Handling a public health emergency requires strong responses from a variety of institutions. And those institutions need accurate, useful, actionable information to carry out their responsibilities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, that meant developing, gathering and disseminating information about where the virus was spreading, how quickly and among which groups. In New Jersey, institutions of higher education – most notably the state’s flagship public university – provided many of the tools and expertise that helped the state develop a robust response to the emergency.
The role played by educators and researchers – especially those at Rutgers University – is reflected in this iteration of the NJBIZ Education Power 50. The top ten, in particular, indicates just how crucial universities and medical schools were in getting New Jersey through the worst of the pandemic and – residents hope – on the road to recovery.
State officials, led by Gov. Phil Murphy, adopted the mantra that public health leads to economic health. And while much work remains, the state’s economy has begun to reopen, thanks in no small measure to tests and contact tracing developed and monitored at institutions of higher learning.
New Jerseyans will continue to rely on the experts at those institutions as the state heads into what is likely to emerge as a challenging cold and flu season. Testing and tracing will be even more important to distinguish between merely uncomfortable symptoms and those that could indicate the presence of a life-threatening condition. Maintaining public health in that environment will be critical in maintaining the economic recovery.
So as readers go through these profiles, it should be clear that New Jersey’s best minds are on the case. If the state does end up coming back as strong or stronger than it was before the pandemic, these individuals have a lot to do with the improving picture.
As always, the top ten individuals are ranked in order; the remaining profiles are listed alphabetically.
Stay safe and let us know what you think of this list.