Hackensack Meridian Health Joins World Economic Forum’s “Zero Health Gaps Pledge” Initiative to Improve Global Health Equity

January 19, 2023– Edison, NJ – Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive health network, is proud to announce it has signed the World Economic Forum’s Zero Health Gaps Pledge, the world’s first global, multi-sector health equity pledge. The health system is one of 39 initial signatory organizations from eight countries committed to join the Forum on its journey during its Annual Meeting in Davos.

“Hackensack Meridian Health is honored to join the fight against global health inequity alongside the World Economic Forum as part of our commitment to making a positive, lasting impact in healthcare,” said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer of Hackensack Meridian Health. “Placing health equity at the heart of our healthcare network is the right thing to do, and I am confident this global partnership will help us create a healthier world for all. This opportunity allows Hackensack Meridian Health to expand our impact as work toward developing a fair and just healthcare economy.”

Hackensack Meridian Health joins world-class organizations championing innovation in their respective industries, including the American Cancer Society, Black Directors Health Equity Agenda, Deloitte, Kaiser Permanente and  Planned Parenthood. 

According to the World Economic Forum, the pledge is a direct response to the persistent and growing global health disparities between and within countries. For example, the average life expectancy for people in high-income countries is 78, compared with just 64 for those in low-income countries.  At the most extreme, Japan and the Central African Republic (CAR) have a difference in average life expectancy of more than 30 years. In recent years, the global climate and health crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, have highlighted the seriousness of these inequities and the dire consequences of not addressing them. The “Zero Health Gaps Pledge” is a plan for action that works toward correcting these issues.  

Hackensack Meridian Health is currently fighting health inequities in New Jersey through its social determinants of health program, Healthy Connections, which helps identify five issue areas among patients: food, housing, transportation, caregiver support, mental health/substance abuse treatment. Since its inception in June 2021, Healthy Connections has provided over one million referrals to patients beyond traditional health care. The program also helps uninsured or discharged patients medications for chronic conditions at no-cost and provides medically tailored meals to eligible patients. 

The Global Health Equity Network (GHEN) brings together private sector executives, government representatives, academics, and civil society leaders to advance a collective vision of Zero Health Gaps. The network’s vision is that all individuals have the fair and just opportunity to fulfill their human potential in all aspects of health and wellbeing. This means that there are no differences in healthy years in a person’s life span, within and across communities. Learn more about the Zero Health Gaps Pledge here

ABOUT HACKENSACK MERIDIAN HEALTH

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. The network has 18 hospitals and more than 500 patient care locations, which include ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, rehabilitation centers, urgent care centers, physician practice locations, and a fitness and wellness center. With more than 35,000 team members and 7,000 physicians, Hackensack Meridian Health is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy and committed to the health and well-being of communities throughout New Jersey. 

The network’s notable distinctions include having more U.S. News-ranked hospitals than any other health system in New Jersey, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, 2022-23. Hackensack University Medical Center is nationally-ranked by U.S. News & World Report in four specialties, more than any other hospital in New Jersey. Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center, and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, are ranked #1 in the state and top 20 in the Mid-Atlantic Region by U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-23 Best Children’s Hospital  Report. Additionally, their combined nephrology program ranks in the top 50 in the United States. To learn more, visit www.hackensackmeridianhealth.org.  

ABOUT WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

It was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests. The Forum strives in all its efforts to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance. Moral and intellectual integrity is at the heart of everything it does.

Our activities are shaped by a unique institutional culture founded on the stakeholder theory, which asserts that an organization is accountable to all parts of society. The institution carefully blends and balances the best of many kinds of organizations, from both the public and private sectors, international organizations and academic institutions.

We believe that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to make positive change.