Rowan confident new college for health sciences will lead to new levels of research capability (and greater grant dollars)

The Virtua Health College of Medicine & Health Sciences of Rowan University that was announced Tuesday does a number of things — including encompassing the state’s only osteopathic medical school and an expanded nursing school while establishing a new School of Translational Biomedical Engineering & Sciences, new research institutes and aligning its clinical practices.

All are good for students, patients and the New Jersey community.

Rowan President Ali Houshmand said the benefits don’t stop there.

The school will have multiple new research institutes, which will help propel the university to a higher designated ranking for research, he said. Houshmand believes it will bolster Rowan’s Carnegie Research Classification from R3 to R2 — with the goal of becoming an R1 soon.

Houshmand said a partnership between a Top 100 public research university and the largest health system in southern New Jersey will inspire new research that will focus on translation of technologies to practice and have an important impact on patient care.

“The best health systems in the nation partner with great research institutions,” he said. “This landmark gift and our partnership has the potential to (enable us to) recruit top caliber researchers, doctors, faculty and students — and apply for the biggest grants.”

To put it another way: Houshmand believes the expansion is expected to generate more than $225 million in new research grants by 2032.

The opportunity for more extensive research is another example of how Rowan’s health sciences footprint is growing.

In addition to the new relationship with Virtua — and the existing medical school affiliated with Cooper University Hospital — the university also announced last week that its School of Veterinary Medicine will offer the state’s first Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.

Houshmand said the institution is getting noticed for all its accomplishments.

Earlier this year, Rowan’s graduate programs in medicine, education and nursing were ranked among the best in the nation for 2022 by U.S. News & World Report.

“The school has become much more attractive with these offerings, and now the region is becoming a center of attention,” he said. “We are impacting the economy and helping to grow the region; the whole population will prosper as a result of our two entities coming together.”

Houshmand said both institutions will benefit from more graduate students and postdoctoral research labs, as they will be able to hire top-level talent because the greatest minds want to come and study and research under this new umbrella.

Especially with a state-of-the-art research facility planned.

“We plan to construct a new facility to support basic, translational and clinical research,” Houshmand said. “It will be an advanced, state-of-the-art center that will focus on transplant research and tissue engineering and other cutting-edge developments. We are also going to hire a number of new doctors, and everyone and everything in it will be a magnet to recruit even more of the best from around the country.”

Because of this great partnership, Houshmand believes Rowan will now be an academic medical center with top physicians, nurses, researchers and teachers all working together. Which translates into patients being more attracted to access to the latest medical discoveries and clinical trials that aren’t available at other hospitals.

“There are very few academic medical centers in the United States,” Houshmand said. “At an academic medical center, which is what the Virtua Health College of Medicine & Health Sciences of Rowan University will be, education, research, and clinical care are combined to provide the best possible treatment that uses state-of-the-art technologies, and resources that community hospitals may not have available.

“We are proud to be able to be a part of that.”