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Atlantic Health System and its medical centers again awarded for environmental sustainability

NEW JERSEY – Atlantic Health System was one of only 10 health systems in the United States to recently receive Practice Greenhealth’s prestigious System for Change award, recognizing the health care organization’s accomplishments in environmental sustainability.

Each of Atlantic Health System’s medical centers also received Practice Greenhealth’s Environmental Excellence award.

Practice Greenhealth is the nation’s leading organization dedicated to environmental sustainability in health care, highlighting success in making health care operations greener, even amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Atlantic Health System has been recognized by Practice Greenhealth consistently for several years, for a myriad of innovative solutions designed to lower the New Jersey-based health care organization’s impact on the environment.

“We have taken an organization-wide approach that the impact health care takes on the environment cannot be an afterthought. Sustainability is central to how we deliver care, not only because it helps to make our communities healthier, but also improves how we operate,” said Carolyn Brown-Dancy, director of environmental health and safety-sustainability for Atlantic Health System.

One standout example of how the organization has lowered its environmental footprint occurred in 2021, when Atlantic Health System began the integration of a “co-gen” power plant at Morristown Medical Center.

As with the similar plant previously installed at its sister hospital, Overlook Medical Center, co-generation power operates by using natural gas to power a turbine that generates electricity for the hospital. The by-product of the turbine is heat, which is then converted to steam, which is used by the hospital’s boilers for heating and hot water throughout the facility. In the winter, when demand is lower, the plant can meet nearly all of the hospital’s electricity needs, spanning 1.4 million square feet across 30 acres. In the summer, when heating is not required, the boilers can continue creating hot water for sterilization needs. Working in tandem with the hospital’s emergency generators, the gas-fired plant also offers the added protection against potential electrical outages from public energy.

Other recent examples of Atlantic Health System’s accomplishments in sustainability in 2021 include:

  • The organization began work to install solar panels at each of its medical centers, as well as its Rockaway Pavilion, that will generate a portion of each facility’s electricity or power a solar thermal hot water heating system
  • Distributing more than 10,000 tree saplings to Atlantic Health System team members, and donating more than 1,500 tree saplings to Morris Township in order to replace trees that were downed and damaged in severe storms
  • In parallel with the state of New Jersey’s ban on single-use plastic bags, Atlantic Health distributed more than 26,000 reusable grocery bags to team members and in turn, collected more than 200,000 plastic bags for recycling

In addition to the System for Change and Excellence Awards, Atlantic Health System’s accolades from Practice Greenhealth also include:

The Greenhealth Emerald Award recognizes outstanding hospitals from within the Partner for Change applicants. This competitive award recognizes the top 20 percent of applicants and is focused on advanced sustainability programs and exemplary scores in a range of categories. This year Atlantic Health System’s Chilton Medical Center, Morristown Medical Center and Overlook Medical Center received this award.

The Greenhealth Partner for Change Award recognizes superior performance in environmental sustainability, covering a range of different sustainability programs and activities. Winners have also made substantive progress on mercury elimination. This year, Atlantic Health System’s Hackettstown Medical Center and Newton Medical Center received this award.

The Greening the OR recognition Award honors facilities that have made substantial progress in reducing the impact of the surgical environment. This award was achieved by Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center and Overlook Medical Center.

In addition, Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center Ambulatory Surgery Center achieved two Practice Greenhealth awards; the Making Medicine Mercury Free Award recognizes hospitals that have virtually eliminated mercury from their facilities and have made a commitment to continue to be “mercury free”; the Partner Recognition Award recognizes facilities that have a commitment to environmental improvements and have achieved progress in several areas of the organization.

“In a shifting health care landscape, a focus on sustainability can help build resilience while better protecting the health of patients and the community,” said Gary Cohen, Practice Greenhealth founder. Atlantic Health System demonstrates the kind of leadership, innovation, and performance that can drive the entire health sector toward more environmentally responsible practices.”

Practice Greenhealth is the leading membership and networking organization for sustainable health care, delivering environmental solutions to more than 1,400 U.S. hospitals and health systems. Learn more at practicegreenhealth.org.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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