Chancellor’s Update Fall 2016

November 4, 2016

As we move in to the final days of the Rutgers University 250th Anniversary year, I am pleased to provide you with an update on our many notable achievements across Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. Thanks to the efforts of our faculty and staff, our successes are growing and our progress in building a premier academic health center continues apace.

Clinical

Rutgers Health Council

The Rutgers Health Council, the newly created entity that connects and represents all of the clinical divisions and units across Rutgers as a whole, has recently convened and mapped out its initial set of initiatives. Per its charter, the Council is now actively working on strategic and policy matters to improve our health care delivery and has adopted four “pillars” where they will focus their initial efforts. These pillars include: enterprise risk management, policy standardization, quality and safety, and managed care. These areas are already being populated with content champions and significant input from clinical faculty and staff from our diverse and interprofessional schools and units.

Rutgers Health Group

Rutgers Health Group (RHG) became operational on October 14th with its inaugural board meeting. RHG, the interprofessional, multidisciplinary, faculty group practice of Rutgers, is dedicated to value and excellence, inspired by innovation and discovery, and structured to keeping populations healthy and preventing disease. Within six months, we will be appointing 14 additional trustees through a formal nomination and appointment process. These appointed members will consist of clinical department chairs and faculty members from the schools, centers, and institutes of RBHS. Now formally launched, RHG presents many exciting opportunities to coordinate and grow our clinical enterprise and reach additional patients across New Jersey, while consistently introducing improved care quality and patient experience

Athletic Performance Center

On November 1, we broke ground on the new RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center on the Busch Campus in Piscataway. The Athletic Performance Center will be a 295,000 square foot, four-story practice, training, and sports medicine facility adjacent to the Rutgers Athletics Center. This facility will be a great benefit to our scholar athletes, their families, and the broader community for the Big 10 caliber of training, performance improvement, injury prevention, rehabilitation, and health care that will be available. As an institution, RBHS has significant expertise in orthopedic surgery, physical medicine and rehabilitation, physical therapy, nutrition, and behavioral health care. For RBHS, with our diverse health professions students, interns, residents, faculty clinicians, and researchers it will provide an ideal site to train the next generation of sports medicine professionals and for advancing scholarship, techniques, and novel methods for treatment and prevention of sports-related injuries. This $18 million investment is an early indication of the potential for our partnership with one of the nation’s largest health systems. The details of the programs to be housed within the new Center will be planned and developed over the next few years.

Rutgers Health University Dental Associates

A new faculty practice location for the Rutgers Health - University Dental Associates opened in New Brunswick in October. The practice, located at 135 Somerset Street, blocks from the Old Queens Campus, is open to new patients. Rutgers faculty dentists and specialists will provide a full range of services from family dentistry to complex, specialty care at this new site. For patients in Newark, Rutgers Health University Dental Associates has offices at 90 Bergen Street. More information is available at http://rutgersdentists.org/.

Research

Research Awards

Thanks to the tremendous efforts of RBHS faculty, we are again able to report an increase in extramural research awards year over year. In Fiscal Year 2016, extramural research awards totaled $292.9 million, which represents an 8.1% increase over the prior year. RBHS contributed $292,900,908 of the Universitywide total FY 2016 award dollars amount of $637,891,675. This achievement is even more noteworthy as federal funding for research has remained flat. In addition, RBHS proposals submitted in FY 2016 totaled $541.8 million, representing a 37.9% increase over the prior year. Congratulations to our investigators for their continued innovation and success in this challenging environment!

Clinical & Translational Research

RBHS has taken an important step forward in developing our capacity to conduct clinical and translational research and compete for a highly coveted NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award. Dr. Reynold Panettieri has formally established a new Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine and Science (RITMS) within RBHS. Delivering the right treatment to the right person at the right time defines the Institute’s primary goal, a goal that is shared by patients, clinicians, investigators, industry, and government. The RITMS will serve as the academic home for clinical and translational research, infrastructure and training for RBHS, Rutgers University, and its partner institutions across New Jersey. As you know given our rich diversity, New Jersey provides an ideal venue for research that tailors treatments and lifestyle approaches to the differences among individuals and communities. By exploring complementary and cutting edge questions, RITMS will facilitate the translation of science into improvements that affect the health of individuals and communities in New Jersey and beyond. All faculty at Rutgers whose interests are consistent with RITMS goals and themes will be invited to join the Institute as members. A membership application will be made available on its website in the very near future.

