April 9, 2021: Toward a Healthier and More Inclusive Campus

Chancellor Brian L. Strom
Chancellor Brian L. Strom

On Match Day, March 19, 348 soon-to-be physicians of the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) and Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) Class of 2021 joined medical students from around the world in learning where they would complete their medical training. Once again this year our outstanding students matched above the national match rate and many will be returning to Rutgers to continue their specialized education as residents.

I am also proud to recognize our 2021 Rising Star honorees. These 20 exceptional NJMS and RWJMS students stood out among their peers for their academic achievement, excellence in discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship, and commitment to our community.

Additionally, this year we have expanded opportunities for recognizing the incredible work of RBHS faculty and staff as part of the second annual RBHS Chancellor Awards. Please visit the awards webpage to review information about the award criteria and nomination requirements. Nominations are due by May 17.

Lastly, earlier this week Vicente Gracias and I announced the launch of the Rutgers Vaccination Portal and the imminent opening of vaccination sites on each of Rutgers Camden, Newark, and New Brunswick campuses pending vaccine supply. As of Monday, all higher ed. employees in New Jersey were made eligible for vaccination. I urge everyone to get vaccinated as soon as you are able and recommend registering with the NJ Vaccine Scheduling System as well as the Rutgers portal to best facilitate securing a vaccination appointment.

I appreciate all of your hard work and ongoing commitment. Please stay safe and remember to Wear a Mask, Watch Your Distance, and Wash Your Hands.

— Brian L. Strom
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences

March 26, 2021: Women's History Month

Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy
Chancellor Christopher Molloy

Dear Colleagues,

Yesterday, President Holloway announced a return to Rutgers for the Fall. I imagine there are many questions and concerns related to details of this transition for New Brunswick. In the coming weeks, I will provide more information for the campus community. Please know that my goal is to ensure that we return to work in a way that is equitable and accounts for the needs of our various populations.

Women’s History Month provided us with an opportunity to reflect on the importance of elevating the voices of those who identify as women, and of supporting their success across all aspects of life, including in higher education and their chosen careers. COVID-19 certainly amplified many of the inequities that women continue to navigate.

Next week, we will use Rutgers–New Brunswick social media to share words by several of our staff members about the value of providing women with mentorship and other resources that help them reach their full potential. I would like to thank those individuals – Emily Haran, Dr. Jacquelyn Litt, Issata Oluwadare, Tamara Peters, Dr. Barry Qualls, Cynthia N. Sánchez Gómez, and Jackasha Wiley – for their commitment to women’s leadership, and lending their voices to this effort.

I also thank Karima Woodyard and the organizers of this year’s Dr. Jewel Plummer Cobb S.T.E.A.M. Women’s Empowerment Initiatives, led by the Division of Student Affairs, which included multiple events on women’s entrepreneurship, leadership, advocacy, mentorship, and Covid-19 vaccination awareness in communities of color. The impact of the 5th Annual Dr. Jewel Plummer-Cobb Initiatives was far reaching, involving other B1G campuses and a host of successful women across the state.

Throughout the year, Rutgers–New Brunswick exemplifies our commitment to women’s leadership education and scholarship through the work of the Institute for Women’s Leadership consortium (IWL), which includes Douglass Residential College, the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Center for American Women and Politics, Institute for Research on Women, Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Center for Women and Work, Center for Women in the Arts and Humanities, Office for the Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics, Center on Violence Against Women and Children and the Center for Women in Business. The programs, research, and collective work of the IWL position Rutgers–New Brunswick as a premier site for deepening research and expanding opportunities to develop women’s leadership for social change. We also proudly support our women-identified students though our Office of Career Exploration and Success, Division of Student Affairs and our position as a leader in sexual violence prevention.

As a Rutgers alumnus myself and the father of two Rutgers-attending daughters, I am very proud of Rutgers–New Brunswick’s leadership on these issues. Like many institutions, we have work to do to fully support the advancement of those who identify as women and other historically marginalized identities. I am committed to this work, and fully engaged in the inclusive path forward.

— Christopher J. Molloy, Ph.D.
Chancellor, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

March 12, 2021: Recognizing a Year of Tragedy and Perseverance

Chancellor Brian L. Strom
Brian L. Strom

Dear Colleagues,

In spite of the hardships we endured this past year, our community's resilience and commitment to our patients, students, and research distinguished us as a leader in enhancing the future of human health.

