At the Eighth Annual John V. Kelly Memorial Foundation dinner, Dr. Bonita Stanton, Dean of Seton Hall’s new Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, received the honor as Humanitarian of the Year.
According to the foundation’s website, their mission statement is “to continue John’s legacy of aiding the less fortunate, promoting scholarship and assisting organizations with their charitable endeavors.”
Stanton shared that one of her friends, James Gonzalez, recommended her as a nominee. Gonzalez, a fellow resident from Nutley, runs the Broadway House in Newark. The two were introduced to each other when Stanton first moved to New Jersey. They have been long time business acquaintances and share a common experience with family and community work.
Stanton has devoted a majority of her life to treating and helping others. She said that she spent time providing community work, both in urban and rural communities, the projects, and has worked with migrants. She has also done international work in Cairo, Egypt and Dhaka, Bangladesh.
“My work has been focused on prevention and care for children and their families living in high risk settings. I lived in Bangladesh from 1983 to 1988 and worked in the urban slums of Dhaka, preventing and treating diarrhea.” Stanton wrote in an email. “When I moved back to the USA in 1988 to work at the University of Maryland, the HIV epidemic was beginning to involve adolescents in Baltimore. Elsewhere in the USA and across the globe. For the next 25 years I devoted my research focus to caring for families impacted by HIV in their communities in multiple countries.”
Dr. Mary Meehan, Seton Hall’s interim president, was thrilled about Stanton receiving this honor.
“Wherever [Stanton] has practiced and worked, she has made people healthier, happier and better prepared for the future,” Meehan wrote in an email. “Perhaps most importantly, Dean Stanton makes people feel that they are truly cared for…With her leading the way, I know that Seton Hall has a bright future as a medical institution of the first order.”
Nashaba Chowdhury, a senior nursing major, shared her thoughts about what this means for the new medical school and all health science majors.
“In nursing school you learn how, regardless of economic background or how much money you have, if someone is in your care, you do your absolute best to care for them,” Nashaba said. “I think that her following through with the foundation’s mission on helping the less fortunate is essential; it’s a fundamental pillar of how care should be.”
Hannah Sakha can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org