Newswise — Nutley, N.J. (January 9, 2020) – Ofelia Martinez, the director of clinical skills at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, was awarded a prestigious two-year fellowship by the National Board of Medical Examiners.

Martinez, M.D., M.P.H., was one of only eight recipients of the inaugural Strategic Educators Enhancement Fund (SEEF) Medical Education Research Fellowship, selected from a nationwide pool of 52 applicants.

“This is an honor not only for me, but for the medical school – and everything we are achieving here,” said Dr. Martinez.

Dr. Martinez, one of the founding members of the school, oversees the longitudinal clinical skills curriculum, one of the cornerstones of the institution’s educational philosophy.  Her responsibility is the development, implementation, and assessment of the students’ clinical skills – which start for students when they don a white coat on their first day of their first year.

Key to her job, Dr. Martinez says, are “the principles of humanistic doctoring” – touted as a core tenet by the leadership of the school. 

“This is a wonderful honor for Dr. Martinez and for the School of Medicine and Hackensack Meridian Health,” said Bonita Stanton, M.D., the founding dean of the school, and a pediatrician. “There were over 50 applications and only eight persons were accepted. I am thrilled that she has been invited to serve –and not at all surprised as she is an excellent educator and doctor.”

Dr. Martinez was trained as an internist and pediatrician at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. 

Prior to joining the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, she directed the New York Medical College Foundations of Clinical Medicine Program for First and Second Year Medical Students for five years and has served as the medical director for the Clinical Skills Training Center during the inaugural three years. She was a Global Health Fellow during residency, which she says trained her to care for patients in resource limited settings which further prepared her for diverse health care settings. Her passion for the underserved led students at New York Medical College to recruit her as faculty advisor for the recently established NYMC Center for Human Rights and the Community Outreach & Advocacy Coalition. 

The first chance for this inaugural SEEF Medical Education Research Fellowship research cohort to meet in-person will be at the NBME Invitational Conference for Educators (NICE) in Indianapolis, in June.

The goal is to collaborate and share the best practices and ideas, resulting in the best doctors of the future, said Dr. Martinez.

“This fellowship opportunity will let me apply my passion for valuing diversity in our patients, communities and learners to advance medical education here in New Jersey – and beyond,” said Dr. Martinez.



The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, the first private medical school in New Jersey in more than 50 years, welcomed its first class of students in 2018 to its On3 campus in Nutley and Clifton. The partnership between Hackensack Meridian Health and Seton Hall University was officially announced in 2015. In 2018, the two partners restructured the agreement so that Hackensack Meridian Health will assume complete financial responsibility for the School of Medicine beginning on July 1, 2018. Eventually, the school will be administered solely by Hackensack Meridian Health after a defined transition process. Until the transition is complete, Seton Hall will retain the academic responsibilities for operating the school, will be in charge of developing its innovative interdisciplinary curriculum, will facilitate financial aid, and will issue diplomas to medical students upon graduation.



Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care.

Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 17 hospitals from Bergen to Ocean counties, which includes three academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, JFK Medical Center in Edison; two children's hospitals - Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital in Neptune; nine community hospitals – Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, and Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin; a behavioral health hospital – Carrier Clinic in Belle Mead; and two rehabilitation hospitals - JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison and Shore Rehabilitation Institute in Brick.

Additionally, the network has more than 500 patient care locations throughout the state which include ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, urgent care centers and physician practice locations. Hackensack Meridian Health has more than 34,100 team members, and 6,500 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

The network's notable distinctions include having four hospitals among the top 10 in New Jersey by U.S. News and World Report. Other honors include consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and being named to Becker's Healthcare's "150 Top Places to Work in Healthcare/2019" list.

The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, the first private medical school in New Jersey in more than 50 years, welcomed its first class of students in 2018 to its On3 campus in Nutley and Clifton. Additionally, the network partnered with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to find more cures for cancer faster while ensuring that patients have access to the highest quality, most individualized cancer care when and where they need it.

Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.

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One of the country's leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall University has been developing students in mind, heart and spirit since 1856. Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offering more than 90 rigorous academic programs, Seton Hall's academic excellence has been singled out for distinction by The Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report and Bloomberg Business.

Seton Hall, which embraces students of all religions, prepares its graduates to be exemplary servant leaders and global citizens. In recent years, the University has achieved extraordinary success. Since 2009, the University has seen record-breaking undergraduate enrollment growth in addition to an impressive 95-point increase in the average SAT scores of incoming freshmen. In the past decade, Seton Hall students and alumni have been awarded nearly 20 Fulbright Scholarships as well as other prestigious academic honors including a Rhodes Scholar. In the past five years, the University has invested more than $134 million in new campus buildings and renovations. And in 2015, Seton Hall launched a new School of Medicine as well as a new College of Communication and the Arts.

A founding member of the new Big East Conference, the Seton Hall Pirates field 14 NCAA Division I varsity sports teams. The University's beautiful main campus is located in suburban South Orange, New Jersey, and is only 14 miles from New York City - offering its students a wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities. The University's nationally recognized School of Law is prominently located in downtown Newark. For more information, visit