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January 05, 2022

Rowan University, Virtua Health team up to establish new medical college

The South Jersey non-profit is providing the school with $85 million to invest in faculty, educational programs and a new research facility

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Rowan University Virtua Health medical college Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

Rowan University and Virtua Health have come together to establish the Virtua Health College of Medicine and Health Sciences of Rowan University.

Rowan University and Virtua Health have come together on a new academic venture that both say will help develop the next generation of health care professionals in South Jersey.

The two establishments said Tuesday that they've reached a partnership agreement to form the Virtua Health College of Medicine and Health Sciences of Rowan University.

The new college will encompass Rowan's School of Osteopathic Medicine and an integration of the Gloucester County university's School of Nursing and Health Professions with Virtua's Our Lady of Lourdes School of Nursing.

The combination of both nursing schools will allow bachelor's students to apply through one application process. Coursework will be offered in conjunction with Rowan College of South Jersey, Rowan College at Burlington County and Camden County College.

The integrated nursing school will also allow for an expansion of Virtua's Nurturing Nurses program, which allows nurses employed by the health system to earn their bachelor's degree in nursing at Rowan for free.

The new college will also consist of a new school of translational biomedical engineering and sciences, new research institutes and aligned clinical practices to bolster patient care and educate future physicians, nurses and health care professionals.

The first three research institutes will focus on primary care, cardiovascular disease and solid organ transplant and regenerative medicine. University officials said that the partnership will generate more than $225 million in new research grants.

As part of the collaboration, Virtua is providing Rowan with $85 million to invest in faculty, educational programs and a new research facility. The university said that it will hire 50 new faculty investigators, including basic and clinical scientists, over the next decade.

"To have earned Virtua’s confidence and to be the partner they choose to invest in is tremendous," Rowan University President Ali Houshmand said. "We’re proud to share Virtua’s values and vision and to see a future where we can make a difference together."

Both institutions also plan to develop additional allied health profession programs and expand Virtua's graduate medical education program.

Virtua officials said that the partnership will allow undergraduate medical, nursing and health care professional students at Rowan to receive clinical experience through the health system.

“There has never been a more defining moment for our two respected organizations to come together to transform and reimagine the future of health care and the health care workforce than right now,” Virtua Health President and CEO Dennis Pullin said. “This affiliation will further strengthen our relationship with Rowan so that we can innovate around the training of tomorrow’s physicians and health professionals and the critical research that will impact the future of health care in this community."

Rowan's collaboration with Virtua comes as the university continues to expand its academic offerings to students in South Jersey.

Rowan is set to open New Jersey's first school of veterinary medicine by 2025. The university plans to establish a dinosaur fossil museum at Edelman Fossil Park in 2023.

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