Rutgers University – Camden and Samaritan sign MOU to advance palliative medicine

Rutgers University – Camden Chancellor Antonio Tillis and Samaritan CEO and President Phillip Heath signed a Memorandum of Understanding this week to establish a Premier Partnership, to expand research, education and community engagement to advance the practice of palliative medicine in the city of Camden and the region.

The partnership is the first of its kind for both institutions.

“The newly formalized partnership between Rutgers-Camden and Samaritan will advance our many shared goals in research and community health. I am grateful that our faculty, staff and students will have the chance to work alongside Samaritan’s health care professionals as we serve those in need in Camden County and throughout South Jersey,” Tillis said.

“We are extremely proud to establish our innovative Premier Partnership with Rutgers University – Camden, the first of its kind for both of our organizations,” Heath said. “Today represents an important milestone for Chancellor Tillis and me, as our shared vision is codified and we bring together colleagues and key stakeholders to advance the practice of palliative medicine in Camden and the region.”

According to the Center to Advance Palliative Care, at least 12 million adults and nearly 400,000 children in the U.S. are currently living with serious illness and could benefit from palliative medicine.

The recently passed Palliative Care Medicaid Bill in New Jersey recognizes the importance of this specialized medical care and emotional and spiritual support, as well as pain and symptom relief for especially vulnerable adults and the pediatric populations living with serious illness.

This expansion of services to the city of Camden and the broader region is at the heart of this new partnership between Rutgers-Camden and Samaritan. By engaging with Samaritan’s medical providers, clinical teams and staff across all service lines (primary care, palliative medicine, social connections, hospice care and grief support), the partnership will support increased access to home-based health care services and supports for social determinants of health for communities of color and other underserved populations in Camden city and surrounding communities within Camden, Burlington and Gloucester counties.

The new partnership will expand clinical rotations for Rutgers-Camden nursing, social work and psychology students by providing palliative medicine training alongside Samaritan’s interdisciplinary teams in the homes of Samaritan patients and its two inpatient centers, better positioning these future practitioners to meet the needs of the growing aging population.

Rutgers-Camden students, faculty and staff will help expand the recognized advancement Samaritan’s palliative medical teams have made throughout the region in increasing access, understanding and awareness of the role of palliative medicine in serious illness care.

The partnership will also bridge thought leadership from research and education to implementation at the patient care level to improve patient outcomes throughout the city of Camden and the Camden, Burlington and Gloucester county regions.