Our providers continue to achieve the highest quality care and outcomes for our patients. The liver transplant program at Rutgers-affiliated University Hospital in Newark was co-ranked first in the nation, for its one-year patient survival rate, according to data from the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients. Additionally, the principal teaching hospitals of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) and New Jersey Medical School (NJMS), i.e., Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick and University Hospital in Newark, were recently named two of Newsweek's 2021 Best Maternity Care Hospitals.

Dr. Jeffrey Carson and the New Jersey Alliance for Clinical and Translational Science (NJACTS) led a Phase 3 clinical research trial site for Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, which was the second most successful among the 200 sites around the world. NJACTS has also excelled as a leader in participation in National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences-sponsored interventional trials against COVID-19, ranking third nationally in participant recruitment.

Dr. Shawna Hudson and NJACTS researchers garnered $5 million in grant funding as part of an NIH initiative that aims to reduce disparities in COVID-19 testing. RWJMS and NJMS researchers were awarded a two-year, $1.6 million grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health in support of the creation of a collaborative network seeking to help predict which children are at greatest risk for serious illness from SARS-CoV-2.

These are just a very few of the many significant research and clinical care accomplishments we have provided for our community members these past few months.

I appreciate all of your hard work and ongoing commitment. Please stay safe and remember to Wear a Mask, Watch Your Distance, and Wash Your Hands.

— Brian L. Strom
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences

February 26, 2021: Working Toward Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience

Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy
Chancellor Christopher Molloy

“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Last week, the programming and activities surrounding educational access served as a reminder of the unique contributions and needs of first-generation, low-income, and other underserved student groups, and our essential role in removing barriers. As part of that programming, I asked that we highlight some members of our community who exemplify our shared values of inclusion and educational access. As both Chancellor and a graduate of this university, I am very proud of the dedication and commitment evident in the quotes shared. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and specifically thank Dr. Lisa Sanon-Jules, Dr. Michelle Shostack, Rebecca Reynolds, Kevin Ewell, Afsheen Shamsi, Michelle Smith, Susan Romano, Karima Woodyard, Barbara Blackwell, Dr. Geraldine Cochran, Justin Kelley, Stacey Blackwell, Lindsay Jeffers, and Priscilla Pineda for their work and commitment.

Earlier this week, I shared an email reiterating my full support of the university’s diversity strategic planning process. While there is much work ahead to ensure that our policies and practices support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), the Access Week faculty and staff highlights serve as a reminder that there are individuals in our community who have already been productively engaged in this work.

Dr. King reminded us: “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.” I would like to thank everyone who has supported DEI initiatives at Rutgers, even when it was not the popular thing to do. And as I further develop an understanding of DEI, I have a deeper appreciation for the invisible labor involved in cultivating community and true belonging. I remain committed to this essential work, and I will continue to highlight members of our community who uphold our shared Rutgers Knights Call values by exemplifying authenticity, inclusivity, responsibility, resiliency, and engagement. In the coming months, you can expect to see more initiatives designed to recognize such outstanding members of “R” community.

— Christopher J. Molloy, Ph.D.
Chancellor, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

February 12, 2021: Celebrating Black History

Chancellor Brian L. Strom
Brian L. Strom

Dear Colleagues,

I am proud to reflect on the progress we continue to make toward our common goals despite the challenging circumstances of a pandemic that is nearing one year in duration.

Last week we announced a significant achievement in the integration of clinical services provided within our Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and RWJBarnabas Health medical group practices through the execution of an Integrated Practice Agreement. This agreement creates one of the largest integrated health systems in the country and advances our mission to build a premier academic health system dedicated to education, research and the delivery of healthcare to benefit patients, students and the citizens of New Jersey.

The RBHS Strategic Plan Steering Committee continues to make progress in the development of the new RBHS strategic plan. I am grateful that so many of our community members have contributed to the process by serving on planning subcommittees and participating in the townhalls held late last year. RBHS community members will receive an email soon from the strategic planning committee with an invitation to share feedback and insights via a strategic planning survey.

Finally, I hope that you will join us as we continue our efforts to build an inclusive academy, and a beloved community as part of the Universitywide Diversity Strategic Planning initiative. To do so, please complete the Diversity Strategic Planning Assessment Survey. Your participation is essential as we define our actionable goals toward inclusive excellence.

Thank you for all of your hard work and your commitment to advancing these critical goals. Please get the vaccine when it is available to you and continue to stay safe and remember to Wear a Mask, Watch Your Distance, and Wash Your Hands.

