Dec 10, 2020 RWJBarnabas Health Embarks on System-Wide Initiative To End Racism

West Orange, NJ, December 10, 2020– RWJBarnabas Health, the largest academic health care system in New Jersey, has amplified its efforts to address equity and systemic racism to promote an antiracist culture throughout the organization and the communities it serves. Ending Racism, Together focuses on creating racial, ethnic and cultural equity, prioritizing those communities that are most disenfranchised and experience poor health, and social, economic, and educational outcomes due to the generational effects of racism.

Barry H. Ostrowsky, President and Chief Executive Officer of RWJBarnabas Health, in partnership with the Corporate Board of Trustees, recognized that the system needed to do much more to strengthen its commitment to equity in order to improve outcomes and eliminate health disparities.

“For the past several years, RWJBarnabas Health has become a national leader in the country as we have worked towards diversity, equity and inclusion. Now we recognize the need to accelerate our efforts,” said Mr. Ostrowsky. “The pandemic, paired with the recent civil injustices, have shone a very bright light on inequity and systemic racism. Ending Racism, Together, one of our most important endeavors, will be transformative, not just for people of color but for our entire enterprise.”

“As a nationally recognized health system, we know that our initiatives are tracked and emulated across the country,” said Celeste Warren, Vice President for Merck’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Center for Excellence, RWJBarnabas Health Corporate Board Trustee and Chair of the Ending Racism, Together Board Committee. “Ending Racism, Together aims to build an environment and a framework that addresses all forms and manifestations of racism. One program or annual meeting is not enough to address a deeply rooted – and deeply harmful – public health crisis,” she explains. “By increasing the knowledge of racism and bias, as well as embedding antiracist policies, practices, and behaviors into every aspect of our work, we are certain that we will move the needle on health disparities and inequity.”

Ending Racism, Together focuses on four primary areas: patient care, workforce, community, and system operations. Using an evidence-based approach, each area includes quantifiable tactics to measure success at the organizational, facility, and individual level.

“Racism has existed for far too long. As a society, we have made attempts to address inequity but have yet to see true equitable outcomes,” said DeAnna Minus-Vincent, Senior Vice President and Chief Social Integration and Health Equity Strategist at RWJBarnabas Health, who is spearheading Ending Racism, Together. “As a woman of color, I have seen the fluctuated interest in civil rights issues over the years. This time in America feels very different. Here at RWJBH, we are tackling the longstanding, pervasive pandemic of racism, with all the passion and vigor that it requires. We are demonstrating that sheer desire from a small minority does not manifest change, it takes planning and a prioritized commitment, as well as leadership from the top, to create a sustained systemic culture shift,” she adds.

Ending Racism, Together is designed to ensure that we carefully review our policies and our work flow to improve health outcomes for Black people, brown people and all people of color,” said Mr. Ostrowsky. “We are going to ensure that RWJBarnabas Health is an antiracist enterprise with equitable policies and behavior. This journey will be a primary focus for us this year, and beyond, as we integrate this work into our standard practices.”

RWJBarnabas Health is the largest, most comprehensive academic health care system in New Jersey, with a service area covering nine counties with five million people. The system includes eleven acute care hospitals – Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, Community Medical Center in Toms River, Jersey City Medical Center in Jersey City, Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset in Somerville, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton in Hamilton, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rahway in Rahway and Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, three acute care children’s hospitals and a leading pediatric rehabilitation hospital with a network of outpatient centers, a freestanding 100-bed behavioral health center, two trauma centers, a satellite emergency department, ambulatory care centers, geriatric centers, the state’s largest behavioral health network, comprehensive home care and hospice programs, fitness and wellness centers, retail pharmacy services, affiliated medical groups, multi-site imaging centers and an accountable care organization.

RWJBH is New Jersey’s largest private employer – with more than 35,000 employees, 9,000 physicians and 1,000 residents and interns – and routinely captures national awards for outstanding quality and safety. RWJBH, in partnership with Rutgers University, are creating New Jersey’s largest academic health care system. The collaboration aligns RWJBH with Rutgers’ education, research and clinical activities, including those at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey - the state's only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center - and Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care.