In an effort to strengthen the ability of University Hospital (UH) to save more lives of the critically injured, the hospital, in collaboration with the University Hospital Foundation, recently completed the disbursement of a nearly $200,000 grant from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey (HFNJ). The grant was directly invested in comprehensive training, education, and support for the at The Eric Muñoz Trauma Center at UH. The hospital, the State of New Jersey’s only publicly funded acute care hospital and the principal teaching facility for Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, receives more than 3,500 visits to its trauma center each year.

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“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 their life-threatening injuries. This is not only saving the lives of trauma patients, but also reducing the secondary impact that trauma has on medical professionals and support staff,” said Michael Schmidt, executive director and CEO of The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey.

The Eric Munoz Trauma Center at UH is the most academically active trauma center in New Jersey, treating the highest volume of emergency trauma cases in the state. The hospital’s Level 1 designation, achieved through a rigorous accreditation process by the American College of Surgeons, signifies the hospital’s capability of providing total care for every aspect of injury – from prevention through rehabilitation, and covering all clinical services 24 hours a day.

Jess Backofen, executive director at the University Hospital Foundation said that partners, like HFNJ, 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,” she said.

Trauma center staff are only human, and research demonstrates that extreme trauma care cases have a negative impact on trauma center staff, manifesting in issues like PTSD, depression, anxiety, and burnout. Because it is perceived to be “part of the job,” trauma staff often suffer in silence. To support trauma staff emotionally and spiritually, HFNJ has also provided important funding for UH’s healthcare chaplaincy program, a proven intervention that mitigates the physical and emotional distress for trauma patients, their loved ones and the staff providing direct patient care in extreme emergencies.