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University partnership aims to bring more veterinarians, doctors to N.J.

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Monmouth University, in West Long Branch, has partnered with an international university to give more New Jersey students the opportunity to pursue careers in medicine or veterinary science, school officials announced.

When those students graduate, the hope is they will start their practices in the Garden State.

"St. George's University joined forces with Monmouth University so that we can both positively address the physician and veterinarian shortage and help the state of New Jersey educate and train well-qualified professionals truly prepared to practice 21st-century health care," said Charles Modica, chancellor of St. George's, which is based on the island of Grenada in the West Indies, in a statement.

The partnership will offer joint B.S./M.D. and B.S./D.V.M. degrees. Qualified students will complete a bachelor's degree in biology or health sciences at Monmouth. Future M.D.s will then move on to St. George's University to complete their first two years of medical training, serving out the remaining two years of the M.D. program by participating in clinical rotations at hospitals in the United States or United Kingdom.

D.V.M. students will attend St. George's for three years, and then spend their final clinical year at affiliated veterinary schools in the United States, Canada, Australia or Ireland.

"After visiting St. George's campus, I knew that Monmouth University students would benefit from a great medical or veterinarian education there. The campus and island are beautiful, and the faculty is top notch," said Dr. Bernadette Dunphy, co-director of the pre-professional health advisory committee at Monmouth, in a statement.

Though these students will complete their medical or veterinary training outside elsewhere, the hope is that they will be drawn back to New Jersey, particularly since the state is home for so many of them. Of the university's 4,700 students, 87 percent come from New Jersey, according to the university.

Reporter Mary Johnson is @mjohns422 on Twitter.

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