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Hackensack University Medical Center’s Latest Environmental Initiative: Beekeeping

Honeybees have been installed on a rooftop on the medical center campus as part of an ongoing commitment to enhance community wellness and environmental health. ©

Hackensack University Medical Center, a member of Hackensack Meridian Health, is pleased to announce its latest environmental initiative: beekeeping. Honeybees have been installed on a rooftop on the medical center campus as part of an ongoing commitment to enhance community wellness and environmental health.

“Bees are a big deal for our food supply,” says Kyle Tafuri, senior sustainability advisor at The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® at HackensackUMC. “Every third bite of food we eat is the result of pollination by bees. And worldwide, bees are dying at an alarming rate.”

Bees fly up to two miles away from their hives, pollinating plants in gardens, fields and wetland areas. Their presence in the two-mile radius around the medical center community is expected to contribute to the diversity, color and flavor of foods grown and consumed in the region.

“Eating locally grown foods pollinated by bees is an easy, delicious way to reduce your carbon footprint and live more sustainably,” said Deirdre Imus, founder and president of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® at HackensackUMC. “Bees are a vital part of all agriculture, and they are being lost largely due to toxic environmental exposures. Nourishing bees in the vicinity of the hospital is the least we can do for this tiny insect that gives us so much in return.”

HackensackUMC is partnering with Bee Bold Apiaries, which was contracted to provide and tend to the bees. The company performs the same function at affiliate hospital HackensackUMC Mountainside in Montclair, NJ. Eddie Mika, a carpenter in Plant Operations and a member of the North East New Jersey Beekeeper Association who has his own beehives at home, has also been tending to the bees.

Approximately 30,000 honeybees moved into two wooden beehives on a HackensackUMC rooftop over the summer have already produced dozens of pounds of honey. Most of the honey produced this year will ensure that the bees have enough food to get through the winter. Looking ahead, the majority of the honey that the bees don’t need will be used by the Nutrition Team at HackensackUMC as a food ingredient.

About Hackensack University Medical Center

HackensackUMC, a 775-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is a member of Hackensack Meridian Health, one of the largest networks in the state comprised of 28,000 team members and more than 6,000 physicians. HackensackUMC was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey in U.S. News & World Report’s 2016-17 Best Hospital rankings – maintaining its place atop the NJ rankings since the rating system was introduced. It was also named one of the top four New York Metro Area hospitals. HackensackUMC is one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more years in a row. The medical center is one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country according to Practice Greenhealth, and received 25 Gold Seals of Approval™ by The Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its fifth consecutive designation in 2014. HackensackUMC has created an entire campus of award-winning care, including: the John Theurer Cancer Center; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. HackensackUMC is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is Official Medical Services Provider to The Barclays PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events.

About The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® at HackensackUMC

The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® at Hackensack University Medical Center represents one of the first hospital-based programs whose specific mission is to identify, control and ultimately prevent toxic exposures in the environment that threaten our children’s health. HackensackUMC began its journey towards environmental health and sustainability more than a decade ago with the help of Deirdre Imus, beginning with the Greening The Cleaning® program in 2001, which promotes the use of safer cleaning products and in 2005 with the design and construction of one of the first green hospitals in the country, the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which was named one of America’s Top Green Hospitals by National Geographic’s The Green Guide. Through the efforts of the Environmental Health Center, HackensackUMC earned Practice Greenhealth’s highest honor as a 2016 Environmental Excellence Award winner, earning recognition for a third year in a row, as one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country.