TBZ animal hospital renamed in honor of retiring RWJBH president/CEO

Photo Courtesy of Glen Frieson
Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr., far left, honors retiring RWJBarnabas Health President and CEO Barry Ostrowsky, center in white coat, by dedicating the animal hospital at Turtle Back Zoo as the Essex County Barry H. Ostrowsky Animal Wellness Center on May 23. With them at the dedication ceremony are members of Ostrowsky’s family.

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. dedicated the animal hospital at Turtle Back Zoo as the Essex County Barry H. Ostrowsky Animal Wellness Center on Monday, May 23. Opened in 2005, the building was renamed in honor of Barry Ostrowsky, retiring president and CEO of RWJBarnabas Health.

“Barry Ostrowsky has built RWJBarnabas Health into the premiere health care system in New Jersey and is recognized as one of the leading authorities on health care. Under his leadership, Cooperman Barnabas, Clara Maass and Newark Beth Israel medical centers have contributed to the economic development, public health and quality of life for our communities,” DiVincenzo said. “Barry also has been a great partner with Essex County. He helped promote Turtle Back Zoo on a statewide level by hosting RWJBarnabas’ Running with the Devils event at our South Mountain Recreation Complex.”

“I don’t really have the vocabulary to convey my feelings, especially with all the nice things that have been said. This really goes beyond anything I deserve. It’s a great honor that is overwhelming to me,” Ostrowsky said. “Turtle Back Zoo is a place where everyone is invited, where everyone can learn and enjoy when they are here. When you have a facility like this, you are contributing to the lives of people who visit.”

Friends and elected officials gave accolades to Mr. Ostrowsky during the renaming ceremony.

“There is something special about this zoo and having this facility named in your honor is well deserved,” said Marc E. Berson, chairperson of the RWJBarnabas Health board of directors and for whom the Berson Education Center at Turtle Back Zoo is named.

“Having your name on this building demonstrates the longtime partnership between Essex County and RWJBarnabas. This is a fitting recognition of your remarkable career,” RWJBarnabas Health President Mark Manigan said.

“It’s wonderful that we are naming this facility after Barry. It’s a great way to recognize everything he has done to help the health of Essex County,” Commissioner Patricia Sebold said.

“You have done a tremendous job and, under your leadership, the hospital and health system have grown by leaps and bounds. It’s fitting that your name is immortalized here where everyone can see it,” Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II said.

“You are a legend. There is nothing more appropriate than having your name here. It is well-deserved,” Sheriff Armando Fontoura said.

“Our primary role is to promote the conservation of animal species and their habitats and it’s gratifying to know how supportive you have been of our efforts,” Turtle Back Zoo Director Jillian Fazio said.

“It is comforting to know that we have the leading health system in the state located just down the road and that they are one of our largest supporters,” Zoological Society Executive Director Adam Kerins said.

A bronze plaque placed in front of the Barry H. Ostrowsky Animal Wellness Center begins with a quote by Shirley Chisholm: “You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” The plaque continues: “Barry Ostrowsky joined the leadership team of Saint Barnabas Medical Center three decades ago. As the hospital grew and evolved, so did Barry’s role, eventually becoming president and chief executive officer of RWJBarnabas Health, the largest and most comprehensive academic health care system in New Jersey. Barry understands that the mission of a health system means more than just delivering quality medical care to its patients. Under his leadership, RWJBarnabas expanded its role to promote the well-being of the community through partnerships with local governments, businesses, nonprofit organizations and neighborhoods, and transforming the system’s medical centers into catalysts that stabilize, enhance and help grow communities. He also has been a loyal friend of Essex County, keeping Essex as the home base of the hospital system and bringing RWJBarnabas Health’s Running with the Devils, a statewide health awareness event, to Essex County Turtle Back Zoo and the Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex. Naming our animal hospital in his honor is a fitting tribute to recognize his longtime commitment to Essex County.”

Ostrowsky joined the staff at Saint Barnabas Medical Center as executive vice president and general counsel in 1991 and became CEO in 2011. When Barnabas Health and Robert Wood Johnson Health System merged in 2016 to become RWJBarnabas Health, he was named as its president and CEO. Ostrowsky will retire on Dec. 31 of this year.