Aug 10, 2022 NJBIZ Honors Four Individuals and Two Organizations at RWJBarnabas Health as Healthcare Heroes

Systemwide Accolades include Physician of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Healthcare Professional Hero, Public Health Hero, Education Hero and Innovation Hero

NJBiz Health Care Heroes

West Orange, NJ, August 10, 2022 – Several RWJBarnabas Health team members and programs were named in NJBIZ’s recently released list of New Jersey’s 2022 Healthcare Heroes. The list was created to recognize excellence, promote innovation and honor the efforts of individuals and organizations making a significant impact on the quality of health care in the state.

“In our ongoing mission to provide exceptional health care to our neighbors and friends in New Jersey, these recognitions from NJBIZ let us know that our hard work is not going unnoticed,” said Mark E. Manigan, President, RWJBarnabas Health. “I am tremendously proud of the individuals and programs that have been honored with inclusion on this list, as well as our vast team of close to 40,000 state-wide who deliver outstanding care every day.”

Honorees from RWJBarnabas Health include:

  • Dr. Frank A. Ghinassi, PhD, ABPP, Senior Vice President of Behavioral Health and Addictions Service Line at RWJBarnabas Health and President and Chief Executive Officer of Rutgers Health University Behavioral Health Care is recognized in the Healthcare Professional category. As Senior Vice President of the Behavioral Health and Addictions Service Line at RWJBarnabas Health, Dr. Ghinassi has worked tirelessly to address the growing crisis, and advance mental and behavioral health for everyone from system staff to students. Dr. Ghinassi has increased access to mental health services through the system’s Connect Together initiative and has continued to prioritize and build RWJBarnabas Health’s mental health offerings for patients and community members, including access to support lines 24/7, virtual therapy, and individually tailored treatment plans.
  • Dr. Kamtorn Vangvanichyakorn, MD, FAAP, Director of Neonatology at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center is recognized in the Physician of the Year category. As Director of Neonatology at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center, Kamtorn Vangvanichyakorn oversees the Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), a Level III Regional Perinatal Center, offering the latest treatments and modalities in the field to provide the most advanced care for hundreds of premature and ill newborns born in New Jersey each year. She also serves as Director of the NICU’s High-Risk Follow-Up and Infant Apnea Programs.
  • Mariam Merced, Director of the Community Health Promotion Program at RWJBarnabas Health’s Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital is recognized in the Public Health Hero category. As Director of Community Health Promotions at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital New Brunswick, Mariam Merced has spent the past three decades improving health outcomes and quality of life for individuals throughout Middlesex County. Merced oversees the coordination of partnerships with trusted community organizations and leads a team of Community Health Ambassadors who are trained to engage community residents in health promotion and prevention efforts through grassroots outreach, information sharing and canvassing.

John Kalinowski

  • John Kalinowski, Volunteer Chaplain at Jersey City Medical Center is recognized in the Volunteer of the Year category. As a certified bereavement and consolation ministry training facilitator with more than 15 years of experience working in clinical spiritual care, John Kalinowski is a cherished member of the patient care team at Jersey City Medical Center. In his role as a Volunteer Chaplain, Kalinowski dedicated his retirement to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic and brings experience in supporting a plurality of religions and people of varying backgrounds, giving him a distinct advantage in Jersey City’s diverse community.

Trinitas School of Nursing NJBiz Group

  • The Trinitas School of Nursing (TSON) is recognized in the Education Hero category, which honors any individuals or organizations in health education, that are making a difference in their community and in health care. TSON is a pioneer in the movement for minority representation in the health professions, offering a nursing education program that expands access to the profession and prepares its diverse student population to meet the evolving needs of their patients and communities.

  • The Babs Siperstein PROUD Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset is recognized in the Innovation Hero category, which honors companies primarily responsible for development of a new procedure, device, service, program or treatment that can save lives or improve the quality of life for a large number of people. The Babs Siperstein PROUD Center was the first in New Jersey to provide primary care services tailored to meet the needs of the LGBTQ+ community in a safe, supportive environment. The PROUD Center serves more than 1,400 patients and is open five days a week, offering services such as primary medical care for adults, hormone therapy and monitoring, HIV care, health education, counseling, support groups and referrals for specialty services.

The NJBIZ Healthcare Heroes awards were formally presented this morning at The Palace at Somerset Park in Somerset. The full list of Healthcare Heroes recipients was announced on the NJBIZ.

About RWJBarnabas Health
RWJBarnabas Health is the largest, most comprehensive academic health care system in New Jersey, with a service area covering eight counties with five million people. The system includes twelve acute care hospitals – Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, Community Medical Center in Toms River, Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, 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 Hamilton in Hamilton, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rahway in Rahway and Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth, three acute care children’s hospitals, Children’s Specialized Hospital with a network of outpatient pediatric rehabilitation 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 two accountable care organizations.

RWJBarnabas Health is among New Jersey’s largest private employers – with more than 38,000 employees and 9,000 physicians– and routinely captures national awards for outstanding quality and safety. RWJBarnabas Health launched an affiliation with Rutgers University to create New Jersey’s largest academic health care system. The collaboration aligns RWJBarnabas Health 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. For more information, visit