Rowan’s School of Osteopathic Medicine will have a new academic department by the time students return to the Stratford campus next fall. The university’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved a new Department of Geriatrics and Gerontology at its meeting on Feb. 19. The resolution is effective on July 1.
By establishing an official department, Rowan will be more competitive for receiving federal grants related to geriatrics and gerontology, said Tom Cavalieri, dean of the Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine. He also cited New Jersey’s large senior population as a reason for the necessity of the department. He said the recognition of geriatrics and gerontology as an academic discipline will make Rowan better at recruiting researchers and scientists. The ultimate goal, Cavalieri said, is to improve the quality of life of senior citizens in the state.
“New Jersey is one of the grayest states in the nation,” Cavalieri said. “Some of the coastal counties — like Cape May, Atlantic, Ocean — have up to 28 percent of the population that is over the age of 65, where the national average is about 14 percent. So New Jersey has some very special needs.”
The resolution said the creation of the new department is an organizational change that will have no cost impact. The department will have a Division of Geriatric Medicine and a Division of Geriatric Behavioral Health.
Also on the agenda relating to RowanSOM were two lease agreements between Rowan and Gordon Washington Mab Associates. The two six-year leases give RowanSOM’s Department of Obstrenics and Gynecology two office suites in Sewell. One lease provides 3,076 square feet for a cost that cannot exceed $296,322. The other suite is a 734 square-foot space for no more than $62,390.
The new building space will serve as a site for physician offices and a new location for patient care, Cavalieri said. Students and residents who are in training in the area of women’s health will also be using the space. Currently the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology shares space with other disciplines.
“[The building space] will enable us to provide personalized care for woman here in South Jersey,” Cavalieri said.
Before getting to action items on the agenda, New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney swore in Jean Edelman as the newest member of the Board of Trustees. Edelman served on the board from 2008 to 2012 and graduated from Rowan in 1981. She was the first woman to become president of Rowan’s Student Government Association.
“I love Rowan. My husband and I went to school here,” Edelman said. “It’s home.”
The next Board of Trustees meeting will be on April 9 in the Student Center Ballroom.
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