RWJBarnabas Health and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Receive $2 Million Grant from Merck Foundation

West Orange, New Jersey, September 9, 2022 – RWJBarnabas Health, in partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, the state’s leading cancer center and the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, today announced that he is a beneficiary supported by the Alliance for Equity in Cancer Care (the Alliance), an initiative funded by the Merck Foundation (the Foundation) and designed to make cancer care more equitable in the States United in helping patients living in underserved communities gain timely access to high-quality, culturally appropriate care. RWJBarnabas Health and the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey received a $2 million grant over five years.

“As the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in the state, The Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, in conjunction with RWJBarnabas Health, is committed to providing exceptional cancer care to our diverse communities across the state. With this grant, we will be able to continue our work in New Jersey’s underserved and vulnerable populations, providing integrated, high-quality, multidisciplinary cancer care through evidence-based interventions,” said Steven Libutti, MD, FACS, Director, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Senior Vice President of Oncology Services, RWJBarnabas Health. “Our program will improve health equity in cancer by addressing the underlying social determinants of health, reduce barriers to care, reduce disparities and ensure access to the most comprehensive treatments near your house.

Nearly 40% of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Members of racial and ethnic minorities, those living in rural areas, low-income people and the uninsured are disproportionately affected by cancer, but often have limited access to cancer screening, care and treatment. cancer. In New Jersey, unequal health outcomes are often tied to race, ethnicity, geography, social and economic status, and other factors. Although a cancer diagnosis alone can be overwhelming for people in vulnerable communities, when coupled with mental health challenges such as lack of housing, transportation, access to medication, ‘a healthy environment and/or a healthy diet, a positive result becomes less likely.

As a collective, Alliance Program grantees will strive to improve the coordination of patient care, from diagnosis to survivorship; strengthen patient engagement in treatment decisions and overall patient-provider communication; build community partnerships that address barriers to care related to the social determinants of health; and provide essential psychosocial support services.

Through the Alliance, RWJBarnabas Health and the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey will streamline the coordination of cancer care by integrating with primary care and other subspecialty care; improve patient-centered communication and care engagement; and improving assessments, including those related to SDH, and expediting referrals to support services.

Patients will see an improvement in the speed of care; better coordination between service providers; ongoing support; increased use of telehealth for convenience; and greater visibility of care in their communities through Community Advisory Board engagement and increased community outreach and education.

“The gravity of the need for action to advance equity in cancer care cannot be overstated and will not be overlooked,” said Carmen Villar, CEO of Merck Foundation. “We must act urgently and work together to provide all people with cancer with access to high quality care and treatment. The creation of the Alliance is an important step in ensuring that the social determinants of health no longer influence an individual’s ability to receive lifesaving health care.

In addition to RWJBarnabas Health and the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Alliance program grantees include Boston Medical Center; Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University; Conquer Cancer®, the ASCO Foundation; Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; and the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center.

The Foundation also supports a national program office at the Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), in partnership with the VCU Center on Health Disparities, which will help Alliance Program grantees partner with community organizations and provide a technical assistance to support their programs. In addition, the national program office will evaluate the effectiveness of Alliance programs and identify and promote best practices that can improve the delivery of cancer care in the United States.

Alliance Program grantees will meet regularly with the National Program Office to discuss learnings, share ideas, and explore concrete actions to support the delivery of equitable cancer care within their local communities and beyond.

About RWJ Barnabas Health

RWJBarnabas Health is New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive academic health care system, with a service area spanning eight counties and five million people. 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 one of New Jersey’s largest private employers – with more than 38,000 employees and 9,000 physicians – and consistently 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

About the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey

As the only comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Rutgers Cancer Institute, in collaboration with RWJBarnabas Health, offers the most advanced cancer treatment options including bone marrow transplantation, proton therapy, CAR T-cell therapy and complex surgical procedures. Along with clinical trials and new therapies such as precision medicine and immunotherapy – many of which are not widely available – patients have access to these cutting-edge therapies at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey at University Hospital of Newark, as well as through RWJBarnabas Health Facilities.

About Merck Foundation

Merck Foundation is a private charitable foundation based in the United States. Established in 1957 by Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, the Foundation is fully funded by the company and is Merck’s primary source of funding for qualified nonprofit charities. Since its inception, the Foundation has donated nearly $1 billion to support important initiatives that address critical global health and societal needs that are aligned with Merck’s purpose: to save and improve lives around the world. . For more information visit

Add Comment