Our History

History of the Jersey City Medical Center

Jersey City Medical Center entrance

For more than 140 years, amidst countless trials and transformations, Jersey City Medical Center has emerged as an unwavering pillar of healthcare excellence in Hudson County. From navigating two world wars to the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, JCMC has consistently stood at the forefront, delivering exceptional care and unwavering support to the Hudson County region.

The Medical Center was established in 1882 as the “Charity Hospital.” The following year, the Medical Center established the oldest and most respected EMS in the nation, serving residents of Jersey City and the surrounding communities in Hudson County. From its humble beginning with a horse-drawn ambulance in the 19th century, Jersey City’s team of emergency medical personnel has responded to some of the greatest American tragedies, including the 1916 Black Tom explosion in Jersey City, in which 50 were presumed dead, and another 21 were hospitalized, to the attacks on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.

The Medical Center was renamed Jersey City Hospital in 1885. The hospital expanded to 200 beds, and in 1909, the original building was reserved for men, and a second wing was added for women. The hospital was renovated, and a new 23-story structure for surgery was constructed in 1931. The Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital was added to the complex in the same year. The formal dedication of the Jersey City Medical Center Complex was on October 2, 1936, with Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicating the building. It was one of the first medical centers in the United States and the first in New Jersey. Decades later, in 1988, the Medical Center became a private, non-profit organization.

In 2015, the Medical Center joined the RWJBarnabas Health network. Jersey City Medical Center is the region’s state-designated trauma center and the only hospital (medical center) in Hudson County to do open-heart surgery. Several additional buildings are being planned for the site as the community around the hospital continues to grow and flourish.

The Medical Center is on a 15-acre campus overlooking New York Harbor and Liberty State Park. The hospital serves as a regional referral and teaching hospital, providing the highest level of care for women and infants, trauma, and cardiac patients. It provides Advanced Life Support for Hudson County, a Regional Trauma Center, a Level III Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Center, and a Regional Heart Hospital with cardiac surgery. The Medical Center has been at the forefront of medical advancements, continuously adopting state-of-the-art technologies to enhance patient care.

In the early 2020s, Jersey City Medical Center introduced the region’s first hybrid operating room, another significant milestone for healthcare in Hudson County. This hybrid operating room is equipped with advanced technologies, including real-time imaging, and allows multiple surgical teams to work simultaneously in the same setting. This technology expands treatment options and increases safety, as complex procedures that previously required separate operating rooms and catheterization labs can now be performed in a single location.

Furthermore, Jersey City Medical Center has expanded its comprehensive cardiovascular program by introducing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). This advanced, less-invasive surgical procedure is designed to repair damaged aortic valves in older individuals with severe aortic stenosis. Aortic stenosis is a potentially life-threatening condition characterized by narrowing of the aortic heart valve, impeding blood flow throughout the body. Unlike conventional aortic valve replacement, which requires stopping the patient’s heart and using an artificial heart-lung machine while making a large incision through the breastbone, TAVR can be performed with the heart still beating. The Medical Center’s adoption of TAVR further strengthens its position as a leader in cardiovascular care. Alongside three other RWJBarnabas Health facilities, the hospital performs a high volume of TAVR procedures, establishing itself as the state’s foremost provider of this groundbreaking treatment.

In June 2022, the Medical Center made history by appointing Carlos Lejnieks, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson & Union Counties, as the first person of Hispanic descent to serve as the new Chair of the Medical Center’s Board of Trustees.

The following month, the Medical Center unveiled a $100-million expansion of its Emergency Department and opened a Pediatric Emergency Department. The hospital also has been recognized for Gynecologic Surgery Excellence Award™ and is rated high performing in adult procedures and conditions.

The hospital unveiled a new Neuro Interventional Cath Lab with innovative angiographic X-ray technology in early 2023. This cutting-edge lab enables physicians to obtain detailed 3D submillimeter images of the brain and nervous system, facilitating diagnosing and treating conditions such as stroke, aneurysms, and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) for Hudson County residents.

These advancements in medical technology and procedures at Jersey City Medical Center reflect the hospital’s commitment to offering its patients the highest level of care; it is part of their mission of healing, enhancing, and investing in Hudson County.

In addition to its medical technology and procedures advancements, Jersey City Medical Center has taken a proactive approach to addressing community health needs, particularly concerning food insecurity and chronic illnesses. In the late 2010s, the hospital established the Food FARMacy, a unique initiative in Greenville at 1825 John F. Kennedy Blvd., to serve Hudson County residents who face food insecurity while living with chronic conditions like diabetes or obesity. Through partnerships with local organizations and generous donors, and by combining fresh produce with expert guidance, Food FARMacy equips individuals with the resources and knowledge necessary to adopt healthier eating habits.

Furthermore, in addition to its dedication to addressing immediate food insecurity concerns and promoting long-term well-being and disease prevention, Jersey City Medical Center received the esteemed recognition of being a “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation in 2018 for the fourth consecutive year. The Medical Center earned top marks in meeting non-discrimination and training criteria that demonstrate a commitment to equitable, inclusive, and compassionate care for LGBTQ patients and their families, who often face significant challenges in securing the medical care they need and deserve.

By staying at the forefront of innovation and continuously expanding its capabilities, Jersey City Medical Center ensures that the community it serves has access to cutting-edge treatments and improved outcomes. As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, the Medical Center remains dedicated to its mission of providing exceptional care and embracing medical advancements to better serve its patients’ needs in Hudson County and the region.

As we prepare for 2024 and beyond, the hospital will continue to be at the forefront of innovation, compassionate care, and community well-being.