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Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Leaders Top Rankings of Most Influential Health Care Leaders in New Jersey

Health Care Power 50
(L to R) Rutgers School of Public Health Dean Perry Halkitis, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Dean Robert Johnson, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Chancellor and Rutgers Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Brian Strom and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Director Steven Libutti

Leaders from Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) were named at the top of NJBIZ  Health Care Power 50 list, which ranks the top influencers in health care in New Jersey.

Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Dean Robert Johnson (1), RBHS Chancellor and Rutgers Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Brian Strom (2), Rutgers School of Public Health Dean Perry N. Halkitis (3), and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Director Steven Libutti (8) led a list that also included Rutgers alums Barry Ostrowsky, CEO of the university’s clinical partner RWJBarnabas Health, and New Jersey Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli.

The Rutgers health care leaders were lauded for helping guide the state through the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing research funding, being at the helm of clinical breakthroughs, and supporting the state’s Innovation Hub project in New Brunswick.

“This acknowledgement is further proof that Rutgers is helping to deliver more innovation, better health care outcomes, top-tier education and ultimately a better quality of life for our residents,” said Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway. “My congratulations go out to the RBHS team for their leadership and vision for a healthier world, beginning right here in New Jersey.”

In making its selection, NJBIZ said Johnson accomplished a number of goals including joining NJMS with Rutgers creating the Institute for Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases to detect, treat and prevent a wide range of current and emerging diseases and position NJMS to become the state’s leading recipient of funding from the federal National Institutes of Health.

The publication cited Strom for expanding access and bridging academic divides, and said he will play a critical part in developing the $665 million New Jersey Innovation and Technology Hub coming to New Brunswick. The Rutgers Translational Research Facility and a new academic medical building will become part of RBHS, under Strom’s guidance.

Halkitis was credited by the magazine for his work with the media during the pandemic, presenting information on curbing the spread of COVID-19 in a relatable and understandable manner.

Libutti was selected for his leadership at the Rutgers Cancer Institute and overseeing the development of the new Jack and Sheryl Morris Cancer Center in New Brunswick that will be the state’s first free-standing cancer hospital. It will feature outpatient and inpatient clinical space, state-of-the-art laboratories where critical scientific investigation will be amplified, enabling physician-scientists to translate findings directly to patients, as well as ancillary services.

Also included in the list were Diane Calello, executive and medical director, and Bruce Ruck, managing director, from the New Jersey Poison Control Center at New Jersey Medical School. The pair were cited for the leadership of the center which “continues to offer mission-critical advice and tracks trends with a combination of knowledge, technology and empathy.”

RBHS is one of America’s largest and most comprehensive university-based centers for health care. The placement of RBHS leaders in these rankings comes during a period when the academic health center has experienced growth in all parts of its mission areas. In the last five years, RBHS has grown its biomedical and health sciences research awards by nearly 80 percent; set out to build New Jersey’s most comprehensive Academic Health System with its clinical partner RWJBarnabas Health; established New Jersey’s first clinical and translational science hub, launching numerous clinical trials and aiding in leading-edge research on COVID-19; and led discoveries in areas like the microbiome, tuberculosis, and oncology.