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Rutgers, RWJBarnabas working on major research, educational partnership

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Barry Ostrowsky of RWJBarnabas Health talked about a potential Rutgers University partnership at a business roundtable.
Barry Ostrowsky of RWJBarnabas Health talked about a potential Rutgers University partnership at a business roundtable. - ()

Rutgers University and RWJBarnabas Health are working on an extensive strategic partnership that could include research investment and medical student internships.

RWJBarnabas is interested in investing and supporting research at Rutgers, as well as making Rutgers medical students a top priority for educational and internship programs at the health system. The relationship would potentially give RWJBarnabas “bench-to-bedside” access to the results of research at the university.

The idea was discussed publicly for the first time at an NJPAC business roundtable Tuesday, in front of an audience of about 150. Barry Ostrowsky, CEO of RWJBarnabas, and Robert Barchi, president of Rutgers, presented the idea.

It has been in the works for over a year, prior to the official merger of RWJ and Barnabas Health, according to Ostrowsky.

He said the goal is to have a letter of intent or memorandum of understanding signed by the end of the year, and a definitive agreement by July 2017.

The partnership would entail investment into and greater support of the clinical research at Rutgers by RWJBarnabas, and in turn giving priority to medical students from the university for internships.

Whether or not this affects RWJBarnabas’ ability to continue partnerships with other schools for residency programs and other educational programs is still unclear, Ostrowsky said.

RWJBarnabas is looking at “our capacity to train students and residents from multiple medical schools. Our first priority would be the Rutgers medical school. That is our guiding principle,” Ostrowksy said.

The partnership would be “beyond anything that would be in an affiliation agreement the way medical schools and provider organizations are typically related,” he said.

But whatever agreement is reached, Ostrowsky said, it would take a number of academic years before any sort of exclusivity would be effected.

Ostrowsky said the two are not ready for any formal announcement on the partnership idea, and discussions are ongoing.

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