Mariam Merced of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick receives the Awa, Inaugural Healthcare Hero RISE Health

Merced was recognized at the RISE Social Determinants of Health Summit on March 21 in Nashville, Tennessee

West Orange, New Jersey, March 23, 2022 – Mariam Merced, Director of the Community Health Promotion Program at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) at RWJBarnabas Health in New Brunswick, NJ, received the inaugural RISE Health Care Hero Award from RISE Health. This program honors an individual who has made a significant impact on the lives of underserved populations through health care and/or social services, and through a superior example of the RISE mission to promote health equity among all patients. The recognition ceremony took place during the RISE Summit on Social Determinants of Health on March 21, 2022 in Nashville, TN.

Mariam MercedJoining RWJUH in 1991, Ms. Merced began her social impact work serving uninsured patients and those with limited English proficiency by facilitating connections to needed services. Throughout her tenure, she has been a strong advocate for supporting patients and surrounding communities through programs, such as holiday celebrations for low-income children, violence prevention and intervention. , drug and alcohol cessation, back-to-school donations, summer employment programs for youth. , and community health screenings. Currently responsible for coordinating accessible, high-quality preventive health care services and educational programs that advance long-term holistic health, Ms. Merced regularly partners with places of worship, health facilities and organizations. communities to design and implement culturally appropriate health initiatives. that serve the county’s diverse population.

RISE Health Mariam Merced’s recognition with the inaugural RISE Health Care Hero Award is a well-deserved testament to her commitment to health equity and expanding access to healthcare within Robert University Hospital Wood Johnson, RWJBarnabas Health System and the greater New Jersey community,” Barry said. H. Ostrowsky, President and CEO of RWJBarnabas Health. “His tireless dedication and passion have been essential to advancing health outcomes in Middlesex County, both throughout the pandemic and long before.”

During the pandemic, Merced has played a crucial role in orchestrating RWJUH’s COVID-19 response – spearheading programs, initiatives and communications designed to support residents in poor health, social and economic conditions due to the pandemic and the resulting disparities. When data showed New Brunswick had one of the lowest vaccination rates in New Jersey, largely due to LatinX hesitation, Merced and her team surveyed several neighborhoods to announce information about vaccination clinics and answer questions. As a result of these efforts, vaccination rates increased from 41% to 59% between April and June 2021.

More information on the RISE Health Care Hero Award and an abstract of Ms. Merced’s award-winning submission is available here.


RWJBarnabas Health is New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive academic health care system, with a service area spanning nine counties with five million residents. The system includes twelve acute care hospitals – Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, Community Medical Center in Toms River, Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, Jersey City Medical Center in Jersey City, Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset in Somerville, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton in Hamilton, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rahway in Rahway and Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth, three acute care children’s hospitals, a specialist children’s hospital with a network of outpatient pediatric rehabilitation centers, a 100-bed stand-alone behavioral health center, two trauma centers, a satellite emergency department, ambulatory care centers, geriatric centers, the largest center for state health network behavioral rehabilitation, comprehensive home care and palliative care programs, fitness and wellness centers, retail pharmacy services, affiliated medical groups, multi-site imaging centers and two health care organizations. responsible care.

RWJBarnabas Health is New Jersey’s largest private employer – with more than 37,000 employees and 9,000 physicians – and regularly wins national awards for outstanding quality and safety. RWJBarnabas Health has launched an affiliation with Rutgers University to create New Jersey’s largest academic healthcare system. The collaboration aligns RWJBarnabas Health with Rutgers’ education, research and clinical activities, including those of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey – the state’s only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center – and behavioral healthcare from Rutgers University. For more information, visit


Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) in New Brunswick, an RWJBarnabas Health Facility, is a 614-bed academic medical center that serves as the main teaching hospital for Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the hospital cancer flagship of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Its centers of excellence include cardiovascular care, from minimally invasive heart surgery to transplantation, cancer care, stroke care, neurosciences, orthopedics, bariatric surgery and women’s care and children, including Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (www.bmsch .org). A Level 1 trauma center and the first designated pediatric trauma center in the state, RWJUH’s New Brunswick campus serves as a national resource in its innovative approaches to emergency preparedness. For more information visit us online at

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