Newswise — Neptune, NJ – February 4, 2020 – The Women’s Heart Fund, a philanthropic arm of Hackensack Meridian Health Meridian Health Foundation, has announced that for its newest venture, the organization will sponsor ‘Community Conversations with the CDI,’ a women-focused, three-year lecture series featuring researchers from Hackensack Meridian Health’s Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI). The lectures will focus on topics relevant to community members throughout the state, including heart disease, breast and ovarian cancer, vaccines, Alzheimer’s Disease and diabetes. 

“Over the years, the Women’s Heart Fund has raised valuable funding for a wide variety of Hackensack Meridian Health initiatives,” says Joseph Stampe, president and chief development officer of the Meridian Health Foundation. “Their dedication and passion have helped to advance health care and education for our community and we are thankful for all that they do to help our organization, and more importantly, for the impact they have made on the health of women in our region.” 

The first of the lecture series will feature a panel of Hackensack Meridian Health physicians and researchers from the CDI. It will take place at 2:30 p.m. on February 9 during the Count Basie Center for the Arts and Hackensack Meridian Health Riverview Medical Center HeartHealthExpo taking place at the Basie’s Hackensack Meridian Health Theatre. The panel will be moderated by Alla Rabinovich, chief operating officer of the Center for Discovery and Innovation, and will include the following physicians:

  • Evelyn Minaya, M.D., obstetrics and gynecology
  • Rajney Bais, M.D., internal medicine
  • Dawn Calderon, D.O., cardiology
  • David Leopold, M.D., integrative health and medicine
  • Claire Carter, PhD, researcher at the CDI
  • Ravi Diwan, M.D., cardiology 

“Advanced biomedical research is just one aspect of the CDI’s work – another big part of our mission is to serve as a forum for public education about how science innovation is improving peoples’ lives,” said David Perlin, Ph.D., the chief scientific officer and senior vice president of the CDI. “Awareness events like these, done in partnership with the Women’s Heart Fund, help us further that mission.” 

The Women’s Heart Fund 2018 to 2019 initiative raised funds in support of The Center for Survivorship and Wellness Care at Hackensack Meridian Health Jersey Shore University Medical Center, which will open its doors to the public later this quarter. The center will offer face-to-face meetings with cancer survivors, help to create Survivorship Care Plans, provide referrals to social workers and host cancer and caregiver support groups. 

“The Women’s Heart Fund has raised more than $700,000 for many different Hackensack Meridian Health programs and services throughout the years,” says Heidi Maggs, board chair of the Women’s Heart Fund. “We have supported the purchase of new vascular screening equipment, provided nursing scholarships, created a peaceful waiting area in the CardioVascular Intensive Care Unit at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, offered CPR training to the community and more. This next initiative will really help to provide education on issues that are impacting us every day and we are excited to sponsor the innovative researchers at the CDI who will be able to impart invaluable information on breakthroughs on our selected topics.” 

‘Community Conversations with the CDI’ will be free to the public and dates, times and locations will be announced prior to each lecture. For more information about the Women’s Heart Fund and the upcoming lecture series, please visit For more information about the Center for Discovery and Innovation, please visit


About the Women’s Heart Fund

The mission of the Women’s Heart Fund (WHF) is to champion women’s health issues in Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex counties and to facilitate learning and engagement with the larger Hackensack Meridian Health community. First and foremost, the WHF is deeply committed to education about the importance of women’s health; we therefore aspire to engage women at the Board level who will serve as powerful influencers and conveners in the communities we serve. Through our outreach work and events, the WHF seeks to increase philanthropy each year for women’s health programs, services, and technology as well as other Hackensack Meridian Health funding priorities.


About the Center for Discovery and Innovation:

The Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI), a newly established member of Hackensack Meridian Health, seeks to translate current innovations in science to improve clinical outcomes for patients with cancer, infectious diseases and other life-threatening and disabling conditions. The CDI, housed in a fully renovated state-of-the-art facility, offers world-class researchers a support infrastructure and culture of discovery that promotes science innovation and rapid translation to the clinic.



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.

For additional information, please visit