Newswise — Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center recently graduated its fourth class of soldiers who participated in Operation Hackensack S.M.A.R.T. (Strategic Medical Asset Readiness Training).

The program, a partnership with all of the uniformed services, focuses on high-quality, individualized specialty medical training for service members to improve their knowledge, skillsets and increase soldier readiness.  The program, which began in June of 2017 at Hackensack University Medical Center, the first health care facility in the nation to implement this training, started as an initiative with the U.S. Army Reserve and has since expanded to provide high-quality training to all of the armed services and their reserve components.

“We are honored and privileged to support our military by providing high-quality, one-on-one medical training to our soldiers, ensuring they have the critical skillsets they need to maintain readiness,” said Mark D. Sparta, FACHE, president and chief hospital executive of Hackensack University Medical Center and vice president, Population Health, Hackensack Meridian Health. “The feedback from both our team members and physicians has been phenomenal.  They appreciated the soldiers’ enthusiasm, talent, skill and the opportunity to network and bridge their experience in the medical center with military medicine. I want to thank our team at Hackensack University Medical Center for providing this training and their dedication to such an important initiative.”

Operation Hackensack S.M.A.R.T. integrates realistic hands-on training specific to the jobs soldiers perform in their military capacity. The soldiers partnered with their civilian counterparts at Hackensack University Medical Center for 14 days of immersion training utilizing cutting-edge technology, at no cost to the government.  During the recent session, 12 U.S. Army soldiers from across the country received training in the laboratory, operating room, labor and delivery, Department of Orthopedics, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Department of Behavioral Health.

“I cannot thank Hackensack University Medical Center enough for hosting our military members,” said Brigadier General Carl Reese, M.D., M.Sc., assistant surgeon general of Mobilization, Readiness and National Guard Affairs, Office of the Surgeon General.  “The opportunity to participate in the S.M.A.R.T. program will greatly improve the soldiers’ medical skillsets. In addition, Hackensack University Medical Center maintains an Honor Guard, which also demonstrates its commitment to supporting our troops.”

The focus of the S.M.A.R.T. program is to provide critical knowledge sharing between military and civilian medical professionals about best practices, techniques and procedures to ensure military service members are trained to use the most current technology in today’s rapidly changing health care landscape.

“For a fourth time, this unique partnership enabled us to support our servicemen and women, giving them the skills and training they need to effectively fulfill their duty when they are called to serve,” said Michael Horton, FACHE, administrative director of Clinical Services at Hackensack University Medical Center. “We look forward to welcoming other soldiers for upcoming training sessions at Hackensack University Medical Center for this extraordinary program.”

About Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center

Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, a 781-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is now part of 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, which is comprised of 34,100 team members and more than 6,500 physicians. Hackensack University Medical Center was listed as one of the top two hospitals in New Jersey in U.S. News & World Report’s 2018-19 Best Hospital rankings. It was also named one of the top five New York Metro Area hospitals. Hackensack University Medical Center is one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more years in a row. Becker’s Hospital Review recognized Hackensack University Medical Center as one of the 100 Great Hospitals in America 2018. The medical center is one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country according to Practice Greenhealth, and received 25 Gold Seals of Approval™ by The Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its sixth consecutive designation in 2019. Hackensack University Medical Center has created an entire campus of award-winning care, including: John Theurer Cancer Center, a consortium member of the NCI-designated Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® and listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. Hackensack University Medical Center is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is Official Medical Services Provider to THE NORTHERN TRUST PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events especially the Tackle Kids Cancer Campaign providing much needed research at the Children’s Cancer Institute housed at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. To learn more, visit