Of the state’s three qualifying programs, only Rutgers University’s New Jersey School of Medicine (formerly the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – UMDNJ) ranked in the top 75 percent by taking 73rd place for research.
But the state’s medical community is hoping its schools’ standings will improve over the next decade — and help to close a physician gap — as Seton Hall University establishes New Jersey’s only private medical college, on the border between Nutley and Clifton.
It’s already signed a highly regarded founding dean and is mapping out a mission. Students will begin matriculating in the fall of 2018, and the two partners are working to raise the $75 million that will be needed for the physical facilitites.
When Cooper, which is too young to be fully accredited and thus qualify for the rankings, opened, it joined the New Jersey School of Medicine (NJSM), Rutgers’ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and Rowan’s School of Osteopathic Medicine (SOM).
Rowan acquired SOM earlier this decade when state lawmakers broke up UMDNJ, and Rutgers took over NJSM at the same time. Though it folded it into the school of medicine in Newark, Rutgers decided not to merge NJSM with Piscataway’s Robert Wood Johnson, and the two remain separate.
The Seton Hall groundbreaking is part of a national trend to compensate for a shortage of medical schools that came about when the profession failed to anticipate the longer lives of baby boomers. The last construction blitz was in the 1980s, when about 15 medical schools were built nationwide.
The as-yet-unnamed Seton Hall facility has school administrators touting its role in helping to relieve the acute pressure on the state’s healthcare system expected in 2020, when New Jersey will suffer from a projected shortage of 2,500 primary-care physicians and specialists.
Administrators also say the medical school will fill a hole in Seton Hall’s health-related academic offerings, which comprise a health law program rated in the top 10 in the country, a nursing school, and a school of health and medical sciences.
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