Health Equity Grant for COVID Prevention   

Hackensack University Medical Center Emergency Medicine Department Receives State Health Grant to Address Health Equity for COVID Prevention

The Department of Emergency Medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center has received a $352,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Health to address Health Equity for COVID Prevention. The funding will support a pilot study focused on COVID risk factors in patients with chronic diseases and behavioral health concerns who come into Emergency Departments in six hospitals in the Hackensack Meridian Health network.

The initiative — led by Chinwe Ogedegbe, MD, MPH, FACEP, professor of Emergency Medicine, in collaboration with Ramon Solhkhah, MD, chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore Medical Center, professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health and Pediatrics, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine  — will facilitate the continuation of related work that has already been under way at Hackensack Meridian Health. The funding will enable patients to be linked to Tobacco Quit Centers, the state Tobacco Quitline, and relevant social services as well as to behavioral health and primary care providers. "This grant supports work that will have a significant impact on the care of the vulnerable populations and communities we serve through our Emergency Departments," explained Joseph Underwood, MD, MHCDS chair of Emergency Medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center, academic chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, Hackensack Meridian Health School of Medicine.

"Emergency Medicine is a specialty that serves as a safety net in the healthcare system. This grant will facilitate our continued efforts not only to treat and prevent COVID, but to seek new ways to enhance the overall health of medically underserved populations who enter our system through our Emergency Departments," said Mark D. Sparta, FACHE, president and chief hospital executive, Hackensack University Medical Center and executive vice president of Population Health, Hackensack Meridian Health.

"This COVID Equity grant is a testament to our dedication and commitment to research addressing health equity issues in the Emergency Departments across our network," added Ihor Sawczuk, MD, FACS, president, Northern Region, and chief research officer, Hackensack Meridian Health.

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