University Hospital



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Mother of Zoe Jackson, Deceased Child Who Donated Organs to Three Children, Honored at Ceremony


NEWARK – Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded University Hospital for its groundbreaking work to raise organ and tissue donation awareness.  In a ceremony this morning, Joe Roth, President and CEO of NJ Sharing Network presented University Hospital CEO John N. Kastanis, MBA, FACHE, with the award, commending the hospital for its organ and tissue donation efforts – particularly within the African-American community, the largest group of minorities in need of an organ transplant.

University Hospital, a principal teaching hospital of Rutgers University, conducted awareness and registry campaigns to educate staff, patients, visitors and community members about the critical need for organ and tissue donors and, by doing so, increased the number of potential donors. The hospital earned points for each activity implemented between May 2015 and April 2016 and was awarded platinum recognition through the HHS Workplace Partnership for Life Hospital Campaign.

At the ceremony, Patti Jackson’s work to increase organ donation awareness was noted.  Jackson’s 13-month old daughter Zoe died in 2011, and the family chose to donate her heart, liver, and kidneys to children in need.  Thanks to the donation at University Hospital, three children have been able to live healthy lives.  The Jackson family will next be honored at the Rose Bowl Parade on January 2 in Pasadena, CA, where the donated rose will ride on the Donate Life float along with a floragraph of Zoe.  On behalf of the entire University Hospital community, Kastanis presented Jackson with a rose that she will carry with her during the parade.

“At University Hospital we are excited to lead the fight every day to increase the number of lives saved through organ and tissue donation,” said University Hospital CEO John Kastanis.  “University Hospital is proud to stand with the Jackson family in this effort, who have set such a remarkable example for families all across the country, proving the impact that one donation can have on the lives of several families in need.”

University Hospital worked with NJ Sharing Network -- the organization in New Jersey responsible for saving lives through organ and tissue donation – on the campaign. By working with its hospital partners, the organization was able to make 531 transplants possible in 2015, a record-breaking year. More than 40 hospitals in the state received recognition for their commitment to raising awareness of organ and tissue donation.

“Our hospital partners are vital to our life-saving mission,” said Joe Roth, president and CEO of NJ Sharing Network. “With nearly 5,000 people in New Jersey in need of a transplant and 122,000 across the country, the work that our hospital partners do to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation ultimately leads to more patients receiving those transplants.”


To learn more about organ and tissue donation, get involved and register as an organ and tissue donor, visit



University Hospital is one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, and is the Level 1 Trauma Center for Northern New Jersey. Located at University Heights in Newark, New Jersey, University Hospital is a principal teaching hospital of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and a regional resource for advanced services across many medical specialties.  In September, the Hospital announced a partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey to expand cancer services across Essex County.  The partnership will allow New Jersey residents to access certain types of cancer treatment in Newark that was previously only available for patients in New Brunswick. The Hospital also recently announced a new policy change that prohibits smoking across the entire medical campus.  For more information about University Hospital, please visit