— Brian L. Strom
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences

January 29, 2021: Supporting a Strong Community in 2021

Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy
Chancellor Christopher Molloy

Dear Colleagues,

The spring semester is in full swing!

Now that two weeks have already passed, I want to take this opportunity to share my appreciation for all the ongoing work of our talented faculty and staff. You have demonstrated resilience and the ability to succeed despite all that the challenges the COVID pandemic has presented. The university would not have been able to function successfully this past year without the dedication of each and every one of you.

We also need to take a moment to recognize that we have lost several members of our university community this past year. Academic leaders, champions, and friends including Professors Cheryl Wall, Ruth Mandel, and Andrew Brooks, as well as Zimmerli Director Tom Sokolowski and many others were taken far too soon, and we miss them greatly.

Given this emotional toll, it remains important that we practice self-care, extend grace to one another, and continue to come together as a strong community. Although we are mostly physically apart, we have proven that our bonds are strong, and transcend the remote environment in which we operate so often.

We will continue to navigate the challenges and opportunities ahead in that spirit as we serve our students and colleagues. Please don’t hesitate to utilize the resources available through the Employee Assistance Program if needed.

Thank you for your continued excellence and commitment.

— Christopher J. Molloy, Ph.D.
Chancellor, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

December 18, 2020: Faculty Honors, 2020 Reflections, and more

Chancellor Brian L. Strom
Brian L. Strom

Dear Colleagues, 

This week we celebrated a milestone in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. With the initial rollout of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the United States, the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel has begun to appear before us.

Like many of you, I was filled with both hope and pride on Tuesday morning when Governor Phil Murphy joined us in Newark at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School as we partnered with University Hospital in the first vaccinations in New Jersey. Robert Johnson, Dean of New Jersey Medical School and Interim Dean of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, was the second individual vaccinated. Anticipating the pending shipment of the vaccine from Pfizer, University Hospital created the vaccine clinic at NJMS adjacent to the hospital. Staffed and structured with guidance from state and federal health officials, the clinic has the potential to administer at least 600 vaccinations daily. Nearly simultaneous to the event in Newark, colleagues from RWJBarnabas Health began vaccinating healthcare workers at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.

Help has arrived in the form of the vaccine. In New Jersey, the initial allocation of vaccines during the first phase will be to those serving in paid and unpaid positions in health care settings as well as residents of long-term care facilities. The second phase, which will prioritize essential workers and those at high risk from the disease, will begin in very early 2021. Also, there is optimism that the FDA will soon grant Emergency Use Authorization to the Moderna vaccine, which was tested as part of a clinical trial at NJMS. The results for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, for which Rutgers was the #2 recruiting site in the world, will emerge soon as well. We are hopeful that these vaccines may be available to adults in the general public in the spring.

Our team will continue to bring you the latest updates and critical information on the pandemic. Yesterday, I began the first weekly COVID-19 Health Briefing, which will provide an opportunity for information sharing and clarification on COVID-19-related topics. In January, we will launch a podcast that will examine the critical, real-time challenges we are facing in our fight to recover from the pandemic. 

While the news is good, the pandemic is far from over. Cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey have likely not yet peaked in this second wave. Contact tracers still face resistance and there is still much we do not know about this novel coronavirus. However, there is hope and much to look forward to as we begin our recovery.

— Brian L. Strom
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences

December 4, 2020: Clinical Trial, Year in Review, and more

Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy
Chancellor Christopher Molloy

Dear Colleagues,

As we approach the final weeks of 2020, we are provided an annual opportunity for reflection. Of course, this year has been like no other, and each of us has been challenged in ways we never anticipated.

Early in the year, the COVID-19 pandemic required us to quickly change the course of our operations to maintain the safety and health of our community. Our faculty and staff responded admirably, despite many challenges. Our dedicated faculty were largely able to successfully effectuate an unprecedented move to a fully remote environment to ensure the continuation of all academic courses. Our staff responded rapidly to the changing needs of the University and worked tirelessly behind the scenes to not only support our students, but ensure our daily operations were managed effectively, even from afar. In addition, researchers throughout Rutgers initiated groundbreaking research to fight the pandemic, and even now, clinical trials testing vaccines and new therapeutic treatments for COVID-19 are ongoing, right on our New Brunswick campus.

