September 20, 2011
Members of the Rutgers Community:
Governor Chris Christie today released and embraced the report of the UMDNJ Advisory Committee. As I had hoped, the committee recommended that the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, as well as the School of Public Health and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, be merged into Rutgers.
The advisory committee report also recommended that changes be enacted to assure the stability of University Hospital in Newark; that further study be conducted to assure that the Newark-based parts of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey can continue to meet their important mission and responsibilities; and that the New Jersey Institute of Technology should continue to operate with its current status.
None of the recommendations in today’s report call for a realignment or reorganization of Rutgers–Newark or Rutgers–Camden.
The advisory committee report echoes the findings of former Governor Tom Kean and the New Jersey Higher Education Task Force, which stated that reuniting the medical school in Piscataway with Rutgers is in the best interests of the state and the university. Such a merger will substantially improve medical education in New Jersey and will have enormous academic and economic benefits for Rutgers and for the state.
Rutgers has a long history with and deep connections to the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Until 1970, the medical school was a part of Rutgers. Rutgers already owns the land and most of the facilities in Piscataway that are in use by the medical school. Equally important, our institutions have significant ongoing collaborations, joint grants, and shared faculty and programs.
Reuniting the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School with Rutgers has long been a goal for the university, and I am pleased that the governor has endorsed the advisory committee’s recommendation. As is made clear in the report, effectuating the merger will be a complicated endeavor and will require significant study and due diligence.
This afternoon the chairs of Rutgers’ Board of Governors and Board of Trustees joined me in issuing a press release that voices our support for the merger and recognizes that the boards will have important roles to play in this process. That release, and the advisory committee report, may be found at higheredtaskforce.rutgers.edu and I encourage you to read them.
Richard L. McCormick
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey