In Brian Strom’s eyes, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences has an opportunity that occurs rarely in higher education: the chance to create “a perfectly shaped health care system” that serves an entire state.
“Is there a model for this? No, that’s what makes it so exciting. We can create it for New Jersey,” Strom told an audience of faculty and staff gathered in Newark to welcome Strom Dec. 2, his first official day as the inaugural chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS).Strom, a renowned epidemiologist, award-winning teacher and clinician and longtime academic leader at the University of Pennsylvania, also met with faculty and staff in a similar “town hall” setting in Piscataway later that day.
The new chancellor said RBHS is well positioned to become an academic powerhouse and a model for research and education in the biomedical and health sciences by building upon many of its outstanding programs to keep pace with changes in medicine, technology and teaching.
The long-term strategy for RBHS is being developed during the universitywide strategic planning process expected to be completed by May. He urged the RBHS community to contribute to the development of the strategic plan by providing feedback, and participating in upcoming surveys and work groups.
Strom said that while the future for RBHS has not yet been determined, he would like to create a limited number of new signature programs of excellence, perhaps as many as eight, with the potential to significantly enhance the university’s reputation and increase research grants.
Strom believes RBHS has the potential to become one of the best academic health centers in the country in terms of teaching, research and clinical care. But the future of how our health care is successfully delivered depends on a model of medical education that requires greater collaboration and innovation, an emphasis on keeping people healthy instead of treating only illness and moving health care services into the community.
”We need to develop a new system which brings to New Brunswick the strengths of the faculty and staff in Newark, and which brings to Newark areas of strengths that New Brunswick has,” Strom said.
Strom said RBHS was fortunate to have access to resources uniquely available to academic health centers. Resources to fund strategic initiatives could come from greater focus on clinical income, developing strong external partnerships, enhancing grant and research contract opportunities, tech transfer, and seeking contributions from alumni and grateful patients.
- Jeff Tolvin