future doctors,” said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, chief executive officer, Hackensack Meridian Health.

Stanton, who has helmed the school since its inception in 2016, was also named to last year’s NJBIZ list, which honors individuals who use their authority or influence in a way that contributes toward making New Jersey a better place to live, work, and do business.

“This distinction is very meaningful to us as it validates our mission and vision,” said Stanton. “We appreciate this recognition of all that the team has created to assure that our aspirations for health for all regardless of race and socioeconomic status becomes a reality for the citizens of New Jersey.”

The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine admitted its first class of 60 students in 2018, and admitted its third class, 122 students, this summer. Originally founded with a partnership with Seton Hall University, the school has been independently accredited since July 3, 2020.

The School’s curriculum fosters teamwork and a humanistic focus on community wellness. A vital piece of this mission is the Human Dimension, a three-year program integrating the biomedical, behavioral, social, and population sciences and placed in the context of the patient and communities, which touches underserved cities across New Jersey.

Stanton, a pediatrician and infectious disease expert by training, received her medical degree from the Yale University School of Medicine. She earned distinctions as a health investigator living and working in the poorest parts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, studying diarrheal diseases. Research in global HIV prevention earned her accolades in subsequent years. Before coming to the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, she served as Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and ultimately as Vice Dean for Research at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

Stanton is also a researcher, having been continuously funded as a principal investigator on one or more grants from the National Institutes of Health since 1990. She has also authored more than 325 peer-reviewed papers, and has served as editor of several textbooks, including the Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics.

Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care.

Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 17 hospitals from Bergen to Ocean counties, which includes three academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, JFK Medical Center in Edison; two children’s hospitals – Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune; nine community hospitals – Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, and Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin; a behavioral health hospital – Carrier Clinic in Belle Mead; and two rehabilitation hospitals – JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison and Shore Rehabilitation Institute in Brick.

Additionally, the network has more than 500 patient care locations throughout the state which include ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, urgent care centers and physician practice locations. Hackensack Meridian Health has more than 36,000 team members, and 7,000 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

The network’s notable distinctions include having four of its hospitals are among the top hospitals in New Jersey for 2020-21, according to U.S. News & World Report. Additionally, the health system has more top-ranked hospitals than any system in New Jersey. Children’s Health is again ranked a top provider of pediatric health care in the United States and earned top 50 rankings in the annual U.S. News’ 2020-21 Best Children’s Hospitals report.   Other honors include consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and being named to Becker’s Healthcare’s “150 Top Places to Work in Healthcare/2019” list.

The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, the first private medical school in New Jersey in more than 50 years, welcomed its first class of students in 2018 to its On3 campus in Nutley and Clifton. The Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI), housed in a fully renovated state-of-the-art facility, seeks to translate current innovations in science to improve clinical outcomes for patients with cancer, infectious diseases and other life-threatening and disabling conditions.

Additionally, the network partnered with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to find more cures for cancer faster while ensuring that patients have access to the highest quality, most individualized cancer care when and where they need it.

Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.

To learn more, visit www.hackensackmeridianhealth.org.


The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, the first private medical school in New Jersey in more than 50 years, welcomed its first class of students in 2018 to its On3 campus in Nutley and Clifton. Hackensack Meridian Health assumed its independent operation in July 2020. The school’s vision is that each person in New Jersey, and in the United States, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, will enjoy the highest levels of wellness in an economically and behaviorally sustainable fashion. The School’s unique curriculum focuses on linking the basic science with clinical relevance, through an integrated curriculum in a team-oriented, collaborative environment. The school prides itself on outreach, through programs like the Human Dimension, which is active in communities across New Jersey.