Gifts in Action: The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey

University Hospital Trauma Education & Support

The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey (HFNJ) is partnering with University Hospital Foundation (UHF) to help save more lives by granting nearly $200,000 to invest in comprehensive training, education, and support at University Hospital’s (UH) Trauma Center.

In trauma medicine, every minute matters. Experts have coined the term “the golden hour” after a life-threatening injury occurs – meaning if the bleeding is not controlled within one hour of the incident, survival rates drop significantly. Given the time it takes to call 911, for first responders to arrive and transport the patient, it is crucial that trauma teams (comprised of EMS, nurses, surgeons, anesthesiologists and so many others) work as collaboratively and efficiently as possible.

“The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey has long recognized the importance of providing quality trauma support—quickly and professionally. We are proud to partner with University Hospital to ensure that the residents of Newark and nearby communities receive emergency care for life threatening injuries. This is not only saving patients, but also reducing the secondary impact such trauma has on medical professionals” said Michael Schmidt Executive Director and CEO of The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey.

The Eric Munoz Trauma Center at University Hospital serves over 3,500 patients each year. It is the most academically active Trauma Center in New Jersey, treating the highest volume in the state.  Our Level 1 designation is achieved through a rigorous accreditation process by the American College of Surgeons and signifies our capability of providing total care for every aspect of injury – from prevention through rehabilitation, covering all clinical services 24 hours a day.

HFNJ’s funding is addressing a gap in professional development and education to ensure all trauma patients receive care to improve outcomes and increase survival rates. This investment in training and education has already had real results. For example, over the past few months our trauma team treated an unusually high volume of pregnant women arriving with life-threatening injuries – which compromises the viability of their unborn babies. The speed and expertise with which our Trauma staff responded to those patients was a direct result of practicing simulations with training materials provided by HFNJ. To further improve response times and increase health outcomes in the future, our neonatologists and obstetricians will join future simulations.  “We experience a lot of terrible situations every day, and we have to make time to learn from them so we can save more lives” says Katy Morello, University Hospital’s Trauma Program Manager.

Research tells us that these extreme cases have a negative impact on trauma center staff who often experience PTSD, depression, anxiety, and burnout.  Because it is perceived to be considered “part of the job,” trauma staff often suffer in silence. To support trauma staff emotionally and spiritually, HFNJ also provided funding for our healthcare chaplaincy, a proven intervention that mitigates the physical and emotional distress for trauma patients, their loved ones and trauma staff.

Jess Backofen, Executive Director at University Hospital Foundation, says that partners like this have a long-lasting impact on our community. “We are grateful to the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey for their continued support. They’ve allowed University Hospital to create sustainable, life-saving initiatives that improve the health of our entire community.”