Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University Celebrates White Coat Ceremony for Inaugural Class

New Jersey's first private medical school in more than 50 years will offer an innovative curriculum and address the state's looming physician shortage

NUTLEY, N.J., July 11, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sixty students in the first class at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine launched their medical careers with a White Coat ceremony at the school, which was created to address a looming physician shortage and to transform medical education to meet new challenges in health care delivery.

"We welcome this exceptional class of students to the physician community by giving them a white coat, an enduring symbol of compassion and honor,'' said Robert C. Garrett, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health.

Garrett noted that more than 2,100 students applied for the 60 slots. The class includes two practicing RN's, five graduate students, as well as a future physician with a Ph.D. in pharmacology. Half the students are from New Jersey and nearly half are women.

The innovative curriculum offers a three-year program so students can start their residencies a year early or stay on and obtain a graduate degree. Only a dozen or so medical schools offer three-year programs, which lower the cost of a medical education. The curriculum is based on an approach that focuses equally on maintaining health and curing illness.

"We have created a rigorous academic curriculum that combines traditional science with a focus on the new frontiers in medicine - prevention, population health, genetics and team-based care delivered in the community setting,'' said Mary Meehan, Ph.D., interim president of Seton Hall University.

Along with the opening of the School of Medicine, Seton Hall University has relocated its College of Nursing and School of Health and Medical Sciences to create an Interprofessional Health Sciences (IHS) campus in Nutley and Clifton, Meehan said.

"As we have come to recognize the importance of social factors on health outcomes, we better understand that health and wellness occur in the community, not in the hospital,'' said Dr. Bonita Stanton, founding dean of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University. "We are teaching our students the power and importance of community in improving the arc of a population's health.''

Additionally, the Hackensack Meridian Health Board of Trustees has established a $100 million endowment fund for scholarships to the school, fulfilling a high priority to ensure top students can afford a medical education, Mr. Garrett said.

Students will train in several of Hackensack Meridian Health's 16 hospitals including four of whom are listed among the top 10 in New Jersey, including the No. 1 ranked Hackensack University Medical Center.

Research shows that physicians often practice where they train which would help the state ease a shortage of an estimated 3,000 doctors by 2020.

The innovative curriculum will help future physicians navigate major changes in health care that are underway in the U.S. including the transition to value-based care in which physicians and hospitals are paid to keep people well. It's a major shift from fee-for-service medicine in which providers are paid for each treatment and procedure.

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. Even though the U.S. spends far more than many nations, we lag behind other peer nations in all major areas of health including maternal and infant health and life expectancy. This new approach aims to eliminate disparities in health outcomes.

Students will develop partnerships with families living in stressed communities and shadow them to understand and help families overcome factors that can impede or contribute to well-being, such as access to grocery stores and transportation to access care.

"We are thrilled to be part of the solution to reform health care from the ground up and we are so proud of our inaugural class of talented and compassionate future physicians,'' said Joseph Simunovich, co-chair of the Hackensack Meridian Health Board of Trustees and chair of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University Board of Governors.

About Hackensack Meridian Health
Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 16 hospitals, including three academic medical centers, two children's hospitals and nine community hospitals, two rehabilitation hospitals, physician practices, more than 180 ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, and urgent care facilities. Hackensack Meridian Health has 33,000 team members, more than 6,500 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

The Network's notable distinctions include having one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America's 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more consecutive years, four hospitals ranked among the top 10 in New Jersey, including Hackensack University Medical Center, the No. 1 hospital, Jersey Shore University Medical Center at No. 4 and Ocean and Riverview Medical Centers tied at No. 8., as ranked by U.S. News and World Report. Other honors include consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, recipient of the John M. Eisenberg Award for Patient Safety and Quality from The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum, a six-time recipient of Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For," one of the "20 Best Workplaces in Health Care" in the nation, and the number one "Best Place to Work for Women." Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.

For additional information, please visit www.HackensackMeridianHealth.org.

One of the country's leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall has been developing students in mind, heart and spirit since 1856. Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offering more than 90 rigorous academic programs, Seton Hall's academic excellence has been singled out for distinction by The Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Seton Hall embraces students of all religions and prepares them to be exemplary servant leaders and global citizens. In recent years, the University has achieved extraordinary success. Since 2009, it has seen record-breaking undergraduate enrollment growth and an impressive 93-point increase in the average SAT scores of incoming freshmen. In the past decade, Seton Hall students and alumni have received 24 Fulbright Scholarships as well as other prestigious academic honors, including Boren Awards, Pickering Fellowships, Udall Scholarships and a Rhodes Scholarship. In the past five years, the University has invested more than $150 million in new campus buildings and renovations. And in 2015, Seton Hall launched a School of Medicine as well as a College of Communication and the Arts. A founding member of the Big East Conference, the Seton Hall Pirates field 14 NCAA Division I varsity sports teams.

The University's beautiful main campus is located in suburban South Orange, New Jersey, and is only 14 miles from New York City -- offering students a wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities. Seton Hall's nationally recognized School of Law is prominently located in downtown Newark. The University's new Interprofessional Health Sciences (IHS) campus in Clifton and Nutley, N.J. will open in the summer of 2018. The IHS campus will house University's College of Nursing and School of Health and Medical Sciences and will be co-located with the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University.

For more information, visit www.shu.edu.

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SOURCE Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University


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