New Jersey must have a first class comprehensive university-based health sciences center:
- To enhance access to the best medical talent
- To increase access to the latest medical advances and technologies
- To improve access to clinical trials offering hope for intractable diseases
- To significantly increase flow of Federal and industry research dollars into the state
- To enable our residents to receive world-class medical care locally.
The top medical schools in the nation are part of major comprehensive universities
- To effectively compete for large, complex grants and contracts
- To secure the best faculty, who seek the stature, scope and stability of a comprehensive university
- To attract the best students, particularly those interested in pursuing academic research careers or cutting-edge interdisciplinary programs
- To facilitate development of new, interdisciplinary programs at the forefront of medical progress, such as those combining medicine with engineering, computer science, and management
- To achieve the critical mass necessary to generate new intellectual property, create new industry, foster economic growth and create jobs.
Rutgers has a history of close collaboration with the New Brunswick/Piscataway units of UMDNJ
- The Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) in New Brunswick was formerly the Rutgers Medical School, an integral component of Rutgers University.
- The basic science facilities of RWJMS are already located on property owned by Rutgers in Piscataway and the clinical departments are contiguous with the Rutgers-New Brunswick campuses.
- A number of faculty at Rutgers hold joint appointments at RWJMS, and many of the other faculty in the two institutions enjoy a highly collegial and cooperative relationship.
- When the two institutions have worked closely together, they have been highly productive. Rutgers-New Brunswick and RWJMS jointly run graduate training programs, share library and other resources, and jointly manage two major and highly successful research institutes, the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine (CABM) and the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI). A Rutgers scientist in CABM was recently awarded a $52.7MM Federal grant; and EOHSI scientists from both UMDNJ and Rutgers have won $42.4 million in grants to develop countermeasures to chemical threats from terrorism and other acts.
- The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, a prime example of an outstanding and highly successful resource for the state, centered in New Brunswick but providing services and outreach throughout the state, is comprised of faculty from RWJMS and from Rutgers-New Brunswick.
- The UMDNJ School of Public Health in Piscataway was jointly formed by UMDNJ and Rutgers, and shares faculty and educational programs with both universities.
The two universities are unable, independently to maximize their combined strengths
- Despite a high degree of collaboration and interaction, Rutgers and UMDNJ have separate administrations, headquartered in different cities, with very different perspectives and goals and often competing agendas.
- Collaborative activities between the institutions require protracted negotiations regarding faculty involvement, student support, disposition of intellectual property and other factors. This serves as a significant disincentive to developing major joint programs or grant proposals.
- The universities cannot individually claim the needed intellectual critical mass in key scientific or clinical areas in order to be recognized for excellence or awarded major grants and contracts. This would be corrected by operating under a single flag.
- Separately, the universities are unable to achieve many efficiencies and economies of scale in purchasing, maximal utilization of very costly scientific equipment and materials, oversight and regulatory functions such as grants and technology offices.
- Acting separately, the universities cannot provide a single portal of entry and engagement for industry. New Jersey constantly loses commercial investment in its universities because sponsors can deal much more effectively with universities elsewhere that can bring all the critical elements to the table (from the basic sciences and engineering through clinical trials and health care management) under a single umbrella.
New Jersey can now take a leadership role in the biomedical sciences
- The state is home to the world’s greatest concentration of pharmaceutical sciences and manufacturing, major components of the medical device industry, a nascent biotechnology enterprise and strengths in corollary areas such as telecommunications, materials sciences and transportation.
- Rutgers and UMDNJ have considerable strengths in the basic sciences, pharmacy, engineering, computational sciences, health planning and policy and certain clinical areas such as cancer, that could relate closely to the state’s core industries.
- With a unified structure, a coherent strategic plan and appropriate investment, the state can maximize its resources and become among the best in:
o stem cell research
o proteomics and structural biology
o pharmaceutics and drug development
o health care policy
o health care economics and effectiveness research
o human genetic disease research
o psychiatric and neurological disorder research
o neurodegenerative disease research
o brain health research
o aging research
o public health sciences
o medical informatics
o nursing sciences
o computational biology
o medical imaging
o medical materials, sensors and devices
o medical nanotechnology
o security of medical facilities and systems
- Clinically, the state could become a nationally recognized center for services in cancer, cardiology, metabolic disease, chronic diseases of aging, pediatrics and diseases of childhood, reducing the numbers of patients who travel elsewhere for their care at considerable cost and inconvenience.