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Press Release

Date: 03-18-08
Name: Anna Farneski
Phone: 973-972-3000
Email: farnesam@umdnj.edu

Middle States Commission on Higher Education Restores UMDNJ Accreditation

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NEWARK ´┐Ż The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, announced University President Dr. William F. Owen Jr. today.

The University's accreditation status had been on probation since June 2006. In a recent letter, the Commission noted that the restoration was appropriate ´┐Żbecause of progress to date and evidence of the institution's capacity to make appropriate improvements within a reasonable period of time."

"The decision by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education to reaffirm accreditation for our institution is a tremendous vote of confidence for the great work done each day by the faculty and staff of UMDNJ," said Dr. Owen. " We appreciate the Commission's support and guidance over this past period, and will continue to work with all of our accrediting bodies as we accelerate the success now underway in each of our mission areas."

The announcement was made at today's regular meeting of the University Board of Trustees.

"Today's news is gratifying for the members of the Board of Trustees, who have been working with great dedication on addressing critical governance and policy issues," said Board Chair Robert J. Del Tufo. "The progress of our reforms has brought us to this point, but our work continues. We will maintain our reforms, and also work to address key academic, financial and other matters to ensure this University remains a source of pride for the people of New Jersey and a resource to the state and the nation."

The restoration of accreditation follows the recent termination of a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office. Federal Monitor Herbert J. Stern recommended the return of full responsibility for governance of the institution to the UMDNJ Board of Trustees after implementation of a number of systemic reforms by the Board and administration.

The reforms have included:

Expansion of the Board of Trustees from 6 to 18, including the appointment by the Governor, Speaker of the General Assembly, and the Senate President of a complement of leaders from the fields of education, medicine, business, law and finance who actively oversee a series of new Board committees.

Creation of Board committees to oversee critical functions such as Governance and Ethics, Audit, which are modeled largely after the corporate audit committee structure mandated for private corporations by the federal Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.

Creation of a new office of Ethics and Compliance with an expanded staff that is deployed at all University campuses and at University Hospital.

Execution of an eight-month presidential search that concluded with the hiring of the University's fourth president, Dr. William F. Owen Jr., who has a distinguished career in academic medicine, clinical healthcare, and scientific research.

The hiring of a new General Counsel.

Development and implementation of a series of new purchasing and procurement policies based on transparency and the use of competitive bidding, and the creation of a new Contract Management Department to ensure contracts are properly let and that the University receives all services and goods for which it has contracted.

And the adoption of a comprehensive "whistleblower" policy to protect those who report wrongdoing and encourage them to come forward with information.

The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,500 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health, on five campuses. Last year, there were more than two million patient visits to UMDNJ facilities and faculty at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a mental health and addiction services network.


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