Parker Health Group, a Piscataway-based leader in aging services, has gifted $18.8 million to the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick. This gift will create the Parker Health Group Division of Geriatrics in the medical school’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, which will focus on improving care for seniors through applied research, education and interdisciplinary collaboration.
“I am confident that by partnering together, Parker Health Group and Rutgers University can make monumental strides in the field of geriatrics that will provide generations of seniors in New Jersey and beyond with enhanced support,” Roberto Muñiz, a Rutgers alumnus who has been CEO and president of Parker Health Group for nearly 25 years, said. “When I joined Parker, I had a vision for strengthening our connection with the university. It is incredible to witness this new partnership come to life.”
Muñiz, who is also an adjunct faculty member at the medical school and a senior health fellow and instructor at Rutgers’ Edward J. Bloustein School of Public Planning and Public Policy, said the collaboration will aim to connect with Rutgers programs in nursing, social work, pharmacy and psychiatry.
“Our goal is to support seniors to live their best lives by working toward a seamless network of high-quality, innovative and valued geriatric services and supports,” Muñiz says. “The division’s focus on multidisciplinary research collaborations and building relationships within the local communities that Parker and Rutgers both serve will be a key component for informing this critically needed work.”
Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway praised Parker Health Group’s support.
“This generous gift will benefit vast numbers of families who face the challenges that come with aging,” Holloway said. “Anyone who has witnessed their loved ones grow older understands the difficulties that can arise. This partnership with Parker Health Group, which serves many people right in our backyard through their residential and home- and community-based programs, is a great example of a collaboration to address societal challenges and improve the lives of people in New Jersey. It’s gratifying to know that this gift will help our students go on to fulfilling careers caring for seniors.”
“I’m delighted that Parker Health Group, which has 116 years of excellent service to seniors in New Jersey, and Rutgers, which has even longer history as the state university of New Jersey, are bringing the expertise and knowledge of each institution together to ensure seniors are well-cared for long into the future,” Marguerite Schlag, chair of Parker Health Group’s board of trustees, said.
“The long-term impacts of this partnership will be significant,” Dr. Amy Murtha, dean of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, said. “We fully anticipate that this program will continue for many years. In the short term, the work of the fellows will successfully advance patient care and knowledge within the specialty as a direct result of Parker Health Group’s generous support.”