Christie Signs UMDNJ-Rutgers Merger into Law
Law expected to take effect July 2013
Gov. Chris Christie today signed into law the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Act, which would merge most assets of the University of Medicine and Dentistry with Rutgers University.
“This is a transformative day for higher education in New Jersey. After decades of politics getting in the way of a desperately needed rethinking and restructuring of our higher education system, we have again come together in a bipartisan way to put our state;s students, our long term economic viability and our future generations first,” Christie said in a statement.
The legislation was approved by state lawmakers June 28 and was awaiting Christie’s signature.
Under the law, which would be implemented by July 1, 2013, the Rutgers School of Biomedical and Health Science would be created in Newark. This would consist of various UMDNJ assets in the city as well as the Rutgers schools of pharmacology and nursing. Also under the merger plan, University Hospital would become an independent institution, although its mission serving Newark’s low income residents would remain unchanged.
The plan also calls for another UMDNJ institution, the School of Osteopathic Medicine in the South Jersey community of Stratford, to merge with Rowan University.
In early July, shortly after the legislation was approved by the state Legislature, Mayor Cory Booker described the plan as a “win” for the city that would help make Newark a leading center for biomedical resaerch.
“This law will provide for the future growth and development of Rutgers-Newark and the expansion of graduate medical education in Newark, creating a focal point that will serve residents from throughout the state,” Speaker of the Assembly Sheila Oliver said today. “The reorganization will position New Jersey to develop economic opportunity and jobs in the health professions - the fastest growing sector of our nation's economy - to the benefit of not just Newark and surrounding counties but the state as a whole. This is a good thing for everyone."