A Virtual Conversation on Race and Healthcare Disparity Hosted by the Clara Maass Medical Center’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion Explores Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Health Outcomes

Belleville, NJ – The Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Clara Maass Medical Center hosted a Virtual Conversation on Race and Healthcare Disparity on October 28 as part of its overall strategy to explore the intersectionality of diversity, equity, inclusion and health outcomes.

According to HealthyPeople.gov, health disparities refers to differences in healthcare that are closely linked with social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantage that adversely affects groups of people that have systematically experienced greater obstacles and challenges to health based on race or ethnicity.

The Virtual Conversation featured Robert L. Johnson, MD, FAAP, The Sharon and Joseph Muscarelle Endowed Dean at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark and Interim Dean, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick. Dr. Johnson is the first person in the United States to simultaneously serve as the dean of two medical schools, and is the eighth person to serve as Dean of New Jersey’s oldest Medical School, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

“Inclusivity is part of our DNA” said Mary Ellen Clyne, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Clara Maass Medical Center. “When Clara Maass Medical Center was established 150 years ago, it was founded on the principles that that anyone requiring healthcare could receive it, and today, that tenet still rings true. The Virtual Conversation with Dr. Johnson is a key part of an intentional journey to maintain an inclusive environment at Clara Maass Medical Center” Clyne said.

“We were thrilled to have Dr. Johnson as our virtual guest” said Desyra Highsmith Holcomb, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Clara Maass Medical Center. “Dr. Johnson is a major thought leader of our time, and his wisdom and insight is invaluable especially as we continue to address issues of healthcare equity through our work as leaders, and as healthcare professionals and providers for our community” Highsmith-Holcomb said.

The 60-minute event was moderated by Naveen Ballem, MD, Interim Chief Medical Officer, Chief Clinical Effectiveness Officer and Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery at the Medical Center, and can be viewed here.

Dr. Johnson is the first person in the United States to simultaneously serve as the dean of two medical schools, and he is the eighth person to serve as Dean of New Jersey's oldest Medical School, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Johnson was Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at New Jersey Medical School. A Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, he serves on the Advisory Committee of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences of the National Research Council's National Academy of Sciences and chairs the New Jersey Governor's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and Related Blood Borne Pathogens and the Newark Ryan White Planning Council. Previously, Dr. Johnson served as the President of the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners; as the Chair of the US Department of Health and Human Services' Council on Graduate Medical Education; a member of the National Council of the National Institute of Mental Health; the NIH AIDS Research Council; and the Institute of Medicine Health Care Services Board.

He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Alfred University in 1968 and a Medical Degree from the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (formerly the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, now Rutgers New Jersey Medical School) in 1972. With expertise in the fields of adolescent physical and mental health, adolescent HIV, adolescent violence, adolescent sexuality and family strengthening, Dr. Johnson has become a well-recognized spokesperson for the adolescent and adolescent issues. He regularly addresses many local, state, national and international audiences and frequently appears on television and radio. Widely published, Dr. Johnson maintains an active schedule of teaching, conducting research and treating pediatric adolescent patients at the Medical School.

Dr. Johnson chairs the Board of Deacons at Union Baptist Church in Orange, NJ, and is married to Maxine Johnson, a lifelong educator. He is the author of 'The Race Trap' a Harper Collins Business Book which addresses the pitfalls commonly encountered in communications across the racial divide and 'Strength for Their Journey' a guide for parents of African-American teens, published by Doubleday.

Robert L. Johnson, MD, FAAP, The Sharon and Joseph L. Muscarelle Endowed Dean, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and Interim Dean, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

About Clara Maass Medical Center

Founded in 1869 as the Newark German Hospital, Clara Maass Medical Center, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, is celebrating 150 years of service to the community. Conveniently located in Belleville, NJ, Clara Maass Medical Center is a 472-bed hospital that offers a complete continuum of care to residents of northern New Jersey.

Clara Maass Medical Center has completed a state-of-the-art campus expansion of its Emergency Department, Operating Rooms and Post Anesthesia Care Unit with the addition of a four-story, 87,000 square foot medical office building that features a private Intensive Care Unit, main entrance and lobby, retail pharmacy and patient registration area. Designated by the New Jersey Department of Health as a Primary Stroke Center, the Medical Center has earned national recognition in patient safety and quality from Healthgrades and The Leapfrog Group.

The Medical Center leads the state in performing advanced treatment in ophthalmology, and has earned certifications in Disease-Specific Care from The Joint Commission in Acute Coronary Syndrome, Congestive Heart Failure, Hip and Knee Replacement, Cardiac Rehabilitation and Advanced Certification in Palliative Care, and has earned accreditation in Bariatric Surgery by the Aetna Institute of Quality program. In partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey – the state's only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Clara Maass Medical Center offers a world class team of researchers and specialists to fight most types of cancer, providing close-to-home access to the latest treatment and clinical trials. Committed to the health and wellness of its community, the Center of Excellence for Latino Health at Clara Maass Medical Center was established to address the social determinants of health within the local Hispanic community.

The first in the country to be named for a nurse, the hospitals’ namesake, Clara Louise Maass was posthumously inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame Class of 2017. For a physician referral or more information about Clara Maass Medical Center, call 1-888-724-7123 or visit www.rwjbh.org/claramaass.

Contact: Stacie J. Newton
Office: 973-450-2989
Mobile: 201-424-9678
E-mail: Stacie.Newton@rwjbh.org