NUTLEY, NJ -  Dr. Bonita Stanton, founding dean of the Seton Hall-Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine in Nutley, was recently appointed to the Robert C. and Laura C. Garrett Endowed Chair for the School of Medicine Dean, a $2.65 million gift in honor of her lifetime achievements in medicine and education.

Dr. Stanton was recognized for her academic achievements, excellence in medical education and outstanding contributions to pediatric medicine, which include having consulted for the World Bank, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

“Laura and I are thrilled to create this endowment to recognize the highest standards required in a leader of our medical school,’’ said Robert C. Garrett, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. “Dr. Stanton has practiced with distinction as a physician and academic and will continue to bring the highest standards in medical education to the next generation of physicians.’’

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“Dr. Stanton’s commitment to the health of women and children, in the U.S. and in some of the most challenging corners of the globe, exemplifies the compassion and spirit in which this new school is created,’’ said Laura C. Garrett, founder of Realtime Nutrition.

The new medical school – the first private medical school to open in New Jersey in 50 years – is located at the former Hoffmann-LaRoche site in Nutley and Clifton and is scheduled to welcome its first class in September of 2018.

“I am so grateful to be the first guardian of the Robert C. and Laura C. Garrett Endowed Chair for the School of Medicine Dean and for all that it stands,’’ said Dr. Stanton. “Through my stewardship, I vow to cherish this great honor.’’

Before assuming this role, Dr. Stanton served in leadership roles for 14 years at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan, where she had been vice dean for research for the School of Medicine from 2011-2016, chair of the Department of Pediatrics and pediatrician in chief at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan from 2002-2011. She also served as president of University Pediatrics from 2002-2012.

“Bob and Laura truly understand the magnitude of endowing an academic chair and were the first donors to make a gift supporting the medical school on this level,’’ said Jon Fitzgerald, president and chief development officer at the Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation.

Dr. Stanton lived and worked with her family in Bangladesh from 1983 to 1988 —where she served as a health consultant to the World Bank and the International Center for Diarrheal Diseases Research, and as director of a community-based research and service program designed to help women and children in the slums of Dhaka. 

An author of more than 300 peer-reviewed articles, Dr. Stanton has served as an editor of the “Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics,” along with many other journals and books. Among many local, national and international advisory roles, she was a member of the Advisory Board of the National Institutes of Health’s Fogarty International Center and was president of the Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs.

Endowed chairs are among the highest honors conferred in academia and the $15 million in support of endowments at Hackensack University Medical Center reinforces its role as one of the top-ranked academic medical centers in the country.