The Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation Awarded $200,000 Grant from The Russell Berrie Foundation for Diabetes Prevention

Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center is pleased to announce that the Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation has been awarded a $200,000 grant from The Russell Berrie Foundation to design, refine and implement a community-focused diabetes prevention program in the City of Garfield.

HARP (the Health Awareness Regional Program) of Hackensack University Medical Center will implement the evidence-based Centers for Disease Control “Prevent T2” national diabetes prevention program, working in close collaboration with the City of Garfield Health Department and numerous community-based organizations working in Garfield, including the City of Garfield Housing Authority, Greater Bergen Community Action, Meals with a Mission, and faith-based organizations. Funding support and technical assistance are provided by The Russell Berrie Foundation and an expert evaluation team at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

“We are grateful to The Russell Berrie Foundation for making this important work possible,” said Joanne Wendolowski, MS, RN-BC, public health nurse supervisor at Hackensack University Medical Center who will spearhead this initiative. “We hope to advance this concept of developing a healthy community, primarily involving diabetes prevention, to serve as a community-based model.”

The program will benefit underserved older adults who live in Garfield and are at risk for type 2 diabetes, working within the Generations for Garfield age-friendly community initiative and embracing the cultural diversity in the city.

“This grant marks the beginning of a new, experimental effort by The Russell Berrie Foundation to invest not only in diabetes research and clinical care, which remains the focus of our support, but in innovative community-based diabetes prevention initiatives,” said Ruth Salzman, chief executive officer of The Russell Berrie Foundation. “Research has shown that effective diabetes prevention happens at the local level, by partnering with established community-based leaders and institutions to ensure that high-risk populations have access to affordable healthy food, physical activity opportunities and other proven measures.”

The grant, which was awarded as of July 1, will support a three-year initiative, beginning with pre-program planning in the first three months. The program will publicly launch with an event in Garfield.

“To make real change in a community requires long-term engagement,” said Ms. Wendolowski. “We look forward to getting started in order to make a positive and meaningful impact.”

About Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center
Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, a 781-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 now part of one of the largest networks in the state comprised of 33,000 team members and more than 6,500 physicians. Hackensack University Medical Center was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-18 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. Hackensack University Medical Center 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. Becker’s Hospital Review recognized Hackensack University Medical Center as one of the 100 Great Hospitals in America 2018. 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. Hackensack University Medical Center 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. Hackensack University Medical Center is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is Official Medical Services Provider to The Northern Trust PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events especially the Tackle Kids Cancer Campaign providing much needed research at the Children’s Cancer Institute housed at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. To learn more, visit