Newswise — May 3, 2022, Nutley, NJ – Hackensack Meridian Health, the largest and most comprehensive health network in New Jersey, is launching a New Jersey Innovation Challenge to foster innovation and disruptive solutions from New Jersey companies. 

The goal is to add to the network’s comprehensive strategies to continuously improve the patient experience and patient outcomes throughout the state. 

“We are challenging companies throughout New Jersey to play a role in helping us transform healthcare,’” said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, the chief executive officer of Hackensack Meridian Health. “The best ideas sometimes take fresh approaches from a wide array of perspectives. Our health network prides itself on finding new ways to do even better.”

The Challenge seeks to reduce 30-day readmissions for: acute myocardial infarction (AMI); chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); heart failure (HF); pneumonia; coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery; and elective primary total hip arthroplasty and/or total knee arthroplasty (THA/TKA).

Entries will be accepted between May 6 and July 15. Online applications can be submitted here

Entrants must be companies registered in New Jersey, and must submit applications to pitch their concepts to Hackensack Meridian Health. The companies must also have: a minimum revenue of $50,000 over the last 12 months; a viable product or solution ready for piloting or testing; a core team in place to provide program management and pilot support; seed capital of at least $100,000; and also a business plan for 2 to 3 years of projected growth. 

If the application is accepted, it will be followed by a virtual pitch session with subject matter experts and system leaders to narrow down to three applications. Those three applications will then be decided at Hackensack Meridian Health’s Bear’s Den innovation program.  The top three companies will benefit from a number of different opportunities from piloting their solution,  a strategic development relationship, as well as potential investment in their company to name a few.  

“We are always looking to improve what we do, through research and ideas,” said Ihor Sawczuk, M.D., FACS, Hackensack Meridian Health’s president of Academics, Research and Innovation, and also associate dean of Clinical Integration and professor and chair emeritus of Urology at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. “New ideas are the way to drive progress, and New Jersey is at the forefront of pushing the envelope with innovation. We want to partner to bring these solutions to our communities - so we can keep getting better.” 



Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care.

Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 17 hospitals from Bergen to Ocean counties, which includes three academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, JFK Medical Center in Edison; two children’s hospitals - Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune; nine community hospitals – Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, and Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin; a behavioral health hospital – Carrier Clinic in Belle Mead; and two rehabilitation hospitals - JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison and Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Brick.

Additionally, the network has more than 500 patient care locations throughout the state which include ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness center, rehabilitation centers, urgent care centers and physician practice locations. Hackensack Meridian Health has more than 36,000 team members, and 7,000 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

The network’s notable distinctions include having more top-ranked hospitals than anyone in New Jersey, as recognized by U.S. News & World Report, 2021-22. Hackensack University Medical Center is the only hospital in New Jersey with the #1 adult and children’s hospital rankings.

John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center is New Jersey's best cancer center, as recognized by U.S. News & World Report, 2021-22.  This premier cancer center is also the largest and most comprehensive center dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, management, research, screenings, and preventive care as well as survivorship of patients  with all types of cancers. John Theurer Cancer Center is part of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, an NCI designated comprehensive cancer center. 

Additionally, the network partnered with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to ensure that patients have access to the highest quality, most individualized cancer care when and where they need it.

The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, the first private medical school in New Jersey in more than 50 years, welcomed its first class of students in 2018 to its campus in Nutley and Clifton. The Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI), housed in a fully renovated state-of-the-art facility, seeks to translate current innovations in science to improve clinical outcomes for patients with cancer, infectious diseases and other life-threatening and disabling conditions.

Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies. To learn more, visit