Plan to merge N.J. medical schools has governor’s blessing

Gov. Chris Christie is backing a plan for merging several medical schools that he says will improve New Jersey’s medical education system. It’s based on recommendations from a five-member committee he appointed to consider changes to graduate medical education statewide.

The governor said Tuesday he will submit an executive reorganization plan to the Legislature to merge the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s School of Public Health, and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey with Rutgers University.

“This is a critically important issue not only for those institutions but for the future of health-care delivery in our state and dealing with making sure that we have enough highly trained physicians, nurses, and other health-care providers to care for the people of our state,” Christie said.

Christie said the merger will make central Jersey a stronger magnet for attracting high-paying biotech jobs.

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Details of what will happen with the other parts of the UMDNJ system have not been worked out.

He said more than a decade of uncertainty about the governance structure of the state’s medical education system has meant missed opportunities.

“By beginning the process of merging these institutions we can provide that certainty that was lacking and really place public medical education in the state on a path to real sustained excellence,” said Christie alluding to scandals at the UMDNJ that he prosecuted when he was a U.S. attorney.

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