Newswise — Edison, NJ – March 4, 2020 – The Hackensack Meridian Health Meridian Health Foundation secured a $3 million gift from the Grunin Foundation to create patient care technician (PCT) preceptorship and apprenticeship programs that will provide a career ladder for team members looking to move into long-term, higher paying clinical positions such as nursing, while offering growth opportunities for team members who want to build a lifelong career as a PCT, including mentorship and leadership responsibilities. The programs will also provide employment opportunities for local community members with limited education who want to begin a career in health care. 

“This generous gift by the Grunin Foundation is the first of its kind for Hackensack Meridian Health,” says Robert C. Garrett, chief executive officer, Hackensack Meridian Health. “PCTs are hands-on at the bedside taking care of our patients each and every day, and it’s vital that we offer them educational opportunities and a career path, as many of them seek to grow in the field of health care. Additionally, this gift will afford team members who may be working in other areas of the network – such as environmental services or food and nutrition – an opportunity to grow in a career, while offering additional employment opportunities for our community. It’s an incredibly important gift and I am extremely grateful that the Grunin Foundation recognizes the value that PCTs bring to the patient care experience.” 

Due, in part, to nurses being pulled from the bedside to perform more administrative functions, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that the need for PCTs will grow by more than 18 percent over the next three years. 

“We know that PCTs often feel as though there is a lack of support, which causes turnover in the role, and creates an issue in filling PCT vacancies,” says Joseph Stampe, president and chief development officer, Meridian Health Foundation. “We also know that high turnover and high vacancy rates negatively impact patient care and increase costs to health care systems, which are just two very important reasons that there is a dire need for well-qualified PCTs. This gift will be a huge help in ensuring our patients continue to receive the best possible care, while creating real career opportunities for Hackensack Meridian Health team members and our community. We are very thankful to be able to implement this fantastic program through the help of philanthropy.”

PCTs provide services such as supporting emergency room patients, reporting vital signs, checking blood pressure and pulse, monitoring patients’ conditions and providing updates to the care team. They also provide other direct patient care, including feeding, bathing, ambulating, phlebotomy, obtaining electrocardiograms (EKGs) and finger-stick blood glucose monitoring, as well as serving as emotional support to patients and their families.

“We are thrilled to be able to make this gift to the Meridian Health Foundation and Hackensack Meridian Health,” says Jeremy Grunin, president of the Grunin Foundation. “Our foundation has previously championed education at Hackensack Meridian Health by backing the inception of the Graduate Medical Education (GME) program at Ocean Medical Center, and so providing startup funding for the PCT preceptorship and apprenticeship programs throughout the network is a natural fit and spans the spectrums of clinical and economic excellence. We believe strongly in supporting health care as a way for our community and our economy to thrive. We are excited for the new career paths this will open up for individuals enrolled in the programs.” 

The $3 million gift from the Grunin Foundation contributes to a $150 million goal set by Meridian Health Foundation as part of its capital fundraising campaign. Called Giving Heals, the campaign supports four important initiatives: strengthening oncology services, improving clinical outcomes, enhancing the patient experience and broadening clinical research and academic programs. To date, nearly $110 million has been raised toward the goal, which supports eight Hackensack Meridian Health medical centers in Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties, including: Bayshore Medical Center, Jersey Shore University Medical Center, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital, Ocean Medical Center, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Riverview Medical Center and Southern Ocean Medical Center. 

To learn more about the PCT program or how to support it, please contact Matthew Lang at 732-751-5116 or [email protected]. To learn more about Giving Heals, please visit



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 Shore 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 centers, rehabilitation centers, urgent care centers and physician practice locations. Hackensack Meridian Health has more than 35,000 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 four hospitals among the top in New Jersey by U.S. News and World Report. Other honors include consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and being named to Becker’s Healthcare’s “150 Top Places to Work in Healthcare/2019” list. 

The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University opened in 2018, the first private medical school in New Jersey in more than 50 years, welcomed its second class of 96 students in 2019 to its On3 campus in Nutley and Clifton. Additionally, the network partnered with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to find more cures for cancer faster while ensuring that patients have access to the highest quality, most individualized cancer care when and where they need it. 

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.

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