The Bloustein School is saddened to share the passing of Steven K. Jones, an Executive in Residence in the school’s Master of Health Administration program as well as a member of the school’s Advisory Board, on Monday, December 6, 2021, at his home in Kendall Park.
Steve was the former President and CEO of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Health System.
“I had the pleasure of attending the event in Princeton in January 2019 when Steve was awarded the Lifetime Professional Achievement Award from the New Jersey Chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives,” said Piyushimita (Vonu) Thakuriah, PhD, Distinguished Professor and Dean of the Bloustein School. “Through Steve, I was introduced to the New Jersey healthcare community but most of all, it was a privilege to see how well-regarded Steve was in that community.”
Steve joined the Bloustein School at the time of the school’s founding in 1992. Through 2013, he taught courses in Financial Aspects of Urban Health and Introduction to Health Administration as an Adjunct Faculty/Part-Time Lecturer in the undergraduate Public Health program. His interest in the school helped pave the way for the introduction of the Health Administration programs.
The undergraduate major in Health Administration was created in 2015. In January 2017, the Bloustein School enrolled its first cohort of graduate students in the Executive Master of Health Administration program and in the fall of 2017, the traditional Master of Health Administration program began enrolling students. Steve was involved in all three programs, teaching executive leadership, management, and finance in both the graduate and undergraduate programs, having been named Senior Policy Fellow at the school and later an Executive in Residence for his dedication to the health administration programs.
Steve’s service to the Bloustein School has been substantial on multiple fronts. As an inaugural member of the school’s Advisory Board, he assisted in locating and resourcing opportunities to promote and strengthen its academic and research programs, and its partnerships with communities and organizations in New Jersey and beyond.
“Steve’s work on the Advisory Board has been exemplary, especially as we established upstream determinants of health as a cross-cutting school-wide theme,” said Dean Thakuriah. “In addition to helping establish our MHA program, he played a significant role in the program’s accreditation by CAHME, and served on the inaugural Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Task Force. I, and the entire school, acknowledge his contributions and are grateful for his work.”
“Steve was deeply committed to our health administration programs here at the Bloustein School,” said Raphael J. Caprio, Ph.D., University Professor and Director of Master of Health Administration programs. “He repeatedly indicated that after a lifetime of leadership in healthcare, teaching here was what he really wanted to do in his “second” career. He will be mightily missed by his friends and colleagues among the faculty and staff.”
Vincent D. Joseph, FACHE, Professor of Practice and Senior Policy Fellow at the Bloustein School, said that Steve’s passion in life was Rutgers. His dedication began with Rutgers Athletics, leading negotiations to confirm Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital as the principal healthcare provider for the university’s athletics program prior to the RWJBarnabas Health merger. That dedication to Rutgers later blossomed to the health administration programs at the Bloustein School.
“Steve was a quiet leader that did great things for healthcare in New Jersey,” said Mr. Joseph. “In the last several years as CEO of the RWJ system, he became a champion and expert in Diversity and Inclusion, speaking on the topic to many hospital groups across the country on behalf of the American Hospital Association.”
“He had often told me of the 20-plus years that he was a part-time lecturer for the Bloustein School. When he was about to step down as CEO of RWJ, we had lunch to talk about him taking a larger role in the MHA program. And he said, ‘teaching is what I want to do with my remaining time!’,” Mr. Joseph continued. “And our students loved him.”
“Stephen Jones was not only a devoted teacher and mentor to our students for the past 20+ years, but a role model who exemplified the best in healthcare leadership. His commitment to inclusion and diversity, his focus on quality care for all and his belief that we can all always do more to make the world a better place has left an indelible mark on all of us at the Bloustein School,” said Ann Marie Hill, MBA, Associate Professor of Practice and Undergraduate Internship Coordinator. “The lessons he taught our students – indeed, each of us – will live on for many years as we will strive to carry on his legacy.”
Jacob Persily ’16 (Health Administration), MHA ’19, Operations Analyst, Supply Chain and an acute care administrator at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, was one of the first students to enroll in the school’s Health Administration major and was in the first class of MHA graduates. He began working full-time at RWJ just as Steve was transitioning to his role as the Chief Academic Officer of RWJBarnabas Health.
“Stephen Jones was not just a professor, he served as a mentor to countless students over the many years he was a part of the Bloustein School. He measured success not by his own success, but by his students’ success – he was always the first to comment on a LinkedIn post highlighting a former student’s promotion or new job,” Jacob said. “Professor Jones ensured that the curriculum stayed up-to-date with current happenings in the New Jersey healthcare industry, often changing his lecture topics on the fly to bring his perspective as a hospital President on that day’s news in the business.”
“Even after his departure from day-to-day operations at RWJUH, his legacy was felt here with his positive attitude and attention to the front line staff regularly coming up in conversation. As you may imagine, working in a hospital during a global pandemic over the past two years has not been easy, but it has been nice to have staff stopping by to remember Steve and his legacy. He will be missed by his thousands of students and his tens of thousands of other friends.”
Visitation will be Thursday, December 9 from 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Selover Funeral Home, 555 Georges Road, North Brunswick. Funeral services will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers,The State University of New Jersey or Rutgers Athletics program.
Faculty, staff, students, or alumni of the Bloustein School or Rutgers University who would like to share a brief memory/comment/photos of Steve, please email email@example.com with “Steve Jones tribute” in the subject line and indicate that they may be shared on our website and/or social media.