Rowan and Virtua partner to create Virtua Health College of Medicine & Life Sciences

Guests at the invitation-only event in Stratford received a sign with the phrase "Proudly Rowan-Virtua for" that they were asked to complete in their own words and then hold up for the camera. - Photo / Rowan University

In January of 2022, Rowan University and Virtua Health announced their academic health partnership to create the Virtua Health College of Medicine & Life Science. Virtua donated $85 million towards the partnership, marking the second-largest endowment in the university’s history — the first being $100 million dedicated by Henry Rowan. 

The partnership will expand the roster of professionals and students, and build research facilities on Rowan’s West Campus. The new college will have three distant schools, research centers and institutes. They plan to improve the quality, experience and capabilities of health care and advance research to discover new treatments. The college is trying to break down barriers of inequality and access to care, resulting in improved health and well-being by having diverse areas of clinical studies and a distinct learning environment. 

The Rowan-Virtua School of Translational Biomedical Engineering & Sciences will be the college’s focal point for research and innovation. The school plans to recruit 25 clinicians, researchers and faculty by 2025 with plans to double the number within the decade. Three new institutes will investigate vital concerns in cardiovascular disease, organ transplants, regenerative medicine and health equity. 

Rowan Medicine will align clinical practice with Virtua Medical Group. Rowan plans to construct a five-story research and educational facility on the West campus near the intersection of Route 322 and 55. Students can also expect the development of a four-year, residential Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. Coursework will be delivered through a 3+1 program offered with the help of Rowan College of South Jersey.

Rowan-Virtua School of Nursing & Health Profession is integrating Virtua’s education programs. The expanded School of Nursing & Health Profession will offer several degrees and specialized certificates for nurses, graduate degrees for health professionals and undergraduate degrees. This can be in athletic training, exercise science, nutrition, dietetics, public health, wellness, health promotion and wellness management. 

The Rowan-Virtua School of Osteopathic Medicine (SOM) is New Jersey’s only osteopathic medical school and is focused on meeting critical needs in primary care. The school has already earned national recognition for programs in geriatrics and pain management. The school is fully accredited by The American Osteopathic Association Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation. Rowan-Virtua SOM admitted 272 students in 2022, the largest entering class of any New Jersey medical school, with campuses in Stratford and Sewell. 

Rowan and Virtua are collaborating to enhance patient care with a team-based approach that keeps health professionals at the leading edge in South Jersey. They plan to advance South Jersey as a hub for health care, discovery and research to improve health and well-being. Their focus is on person-centered, holistic care. 

“Since announcing our partnership, we’ve been fully focused on bringing together the best of both Rowan and Virtua,” said Rowan University President Ali Houshmand in a press release announcing the partnership. “This has been a complex undertaking but we’re driven to raise the bar of excellence in health care, research, and education.”

Virtua Health is a non-profit healthcare system in South Jersey. They operate a network of hospitals, surgery centers, and physician practices. They are South Jersey’s largest healthcare provider, with the main headquarters located in Marlton, New Jersey. Virtua has more than 14,000 staff members with 2,850 doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. They have five hospitals, seven emergency departments, seven urgent care centers and more than 280 other locations. 

“Virtua Health and Rowan University work well together because of compatible values and a shared desire to advance the health and well-being of the South Jersey communities we serve,” said Dennis W. Pullin, president and CEO of Virtua Health, in the same press release.

Leadership from both institutions will meet regularly to develop the affiliation agreement. A new website was launched to attract prospective students, faculty and researchers to the new college. 

“Rowan University and Virtua Health are creating something entirely new, an academic health partnership that will yield great benefits for patients, students, and our communities,” said Houshmand. “Together, we will help meet critical regional and national demand for health professions education, patient care, and innovation.”

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