Rowan, Virtua Health partner to create new college of medicine & health sciences

Partnership further distinguishes South Jersey as a regional hub for innovation, research and clinical discovery

Rowan University welcome gate

Virtua Health and Rowan University made it official. On Tuesday, they announced an agreement to create the Virtua Health College of Medicine & Health Sciences of Rowan University.

With an $85 million investment to Rowan University, Virtua is establishing an endowment that will help support the partnership — fueling investments in faculty, educational programs and the construction of a state-of-the-art research facility.

This partnership between the Top 100 public research university and the largest health system in southern New Jersey will further distinguish South Jersey as a regional hub for innovation, research and clinical discovery.

In November, the boards of trustees for Rowan University and Virtua Health approved the signing of a letter of intent to expand their organizations’ relationship, and this new affiliation agreement has now come to fruition.

The new college will encompass the state’s only osteopathic medical school; an expanded nursing and allied health professions school; a new school of translational biomedical engineering and sciences; multiple new research institutes; and aligned clinical practices to improve patient care and train the workforce of the future.

Ali Houshmand. (File photo)

“The best health systems in the nation partner with great research institutions,” Rowan University President Ali Houshmand said. “Virtua Health is one of the leading health care providers in the state. To have earned Virtua’s confidence and to be the partner they choose to invest in is tremendous. We’re proud to share Virtua’s values and vision and to see a future where we can make a difference together. This landmark gift and our partnership will transform both institutions.”

Dennis Pullin. (File photo)

“There has never been a more defining moment for our two respected organizations to come together to transform and reimagine the future of health care and the health care workforce than right now,” said Dennis Pullin, CEO and president of Virtua Health. “This affiliation will further strengthen our relationship with Rowan so that we can innovate around the training of tomorrow’s physicians and health professionals and the critical research that will impact the future of health care in this community. I am excited about the purposeful things that we will do together and the lasting, here-for-good impact our efforts will have in New Jersey and beyond.”

Rowan and Virtua will collaborate to bring together leading clinicians and scientists to elevate care delivery, medical innovation and education for New Jersey. The first three research institutes will focus on cardiovascular disease, solid organ transplant and regenerative medicine, and primary care.

To further its goal to become a national leader in health care and biomedical research, the new college will recruit 50 new faculty investigators, including basic and clinician scientists, over the next 10 years.

Plans also include the construction of a new facility to support basic, translational and clinical research.

The partnership also integrates the Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes School of Nursing with Rowan University School of Nursing & Health Professions. The collaboration will facilitate Bachelor of Science in Nursing students to apply through a single application process.

An early outcome of the collaboration between Rowan and Virtua is the Nurturing Nurses program, which was announced at the graduation ceremony of Our Lady of Lourdes School of Nursing in mid-December. Nurturing Nurses invites Virtua-employed registered nurses to pursue a BSN at Rowan University and have Virtua pay the tuition.

In partnership with Rowan, Virtua also plans to expand its Graduate Medical Education program to train the workforce of the future and support medical student clinical rotations.