So today, even from a distance, our extended university community maintains the positive spirit of Rutgers. While these last 12 months have tested our collective strength in ways big and small, we have responded with the resiliency that reflects our university’s 254-year history. Rutgers has faced challenges before; we have endured trials and celebrated triumphs, and that is what makes our bond as members of this extraordinary university so strong.

As we close out 2020, I thank you for your continued commitment to Rutgers and for all your work to support education, academic and research excellence, and community service. I also so look forward to the days when we are back together, on campus, safely once again, hopefully very soon.

— Christopher J. Molloy, Ph.D.
Chancellor, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

November 20, 2020: Two-Step Login, RBHS Research Is Up, and More

Chancellor Brian L. Strom
Chancellor Brian L. Strom, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences

Dear Colleagues,

As we persist through a second wave of the pandemic in New Jersey, I want to share the good news of the steady progress we have made in growing the research enterprise at RBHS. As a critical area of our three-part mission, we have cultivated an environment in our schools, centers, and institutes to promote scholarship, innovation, and discovery.

In a word, the growth of our research portfolio has been spectacular. Since 2014, research awards (in dollars) have grown by 67 percent and, save for a short pandemic-related dip from FY19 to FY20, we have seen consistent year-over-year growth, culminating in our reported $365 million for FY20. Thus far in FY21 the news is again good; we are tracking substantially ahead of our FY20 numbers. Through the first quarter of FY21, our federal grant awards ($64 million), are up by 29 percent versus the same timeframe last year. 

But dollars don’t do justice to the impact that this research has in local and global populations. Among many other achievements, in cancer, we have retained designation as New Jersey’s only NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center, which allows us to continue our work toward new oncological therapies while serving as New Jersey’s prime destination for treatment. We have established the New Jersey Alliance for Clinical and Translational Science (NJ ACTS), a statewide hub for clinical and translational science. NJ ACTS has earned for the first time in New Jersey a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), which will increase our university’s access to clinical trials, help introduce new therapies, and create opportunities for increased funding. CTSA awards support a national network of more than 50 medical research institutions nationwide that collaborate to speed the translation of research discoveries into improved patient care. NJ ACTS has recently supported one of the largest studies of the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare workers and secured NIH funding to develop COVID-19 testing strategies in vulnerable populations.  Numerous investigations to learn more about the human microbiome, neurological disorders, and environmental health are breaking new ground, too.

In sum, this is an important and exciting time to be a part of RBHS. Though the toll of COVID-19 – its physical, emotional, and mental stresses – have been difficult, I am amazed and proud every day at our innovative contributions to ending the pandemic, as well as our continuing progress in all our other research pursuits. My thanks and appreciation go to all of you who are working diligently to create new knowledge in pursuit of bettering the human condition.

— Brian L. Strom
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences

November 6, 2020: Adopt-A-Family; First-Generation Students; & Town Halls

Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy
Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy

Dear Colleagues,

Next week, Rutgers–New Brunswick will join our nation’s colleges and universities as we celebrate the contributions and achievements of first-generation students. This event coincides with the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which opened the doors to college for millions of smart, low- and middle-income Americans by establishing need-based grants, work-study opportunities, and federal student loans.

I, too, was the first in my family to attend college. I attended Rutgers as an undergrad and was inspired by the staff and faculty to continue my education. I’ve found that my story is not unique at Rutgers; like me, many of our faculty and staff are first-generation. It’s one of the reasons we understand the grit of our students and are deeply committed to access. We know first-hand how education can be an equalizer. 

As a land-grant institution, providing access to a premier education for those with the academic desire and talent has long been a part of our history. More than that, the shared appreciation of education is in our DNA.

If you are a first-generation student, I hope you will take a moment to share your story with the Rutgers–New Brunswick community on social media by using #RUFIRST. You can also email me at ChancellorNB@rutgers.edu to share how your experience as a first-generation has informed the way in which you serve students. I’d love to hear from you.

I hope that you’ll join me as we recognize our first-generation students, faculty, and staff’s accomplishments during next week’s celebration, and support them as they say #RUFIRST.

— Christopher J. Molloy, Ph.D.
Chancellor, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

October 23, 2020: Revised FY21 Budget Information

Chancellor Brian L. Strom
Brian L. Strom

Dear Colleagues,

Despite the hardships we have all endured these past few months, I continue to be inspired by our community’s resilience and commitment to our patients, students, and research.

A few of our outstanding employees were recognized as the first recipients of the RBHS Chancellor’s Awards. This annual recognition program was established this year to acknowledge the extraordinary work of our faculty and staff. Congratulations to all of our 2020 honorees.

