Making Our Mark
he story of UMDNJ can be put quite simply: a relatively short history — 43 years — but a very long list of stellar accomplishments. We have made an indelible mark on health sciences education, research, clinical care and life in our communities. And our discoveries, innovations, expertise and leadership have earned a well deserved reputation for excellence in areas ranging from cardiology to cancer care and from neurology and neurosurgery to trauma care.
But there is no resting on our laurels. Just as our cover depicts a breakthrough approach to imaging RNA splicing, our focus continues to be on breaking new ground and creating a future of limitless possibilities for our eager students, inspired teachers, diligent researchers, and caring clinicians. This issue of our magazine will explore just a few of the many areas where the UMDNJ name is synonymous with outstanding achievement and where the promise of what’s ahead is endless.
Clinical expertise, for example. Twenty-five UMDNJ physicians are among the top 1 percent of doctors in the entire country, according to U.S. News & World Report. Their profiles define excellence in clinical care at a time when the future of health care delivery faces enormous challenges.
And research. Our scientists at the Public Health Research Institute (PHRI) continue the war against multi-drug resistant infection. At University Hospital, the Level I Trauma Center becomes a laboratory for research into signs of bone marrow failure after severe trauma. And the importance of translational research and biotech development is underscored by the creation of GeneAssess, Inc, a new company built on work done in our laboratories and established to further develop diagnostic tools and perhaps new therapies for breast cancer.
Educational excellence is epitomized in the innovative curricula in many of our schools and training programs. One example is the neurosurgery residency program at NJMS. You will have the chance to share a day with a female resident getting a foothold in a largely male-dominated field. Also, a new track at the School of Health Related Professions’ Biopharma Initiative developed with the FDA — pharmacovigilance — will train those charged with monitoring drug safety.
At University Behavioral HealthCare, a program recognized as one of the top in the country — Social Decision Making/ Problem Solving — illustrates UMDNJ’s commitment to community service by preparing young people with critical skills for their futures.
Back to the image on our cover and the scientist who created it. This PHRI researcher is a co-developer of molecular beacon technology, which is now used worldwide for numerous applications, among them: diagnostic kits for the AIDS virus, many of the tests done in North America for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcusaureus (MRSA), and detection of a long list of other viral and bacterial infections. The laboratory is always working on “the next best thing.”
UMDNJ takes enormous pride in the substantial impact on and contribution to the world of health sciences that will continue to be the hallmark of all we do. We will keep looking ahead to the next best thing, as we embrace the integration of seven of our schools with Rutgers, the State University, and the integration of the School of Osteopathic Medicine with Rowan University. In the process we will build upon the excellence of all three institutions.
Denise V. Rodgers, MD, FAAFP