New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund Partners with Connect for COVID-19 to Help Keep Saint Barnabas Medical Center Patients Connected

Pictured, from left, are Barry H. Ostrowsky, President and CEO, RWJBarnabas Health; Stephen P. Zieniewicz, FACHE, President and CEO, Saint Barnabas Medical Center; Shivraj Sandhu, National Lead at Digital Health Connectivity Project; Maggie Lundberg, MSN, MPA, RN, CCRN, CNO, Saint Barnabas Medical Center; First Lady Tammy Murphy; Sheila Collier, MSN, RNC-MNN, Administrative Director of Nursing, Maternal/Child Health, Saint Barnabas Medical Center; and Manraj Singh, National Lead at Digital Health Connectivity Project.

Last week, First Lady Tammy Murphy, founder of the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund, teamed up with Manraj Singh and Sunny Sandhu, national leads and co-founders of Connect for COVID-19, a program of Digital Health Connectivity Project (DHCP), to present Saint Barnabas Medical Center with an initial donation of 50 Amazon.com tablets. In keeping with Connect for COVID-19’s mission, the devices will facilitate video calls between expecting and new mothers and their loved ones as well as support prenatal telehealth appointments.

After feeling ill and choosing to self-isolate in March 2020, Sunny, a recent graduate from Princeton University, was inspired to create Connect for COVID-19 to do his part to help others in the fight against COVID-19. “I was isolating and dealing with all the stress, but also realizing that while I was isolating, I was not actually isolated. I was fortunate to have a smart device in my hand while others weren’t,” Sunny explained. To date, the organization has distributed 1,000 devices across the county.

DHCP strives to work across the healthcare ecosystem to design tech-enabled solutions to the most pressing healthcare challenges facing vulnerable populations. Because of their close ties to New Jersey and the high number of residents affected by COVID-19, Sunny, and his brother Manraj, partnered with First Lady Murphy and the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund, allowing them to make an impact by identifying need and efficiently getting the tablets to the people who need them the most.

“Childbirth is one of the most intimate moments of a mother’s life,” said First Lady Murphy. “I’m thrilled that Connect for COVID-19 has partnered with the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund to ensure that mothers at Saint Barnabas Medical Center and other health care facilities across the state can stay connected virtually to their loved ones and their support systems.”

“As a Level III Reginal Perinatal Center, Saint Barnabas Medical Center cares for thousands of high-risk maternity patients and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) infants each year,” said Stephen P. Zieniewicz, FACHE, President and CEO, Saint Barnabas Medical Center. “Thanks to NJPRF’s help, Connect for COVID-19’s donation to Saint Barnabas Medical Center will help support the quality of care in the hospital’s prenatal and maternity services, allowing mothers to stay connected with their loved ones.”

Staff from the Maternal-Child Division will use the tables to help moms whose medical complications require them to remain in the hospital for an extended period of time to stay in touch with their partners and other children at home through video calls; support telehealth initiatives in a vulnerable prenatal population; and provide families with babies in the NICU to receive real-time photos and videos of their child.

To learn more about Connect for COVID-19, visit www.connectforcovid19.com.