NJ's newest medical school welcomes 91 students who speak 23 languages
Originally appeared in North Jersey Record on July 12, 2019
NUTLEY — Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, the state's first private medical school in decades, welcomed its second class on Thursday with 91 students.
Half of the students in the class are women; 58 hail from New Jersey; and nine have advanced degrees in law, public health, bioethics and other fields. The students speak 23 different languages, an asset in New Jersey, one of the most diverse states in the nation.
“Dynamic changes in health care require a new approach to medical education and we are thrilled to welcome our next class of future physicians who will humanize health care,’’ said Robert C. Garrett, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health.
In its second year, the curriculum includes: a three-year path to residency to make a medical education more affordable; partnering students with patients in under-served communities; and interdisciplinary learning so that graduates are prepared to provide team-based care, which research shows improves outcomes.
“Our goal is to maximize health in all of the communities we serve, a goal best achieved through an interdisciplinary approach based on an understanding that health and wellness, as well as disease and sickness, occur where people live, work and play,’’ said Dr. Bonita Stanton, the school's founding dean.
The school opened last year with a goal to transform medical education and ease the state's shortage of physicians estimated to be at 3,000 by next year. Research shows that physicians often practice where they train.
The Hackensack Meridian Health Board of Trustees also provided a $100 million endowment fund for scholarships to ensure top students can afford a medical education, Garrett said.
When the School of Medicine opened last year, Seton Hall University relocated its College of Nursing and School of Health and Medical Sciences to create an Interprofessional Health Sciences campus in Nutley and Clifton.
The curriculum will help future physicians navigate major changes in health care underway in the U.S. including the transition to value-based care in which physicians and hospitals are paid to keep people well.
That’s a major shift from fee-for-service medicine in which providers are paid for each treatment and procedure, school officials said.
The strategy is essential to improve outcomes and lower the cost of care as the U.S. faces an epidemic of diabetes and other chronic disease, which is costly and, in many cases, preventable.