ur greatest privilege at UMDNJ is to be able to positively impact the lives of our patients. In fact, all of our missions — education, research, health care, and community
service — at their core relate to patient care and the relief of human suffering. From educating the next generation of clinicians, to bringing scientific discoveries from the laboratory bench to the bedside, or providing support for these endeavors, everyone at UMDNJ contributes to this fundamental goal. In my view, there is no greater or more personally rewarding career choice than one offered by the wide spectrum of the health care professions.
Our student body is a broad, diverse, and enthusiastic group of students seeking to improve the lives of patients directly or indirectly and UMDNJ offers a wealth of future career opportunities. For recent graduates contemplating their next steps, experienced workers looking for a meaningful career change, or unemployed persons striving toward more promising futures, I am happy to report that this issue of UMDNJ Magazine may provide some answers.
In this time of economic uncertainty, more and more people are asking: “where are the jobs now and where will they be in five or ten years?” We know where they will be — in health care. Every indication is that health-related jobs will continue to be the bright spot in the otherwise cloudy employment outlook. One of the motivations behind UMDNJ’s educational mission is the preparation of professionals who will fill our state’s — and indeed the nation’s — health care workforce needs. The U.S. Department of Labor projects a 30 percent increase in the number of health care jobs between now and 2014. This translates into four million new jobs.
Some career paths are taking entirely new directions in fields like medical imaging sciences, psychiatric rehabilitation, and advanced practice nursing. Others will experience unprecedented demand because of changing demographics or changes in the health insurance environment — dental assistants, physician assistants, and geriatric specialties, for example. New opportunities for individuals with degrees in other fields are opening in medical laboratory science, nursing and clinical trials recruitment. Fortunately, this University offers outstanding training with the prospect of good jobs at the end. Some programs can be completed in less than a year; some offer a very part-time schedule for those holding jobs; others are entirely online.
Our classrooms are the obvious starting points for launching many great lifetime careers in the health professions. Less obvious is the work that goes on in our research laboratories. The discoveries made by our world class faculty are being converted through technology transfer into new business ventures that become job-creating economic engines.
A personal device to measure eye pressure for those suffering from
glaucoma, new products to fight plaque and dry mouth, a promising treatment for spinal cord injury, a test for Alzheimer’s disease — all represent enormous potential both for healthier people and a healthier economy.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics support the importance of
health care as a leading source of job creation. As New Jersey’s university
of the health sciences, UMDNJ will continue to provide multiple pathways to
a variety of satisfying careers and contribute greatly to curing disease, alleviating pain and suffering, and improving the lives of the people of New Jersey.
Denise V. Rodgers, MD, FAAFP