Rutgers University Biostatistics and Epidemiology Services Center (RUBIES)

A new resource to facilitate biomedical research became available for RBHS investigators earlier this fall with the opening of the Rutgers University Biostatistics and Epidemiology Services Center (RUBIES). The center provides statistics, programming and data analysis consulting to Rutgers investigators on a fee-for-services basis, although initial requests for service are without charge. For additional information please or to request a consult, please visit: rubies.rutgers.edu.

Recruiting

Institute for Health

I am pleased to announce that Deborah Carr, PhD has accepted the role of Interim Director at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research (IFH). Dr. Carr is a Professor of Sociology where her research focus is on macro-social factors affecting individual-level health and well-being and her recent studies examine bereavement and end-of-life decision-making among older adults. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Carr on this appointment as she leads this unique, interdisciplinary academic institute to continued success. Dr. Carr takes over from Allan Horwitz, PhD, who has served as Interim Director of the IFH since 2013 and successfully guided the Institute through the integration. We wish Allan well as he returns to the faculty. A national search for a permanent director of the IFH will launch later this fall.

Population Health

I am also pleased to report that former New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd, MPH has joined Rutgers as Executive Director for Health Systems and Population Health Integration, to support our initiatives to promote health and wellness statewide. She will be assisting Dr. Vicente Gracias in developing a robust population health program through Rutgers Health and the Rutgers Health Group (RHG).

Leadership Searches

We are making progress on several of our open national searches for leadership positions: The search for a Dean of the School of Public Health launched this summer. Seven distinguished candidates have visited campus and the search will continue through the fall semester. The search for a Director of the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI) is ongoing, with new candidates being reviewed. If you are aware of potential candidates for this specialized position, please forward their names to RutgersEOHS@russellreynolds.com.

We anticipate that national searches for permanent directors of IFH and the Center for Advanced Biotechnology & Medicine (CABM) will begin later this fall.

Other Updates

Periodic School and Institute Reviews

As a best practice and to ensure academic excellence, rigor in educational and research programs, quality in health care delivery, and to fully engage faculty in the school governance, RBHS has initiated a process to conduct a formal review of each school and institute every five or six years. These reviews are prospective rather than retrospective and focus on the school’s or institute’s efforts to be leaders in their respective disciplines at academic health centers nationally. The process is comprised of an internal and external review that is designed to provide independent and objective feedback on performance and goals, be collaborative and collegial, and instill confidence in the unit.

Two schools are participating in this process this fall: the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS). The committee that is conducting the review of RSDM is being chaired by Dean Sherine Gabriel of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS). Dean Gwendolyn Mahon of the School of Health Professions (SHP) is chairing the committee conducting the review of GSBS. We look forward to the comprehensive and robust review of these two schools, which will assist them in achieving greater levels of success in their respective missions.

Finances

Thanks to the hard work, discipline, and perseverance of the RBHS faculty and staff, I am delighted to report that we anticipate continued financial stability and growth this year. In FY 2016, financial results showed a $20.4 million surplus, as compared to a budgeted deficit of $18.5 million. As you know RBHS began with a projected deficit in excess of $50 million deficit in FY 2014 alone. This turnaround reflects over a $70 million improvement as compared to the FY 2014 original projection. For FY 2017 we now have a balanced budget. Clearly the collective efforts of our research and clinical faculty and staff are demonstrating positive financial results, opening the door for strategic investments and programmatic growth for RBHS.

Conclusion

Together we are creating a Rutgers Health brand that represents excellence and quality in all of these areas. Thank you again for your contributions to our educational, academic, and research missions.

Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs