Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation has received a $5 million gift from an anonymous benefactor and grateful patient of Howard Ross, M.D., FACS, FASCRS, chair of the Department of Surgery and surgeon-in-chief at Hackensack University Medical Center, to create the M. Martin Ross Distinguished Chair in Surgery at the medical center.
The establishment of this inaugural endowed chair, one of the most prestigious faculty positions in academia, will support the work of Dr. Ross. The name of the endowed chair will honor Dr. Ross’ father, M. Martin Ross, and focus on four key pillars of surgery about which Dr. Ross is passionate: surgical education, surgical innovation, health equity and patient experience.
“We are incredibly grateful to this generous supporter, who requires no recognition for this extraordinary gift, but who instead, only wishes to advance care for our communities,” said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. “Although each area that this endowment will support is vital to our network’s surgical advancements, one of the most meaningful to the network is the advancement of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to help us reduce and eliminate gaps in outcomes based on race and ethnicity. I am proud and thankful that this ‘angel among us’ recognizes the importance of this mission and has stepped alongside us to help make it a reality.”
“I am humbled to be honored with such an important gift and moved to have it named for my father. He died when I was young but was the influence for me to pursue medicine,” said Dr. Ross. “The advanced surgical offerings at Hackensack University Medical Center are, without a doubt, some of the best in the nation. Thanks to this generous endowment, we will improve the training of surgeons, evaluate emerging technologies, and study how to improve the patient experience of those requiring surgery. Further, we will investigate ways to enable better access to surgical care for our diverse population for years to come. I am overwhelmed by the possibilities – and with gratitude – for this anonymous donor, who is also a patient, and who wishes to express their thanks by helping to advance the initiatives I am so passionate about.”
During the initial years, funds from the endowment will be used to hire a research investigator who will work with Dr. Ross, the department of surgery and students at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine to conduct research that answers questions needed to strengthen health equity, surgical education, surgical innovation and patient experience. In addition, the endowment will provide for research stipends for three to four students at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine to conduct research in one of the four pillars with a goal to publish their research in a scientific/medical journal. Each student will be supervised and guided by Dr. Ross and other institutional subject matter experts. The funds will also support symposia, lectures and seminars.
Dr. Ross joined Hackensack University Medical Center in May 2021 with more than 20 years of experience as a board-certified colon and rectal surgeon. He is broadly published and the editor of four noted textbooks. Prior to joining the medical center, Dr. Ross held various roles at Temple University Health System, Meridian Health System and University of Pennsylvania Health System, most recently serving as vice chair, Department of Surgery; professor and chief, Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery; and program director for the General Surgery Residency at Temple University Health System.
“Dr. Ross has been an incredible addition to our highly talented and skilled medical staff and this honor is incredibly well-deserved,” says Mark D. Sparta, FACHE, president and chief hospital executive of Hackensack University Medical Center and executive vice president of Population Health at Hackensack Meridian Health. “This gift will have a significant impact on surgical services at Hackensack University Medical Center and we are eternally thankful.”
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