Strom is the chancellor of Rutgers School of Biomedical and Health Sciences and along with Perry Halkitis, the dean of the university’s School of Public Health, is among the most prominent sources of information about the COVID-19 pandemic. The two academics will continue to be sought out for information about the vaccines, the delta variant and the potential need for boosters as the weather cools.
“When it’s going to be, that’s reading the tea leaves,” he said. “This isn’t going to be [like] the flu,” he told NJBIZ in July. “I don’t think we’ll need a vaccine every year because the flu mutates more quickly than COVID does. But on the other hand, COVID is a much worse disease.”
As the pandemic took hold in New Jersey, Strom took a leading role in New Jersey’s contact tracing program along with its study early on in the pandemic on COVID-19’s effect on health care workers, which found that women were infected at a rate of 13 times their male counterparts, perhaps due to existing disparity in the nursing workforce which includes more women than men.
During his six years at Rutgers, Strom has spearheaded the creation of an interprofessional faculty practice group, the Rutgers Health Group; established a formal partnership with RWJBarnabas Health to create New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive academic health system; and headed a major recruitment drive to bring biomedical researchers and clinicians to Rutgers. In the past year under his direction, research awards for Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, which includes Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and other schools, jumped from $296.5 million to $390.8 million, or 31.8%, from fiscal 2018 to fiscal 2019.