The Rutgers University Board of Governors has approved a plan to seek combined accreditation for New Jersey Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School as Rutgers School of Medicine.

The move will let the existing, co-equal medical schools strategically integrate some operations while maintaining considerable independence at both campuses. University leaders anticipate that the integration will quickly expand the advancement of the medical schools' shared missions in both Newark and New Brunswick.

“The primary objective behind pursuing a single medical school accreditation is to create a stronger, more innovative institution that offers significantly enhanced educational opportunities, expanded research endeavors and improved patient care,” medical school deans Robert L. Johnson and Amy Murtha wrote in an email to their faculty, students, and staff.

“Although we will maintain our individual identities and operate separately as two equal campuses, each with its own co-dean and separate financial and administrative structures, the integration presents numerous opportunities for growth, efficiency, and improved collaboration,” the deans added. “Our commitment to University Hospital in Newark and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick remains strong, and our relationship with these institutions will remain unchanged.”

The decision to seek a single accreditation follows a collaborative evaluation of optimal medical school integration that started in January 2019, when Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Chancellor Brian Strom formed the Future of Academic Medicine Committee.

The committee’s initial report generated numerous follow-up questions from the Rutgers University Senate, which, in turn, spurred a second report compiled by numerous faculty, staff, students, community members and administrators of both medical schools.

“This integration will empower Rutgers to navigate the dynamic landscape of health care, meeting the ever-evolving and complex needs of the future while flourishing amidst a competitive market,” Strom said. “We will amplify Rutgers’ position as a trailblazer in 21st-century medical education and solidify our role as a leader in advancing the frontiers of health care."

The integration of both medical schools would benefit their missions by making it possible to better leverage Rutgers’ growing impact on clinical, translational, and basic science research - placing the university at the forefront of the innovation economy and attracting more federal and industry funding, according to university leaders.

It would position Rutgers School of Medicine as one of the largest and leading public medical schools in the country and create an unparalleled hub of biomedical and health sciences education, research, and clinical care.

In addition to the extensive planning that has already taken place, university leaders emphasized that integration will proceed at a measured pace with ongoing input from all stakeholders. Johnson and Murtha will consult medical school stakeholders to formulate an accreditation application to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education that promotes equitable representation and resource allocation.

University leaders also have pledged continued consultation with the University Senate, faculty, staff, students, community members and outside organizations on admissions, curriculum, campus culture, accreditation, residency placements, fiscal matters, administrative structure, governance, nomenclature, and branding.

It is anticipated that the first class of the medical education program at Rutgers School of Medicine will be enrolled in the 2028 academic year.