Last month, Vicente Gracias, MD announced an important milestone in the partnership between Rutgers and RWJBarnabas Health. Rutgers Health has been accredited as a Sponsoring Institution by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. As the single Sponsoring Institution for the GME programs for both Rutgers and RWJBarnabas Health, we are now better aligned to cultivate integrated programs that attract top-achieving students, trainees, faculty, and clinical providers and prepare our approximately 1,700 residents and fellows to lead at the forefront of healthcare.

I am also happy to share that the critical work of the NJACTS collaborative continues to enhance the health of our communities. It was announced last week that the group garnered a $5 million National Institutes of Health grant to launch outreach campaigns and expand access to COVID-19 testing for underserved and vulnerable communities in New Jersey.

Thank you for all of your hard work and commitment. Please stay safe and remember to Wear a Mask, Watch Your Distance, and Wash Your Hands.

— Brian L. Strom
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences

October 9, 2020

Useful Information for Faculty and Staff about Voting

Dear Colleagues:

Each October the Rutgers president writes to students, many of whom are new to voting, to remind them of the upcoming deadline for registration and to encourage them to vote in November. President Holloway followed that tradition with our students earlier this month, but because of the unusual nature of voting this year related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to share similar information with you.

As you likely know, registration deadlines differ from state to state. In our region, the last day to register in New York is Oct. 9; Delaware is Oct. 10; New Jersey is Oct. 13; and Pennsylvania is Oct. 19. Information about the registration and voting process in each state is available at ruvoting.rutgers.edu.

For residents of New Jersey, we want to share the following information made available through the Eagleton Institute of Politics.

Because of COVID-19 precautions, all active registered voters in New Jersey will receive a mail-in ballot at the address they cited on their voter registration forms. If you need to change your address, you will need to update your voter registration by Oct. 13 or you can request that a mail-in ballot be mailed to a different address where you are temporarily located.

If you prefer to vote using a mail-in ballot:

   Vote, sign, seal, and return your ballot via one of four options:

  1. Deposit your ballot at a secure drop box location (for those registered in Middlesex County, a ballot drop box is located on the Rutgers–New Brunswick College Avenue Campus in The Yard);
  2. Use the U.S. Postal Service, with the ballot postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 3;
  3. Bring your ballot to your county Board of Elections Office; or
  4. Bring your ballot to a polling location on Election Day (check link above before you go as some polling locations will change due to COVID-19).

   Track and verify that your ballot was counted.

If you prefer to vote in person on Election Day:

You can go to a polling location between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3, to vote in-person (check this link before you go as some polling locations will change due to COVID-19). However, since you would have already received a mail-in-ballot, you will need to vote via a provisional ballot. This is because election officials need to check to make sure that you are registered and that you did not complete and submit a mail-in-ballot. Voters with disabilities can vote by using a polling machine.

For more information about voting in New Jersey, visit the state’s 2020 New Jersey Voter Information Portal. Finally, we invite you to visit Rutgers’ Election 2020 webpage where we highlight our faculty experts’ insight and analysis on a diverse range of issues impacting the 2020 presidential election.

We hope this information is helpful as you exercise your right to vote in 2020 and support our students as they engage in this important act of democratic citizenship.

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Molloy, Ph.D.
Chancellor, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Brian L. Strom,
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences

September 25, 2020

Chancellor Molloy and Chancellor Strom

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As faculty and staff of Rutgers–New Brunswick and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, you play a pivotal role in helping our university advance its mission of teaching, research, and service to the state of New Jersey and beyond. That's why it is important for us as chancellors to keep you informed on the latest university news, including updates on high-priority projects, changes in key personnel and other useful information you should know as a member of our Rutgers community. In each issue, you’ll hear from one of us or another member of our leadership teams.

The start to this year's fall semester is unlike any before it, but we remain buoyed by the engagement, optimism and determination of our faculty, staff and students. We are finding innovative ways to teach, engage our community in a way that transcends distance and have witnessed a renewed commitment to support our students and patients—whatever their needs are and wherever they are located. We speak on behalf of a grateful Rutgers community when we say thank you for how quickly you've responded to these changes and stepped up to the challenges in front of us.

We also would like to recognize our tireless researchers and front-line health care workers who also are making unique contributions to the fight against COVID-19.

We are looking forward to sharing news and updates with you in future editions of The Current.

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Molloy, Ph.D.
Chancellor, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Brian L. Strom
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences