History of the BCC
Modern medical education came to New Jersey in 1956 when the Seton Hall College of Medicine and Dentistry was organized in Jersey City. Financial difficulties led to a state takeover, and the new institution became the New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry. In 1966, at the invitation of the City of Newark, it was decided to build new and greatly expanded facilities for the college on a 150 acre tract adjacent to Martland Medical Center in Newark's Central Ward.
The transition was not a smooth one. Major friction occurred between the college, with its almost entirely Caucasian administration and faculty, and the residents of the Central Ward, which was predominantly African-American and Hispanic. The college's heavy focus on medical education at the expense of providing promised patient care services, and its failure to solicit input from the local citizenry was thought to have contributed to the 1967 Newark riots. In the aftermath of the riots, the college was forced to agree to help resolve local health and non-medical problems if it were to exist in the community. The proposed acreage of the complex was reduced, and many promises were made to upgrade services provided at Martland Medical Center, provide employment opportunities, and give the community a voice in the plans, programs, and policies of the institution.
The situation was slow to improve, and in 1970, a public confrontation occurred, in which local residents sought resolution of grievances concerning health care and employment practices. Civic organizations and residents requested a formal and binding voice in college affairs. Faculty, students and alumni petitioned the Board of Trustees to appoint a community advisory group to help adjudicate differences and plan for better future relationships. The College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Board of Concerned Citizens was chartered under the aegis of the Board of Trustees.
Within three years, due to the work of the Board of Concerned Citizens, the CMDNJ bylaws adopted by the faculties of the New Jersey Medical School, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Rutgers Medical School (the forerunner of UMDNJ's Robert Wood Johnson Medical School), and the New Jersey Dental School included requirements for input from community advisory groups into activities of each of the present and projected CMDNJ campuses.
In 1975, Dr. Carroll M. Leevy, Dr. Earl Phillips, and Dr. Stanley S. Bergen of the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, published a seminal article entitled "The Community and Medical Education: Organization and Function of a Board of Concerned Citizens," in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, volume 82, 832-837. Much of the material in this synopsis comes from this source.