Hackensack Meridian Health, the state’s largest and most comprehensive health network, recently announced that two of its hospitals, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, N.J., and Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, N.J., were recognized by Practice Greenhealth as Top 25 Hospitals for Environmental Excellence.
“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.”
Jersey Shore University Medical Center was recognized for its leadership in serving fewer meat options in the cafeteria. By serving less meat, Jersey Shore University Medical Center is helping 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.
“My mother and grandmother taught me at an early age to never waste food and that our environment should be protected for future generations,” said Vito Buccellato, MPA, LNHA, chief hospital executive, Jersey Shore University Medical Center. “I’ve always been supportive of environmentally friendly initiatives and could not be more pleased with our team members’ efforts in sustainability.” The academic medical center was also awarded the Greening the OR Recognition Award and Making Medicine Mercury Free Award.
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.
“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 addition, seven network hospitals were recognized for their commitment to environmental stewardship and their sustainability achievements. The Hackensack Meridian Health network also earned the System for Change Award and the Circles of Excellence Awards for Chemicals and Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP). Hackensack University Medical Center earned national recognition as a Practice Greenhealth Top 25 Green Hospital for a seventh consecutive year.