Hackensack Meridian CEO Bob Garrett, Others Discuss COVID –   

Hackensack Meridian CEO Bob Garrett, Others Discuss COVID – and the Future

The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated changes already underway, according to an expert interdisciplinary panel held jointly by the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine and Seton Hall University.

The panelists for the latest installment of the “COVID Ethics Series” co-run by the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine and Seton Hall University, included Hackensack Meridian Health CEO Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, and the President of Seton Hall University, Joseph Nyre, PhD. Also contributing were Charles Grantham, MBA, the director of the Center for Sports Management at Seton Hall, and Molly Patterson, Ph.D., the chair of political science at Aquinas College.

The panelists for “Taking Seriously the Duty to Plan: The Future of Health, Education, Sports, and Politics After COVID” on Tuesday afternoon discussed health care, education, sports – and the quick changes in the political and social environment caused by the pandemic.

The consensus: the pandemic has accelerated changes which were already starting before the identification of a novel coronavirus in China late last year. Nyre called the pandemic a “spotlight on the cracks and fissures” that were systemic in some industries.

Garrett said there were reasons to believe the pandemic could eventually bring improvements to the health care industry.

“The trends in health care that are being accelerated because of the pandemic are actually a good thing, in a lot of ways. It means doubling down and addressing some of the social determinants of health, focusing in on value, providing better access, better affordability, better quality outcomes through enhanced use of technology,” said the CEO. “All of these things I mention are being accelerated because of the pandemic. I actually think the future is bright… We’re going to go through a tough period, but at the other side of it, the other end, I think you’re going to see a much more improved health care system.”

Sports and politics, and how could affect and be affected by the continuing pandemic, were topics tackled by Grantham and Patterson.

The “COVID Ethics Series,” led by Prof. Bryan Pilkington of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine as well as Seton Hall, has been held since the spring. The Oct. 29 installment, from 4 to 5 p.m., is entitled: “Voting for Health: The Entwined Paths of Medicine and Politics.”

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