Medical Education Committee Report's Enormous Implications for Rutgers

January 25, 2012

Members of the Rutgers Community:

Today Governor Christie released and endorsed the final report of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Advisory Committee, chaired by Dr. Sol Barer. You can view the document by visiting Today’s report expands upon the committee’s interim report, which made the far-sighted recommendation to integrate the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and the School of Public Health within Rutgers University.

As I have stated before, this proposed realignment in New Brunswick and Piscataway presents an opportunity for Rutgers and New Jersey to seize greatness and raise the state’s flagship university to the very top tier of research institutions. It offers enormous potential to enhance education in the health sciences and other fields, increase federal funding, create new biomedical companies and jobs, improve access to the latest treatments for state residents, and reestablish New Jersey as a global leader in pharmaceuticals and biomedical science.

Today’s report proposes a revamped health sciences university based in Newark, to be called the New Jersey Health Sciences University. The report also recommends a formalized research collaboration among Rutgers and the other public research universities in Newark, which I applaud. Under this proposal, our Newark Campus will expand its opportunities to conduct joint research initiatives while remaining a part of Rutgers.

The report also, for the first time, proposes creating an expanded research university in southern New Jersey that would integrate the Rutgers–Camden Campus into Rowan University.

Rutgers–Camden is a special place whose faculty and students work together closely within an intimate campus environment. Rutgers–Camden is also an immensely valuable part of a statewide public research university where faculty consistently advance Rutgers’ research mission, connect the university throughout southern New Jersey, and extend our global reputation as a center for innovation and scholarship. Rutgers serves as a vital magnet for the City of Camden and allows southern New Jersey families to obtain Rutgers degrees without relocating or disrupting their lives and careers. The university has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the Camden campus—including more than $100 million over the past five years for new academic and student facilities. Rutgers has made a significant commitment to South Jersey, which is part of our pledge to serve the entire state and is intrinsic to our role as The State University of New Jersey.

I believe a Rutgers with a medical school in New Brunswick and a presence in every region of the state would serve New Jersey exceptionally well. Needless to say, the proposed restructuring involving Rutgers–Camden will require a thorough discussion and an important decision.

Recommendations of this magnitude by law require the consent of our two governing boards—the Board of Governors and the Board of Trustees—which have ultimate responsibility for ensuring the university’s future progress. I look forward to discussing these significant recommendations with board members and others within the Rutgers community before formulating my recommendation on how to proceed. Our final decision must be driven by what is best for the entire university and the state of New Jersey.

Richard L. McCormick
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey