Holy Name Medical Center Receives $5-Million Grant

Holy Name Medical Center has received a $5-million grant — matching the biggest gift in the hospital’s history – for its Institute for Simulation Learning from The Russell Berrie Foundation. The funds will be used to expand the physical operation, staff, and equipment of the institute, the only hospital-based simulation center in North Jersey, in its effort to provide an ethical, humanistic method to learning rather than a purely technical or academic approach used in the majority of hospitals nationwide.

“This grant is a way to bring innovation to our community that we felt would really transform the standards of medical education here as well as train to prevent accidental deaths,” said Angelica Berrie, president of The Russell Berrie Foundation. “It’s not just about improving physical skills – it’s also about soft skills like how you apologize when a medical procedure fails. And it gives confidence to staff members – there’s a lot of burnout in caregivers when you’re so close to tragedy. It helps them to talk about it.”

Established in 2013, the Institute teaches healthcare providers and emergency workers through real-life scenarios, using actors and high-tech mannequins that breathe, blink, and bleed, among other bodily functions, how to handle unplanned events and complications that may arise during medical procedures or emergency situations. For example, after a pregnant mannequin gives birth, it starts hemorrhaging and healthcare workers must work immediately as a team to save the “patient.” The institute also simulates the conditions of difficult situations for medical personnel to practice, such as a physician delivering bad news to a patient.

“At the beginning this was about improving skills but it’s so much more,” said Michael Maron, president and CEO of Holy Name. “It’s an integration of multiple specialties that is transformational in how we care for patients and how the staff works as a team, while anticipating variables that can occur. We want to weave this educational component into the entire fabric of Holy Name.”

More than 2,300 healthcare professionals, first responders, and nursing students from the tri-state area have been trained at the Institute and the demand is growing. In response, the Institute will be physically expanding, thanks to the Berrie Foundation grant. New practice rooms, computers, software, and simulators will be added to increase the number of simulation-based courses available. Nurses, physicians, medical students, emergency responders and corporate participants will be trained to promote patient safety and foster humanism in medicine.

“We’re so grateful to the Berrie Foundation for this grant, which will allow us to expand on the work we’ve been doing for the past two years,” said Cedar Wang, APN, Director of Simulation Education. “Communication and teamwork are some of the ‘soft skills’ that really make a difference in the care we provide. Simulation training offers the perfect environment to practice these skills and to make sure we are ready when it really matters.”

This grant marks the second time Holy Name has received $5 million from The Russell Berrie Foundation, a measure of The Foundation’s ongoing, generous support for more than two decades. The bulk of the first $5 million gift was used to create the hospital’s Regional Cancer Center, housed in the Russ and Angelica Berrie Pavilion, while a portion was given to the Medical Center’s Millennium Campaign.

The Russell Berrie Foundation was started in the 1980s by the late Russell Berrie, who was chief executive and chairman of Russ Berrie & Company and named by Fortune magazine as one of the 40 most generous Americans. Every year, under the direction of his wife, Angelica, the foundation hands out millions of dollars to individuals, hospitals, colleges, and other non-profit organizations in support of medical advancements, fostering the spirit of religious understanding, recognizing those who have made a significant impact on the lives of others, and promoting terrorism prevention, among other goals.

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