Rowan University, Virtua Health roll out plans for new college

Dawn Furnas//November 10, 2022

Rowan University, Virtua Health roll out plans for new college

Dawn Furnas//November 10, 2022

Rowan University and Virtua Health kicked off 2022 with the announcement of their new, historic partnership. Now, they’re offering more details about the venture. 

The organizations launched a website Nov. 7 for the new Virtua Health College of Medicine & Life Sciences of Rowan University, an initiative made possible by an $85 million gift from Virtua Health – the second-largest endowment in Rowan’s history – and $125 million dedicated by the university. 

The new college will offer clinical studies as well as learning environments and aims to “improve the quality, experience and capabilities of health care for all people and advancing research for the discovery of new treatments.”

Ali Houshmand

“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,” Rowan President Ali Houshmand said in a statement. “Together, we will help meet critical regional and national demand for health professions education, patient care and innovation.” 

U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, D-1st District, applauded the effort, saying, “This is where great minds have come together to create the vision you have today, and that is something that is incredibly special, this academic relationship.” 

The new college will feature three distinct schools, their research centers and institutes: 

  • Rowan-Virtua School of Osteopathic Medicine: New Jersey’s only osteopathic medical school has campuses in Stratford and Sewell. In 2022, Rowan-Virtua SOM admitted 272 students, the largest entering class of any New Jersey medical school. 
  • Rowan-Virtua School of Nursing & Health Professions: Plans call for integrating Rowan’s nursing and health professions school (online and in Glassboro) and Virtua’s Our Lady of Lourdes School of Nursing, now located on Rowan’s Stratford campus. Once unified, the school will offer undergraduate and graduate degrees and specialized certificates for nurses; graduate degrees for health professionals; and undergraduate degrees in athletic training, exercise science, nutrition and dietetics, public health and wellness, and health promotion and wellness management.  
  • Rowan-Virtua School of Translational Biomedical Engineering & Sciences: The school will serve as the college’s focal point for research and innovation, Rowan said. It aims to recruit 25 faculty and clinician researchers by 2025 and plans to double that number within a decade. Three new institutes will investigate concerns in cardiovascular disease, solid organ transplant and regenerative medicine, and health equity.  

The organizations also unveiled plans for further down the road, including: 

  • aligning Rowan Medicine clinical practices with Virtua Medical Group; 
  • building a five-story research and educational facility on Rowan’s West Campus, near the intersection of Routes 322 and 55; 
  • and developing a four-year, residential Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. 

Officials say the new college will enhance patient care in South Jersey, while advancing the area as a hub for the health care industry. 

New Jersey Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald, D-6th District, said the combined investment from Rowan University and Virtua Health is “critically important.”  

“We’ve seen a rush of people leave the profession,” Greenwald said. “This is an opportunity for us in New Jersey to attract a talented workforce from other states. This is a win-win for everyone across the board.” 

Dennis Pullin, president and CEO, Virtua Health.

Dennis Pullin, president and CEO of Virtua Health, added, “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. Both Virtua and Rowan have histories of reinvention, and this next chapter is sure to be incredible.”