As a union of nurses and health professionals, HPAE looks forward to working with Commissioner Shereef Elnahal, M.D., M.B.A as the next President and CEO of University Hospital. This is an opportunity and we are optimistic that Commissioner Elnahal will continue the work the Interim President and CEO, Judith Persichelli began this year.
Over the last few months, University Hospital has righted course in a new direction. As the only public hospital in New Jersey, University Hospital should be recognized for its role as a level one trauma center, premier teaching hospital and a leading healthcare institution in our state.
HPAE members have witnessed changes since Governor Murphy took action in 2018 to sign an executive order to appoint a monitor, resulting in a report that found systemic problems while making recommendations that will help to restore the hospital’s ability to provide quality care, cutting edge services and research; and to play an integral role in the community by honoring its mission to serve the needs of the community above all else.
The efforts made by Persichelli during her short term have attempted to steer the hospital in the right direction. There is still much work to be done as the challenges at the hospital are complex. We are encouraged by the Board’s decision to select Commissioner Elnahal, to continue this work in consultation with the staff and the community to find solutions that set a clear path forward to promote and improve University Hospital.
As Commissioner, he has worked with First Lady Tammy Murphy to raise awareness and reduce infant mortality rates in New Jersey, especially in communities of color. As President and CEO, we are hopeful that the Commissioner will take similar steps to understand the history of the hospital and the community surrounding the hospital, a predominantly black and Latino community which already faces health challenges due to inherit racial disparities in our nation’s health system. The previous administration’s failure to support the hospital and threats to reduce or privatize services have only perpetuated a system that has worsened health disparities. HPAE members look forward to working with an administration at University Hospital, led by the Commissioner, that will make reducing health disparities a priority.
As Commissioner, Shereef Elnahal has shown a commitment to protecting University Hospital as a valuable public institution which provides quality care and which is a resource for the entire community. As frontline caregivers, HPAE members will continue to advocate alongside community members to assure patients that their safety and access to care will remain a priority. We welcome Commissioner Elnahal to work with HPAE members as we urge lawmakers in Trenton to fully invest in University Hospital and meet their commitment to support NJ’s public healthcare institutions.