Bloustein School, ACHE-NJ Inaugural Healthcare Symposium, April 28, 2022

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As we move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic the spotlight has shifted away from crisis response. Having challenged New Jersey’s health and medical systems’ capacity to prepare and respond, we must now focus on current and future needs and recommendations on how to best strengthen those health systems.

On Thursday, April 28 the Bloustein School’s Master of Health Administration Program, in partnership with the American College of Healthcare Executives, NJ Chapter (ACHENJ), hosted a symposium to suggest policy recommendations to help prevent future crises and to address—especially in behavioral health—the long-term impact of COVID on the population, including the intersection of suicide and substance abuse that has spiked during this timeframe.


Panel 1

The opening panel included medical and nursing officers from some of the state’s largest healthcare organizations discussing Heathcare Crisis Management. Co-moderated by Mark Sparta, FACHE, President & CHE, Hackensack University Medical Center & Executive Vice President, Population Health, Hackensack Meridian Health and Huzaifa Shakir, MD, MHA, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. Panelists included Reg Blaber, MD, Chief Clinical Officer, Virtua Health; John Bonamo, MD, Executive Vice President, Chief Quality Officer and CMO, RWJBarnabas Health; Dan Varga, MD, Chief Physician Executive, Hackensack Meridian Health; Carl Kirton, DNP, MBA, RN, ANP, Chief Nursing Officer, University Hospital;Betty Sheridan, RN, BSN, MA, NEA-BC, FACHE, Chief Administrative Officer, Inspira Health; and Lewis Rubinson, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Morristown Medical Center/Atlantic Health.


Panel 2

The second panel included a discussion of Behavioral Healthcare with behavioral health experts including Don Parker, President/CEO, Carrier Clinic, Hackensack Meridian Health; Russ Micoli, Vice President, Behavioral Health Services, Virtua Health; Tara Chalakani, PsyD, Deputy CEO, Preferred Behavioral Health Group; Aakash Shah, MD, MBA, MSc, White House Fellow and Physical, Hackensack Meridian Health; and Frank Ghinassi, President and CEO, Rutgers Health University Behavioral Health Care. The panel was moderated by Robert Kley, Vice President/COO, MHANJ and Alexandra Doll, MHA.


Panel 3

The afternoon concluded with a panel of CEO’s who discussed how to successfully lead change and how the healthcare community can look forward, post-COVID. Moderated by Cathy Bennett, JD, President and CEO, New Jersey Hospitals Association and Nisha Desai, MHA. Panelists included Amy Mansue, President, Inspira Health Network; Bill Arnold, President and Chief Executive Officer, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick; Mark Stauder, President of the Hospitals and Health Services Divisions, and Chief Operating Officer of Health System, Hackensack Meridian Health; Shereef Elnahal, MD, President and CEO, University Hospital.

Event Photos

Read Speaker Bios


Heath Administration at the Bloustein School
The Bloustein School offers a range of teaching and research programs and initiatives related to healthy communities, health in all policies, and the social and environmental determinants of health through the intersection of urban planning, public policy, and public health. A renewed interest in the improvement of health and well-being resulted in an unprecedented explosion in the Bloustein School’s undergraduate public health population in the early 2010’s. In late 2014, the school developed a plan for a major in Health Administration, focusing on the ethical, economic, and operational sides of the public health field while also recognizing the need to provide advanced training to professionals already in the field. The Bloustein School enrolled its first cohort of students in the Executive and Traditional Master of Health Administration (MHA) programs in 2017, with more than 100 students applying in the first year of existence. The two tracks prepare students for leadership and management positions in governmental, nonprofit, public and private organizations. The traditional MHA received accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) in the spring of 2020.

American College of Healthcare Executives of New Jersey
The American College of Healthcare Executives of New Jersey (ACHENJ) is a professional organization for those who direct management services and programs within health care facilities, networks and related organizations. With over 800 members, ACHENJ is recognized as a Healthcare Executive Group of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), and most recently was awarded the ACHE 2018 Chapter Merit Award. The ACHENJ supports activities to assist members in advancement in the ACHE. ACHENJ has been serving the educational, networking, employment and mentoring needs of NJ Healthcare Executives, Managers and students for over 25 years. ACHENJ offers its members, no matter what career stage they are in, a collegial environment for professional growth and life-long learning.