A Brief Two-Month Progress Report for the RBHS Community

To members of the RBHS Community:

I am delighted to provide you with a brief two-month update on the progress we are making in creating the organization that we want RBHS to become.

It gives me great pleasure to inform you that Kathleen Bramwell, MBA (kathleen.bramwell@rutgers.edu), has become RBHS senior vice chancellor and its chief financial and administrative officer, effective January 6. She has responsibility for recommending strategies to assure RBHS's fiscal solvency, economic well-being, and administrative efficiency and effectiveness. Ms. Bramwell came from the University of Pennsylvania, where she served for more than 25 years in various financial and administrative roles. Most recently at Penn, Ms. Bramwell was vice dean for finance and administration in the School of Arts & Sciences. We're very fortunate to have recruited Ms. Bramwell, given her talents and experience.

In addition, two interim provosts have been appointed: Jeffrey Carson, MD (jeffrey.carson@rutgers.edu), professor of medicine and chief, division of general internal medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS); and Robert Wieder, MD, PhD (wiederro@njms.rutgers.edu), associate director of clinical and translational cancer research and professor of medicine, New Jersey Medical School. Drs. Carson and Wieder are responsible for overseeing the faculty appointment and promotion processes for New Brunswick-based and Newark-based schools and faculty, respectively. Together, they are leading an initiative to revise and standardize the appointment and promotion criteria across RBHS, while working to ensure consistency with university-wide policies. Please contact Drs. Carson and Wieder any time during the next six months regarding your thoughts and concerns about these important issues.

Vicente Gracias, MD, has been appointed interim dean of RWJMS, effective February 1. Dr. Gracias also is professor of surgery and chief of acute care surgery at RWJMS, and director of both adult and pediatric trauma centers at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. At RWJMS, Dr. Gracias has created acute critical care as a new surgical specialty, conducted research on specialty areas of acute care, and held a number of significant national leadership positions, helping to shape policy within multiple institutions across the country. His clinical leadership and professional experience will be particularly valuable during this time of transition as we strengthen our commitment to excellence in efficient clinical care and the advancement of the biomedical and health sciences across RBHS.

Dr. Gracias succeeds Peter Amenta, MD, who resigned recently as dean and has returned to his RWJMS faculty position as professor of pathology and laboratory medicine. Dr. Amenta's accomplishments as dean are many, including the crucial role he played in the integration of the former University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey with Rutgers. He led RWJMS through some tumultuous times during his seven-year term as dean and we thank him for his service.

Further, as promised, our strategic planning process has begun. An initial survey was distributed early in January to all current RBHS faculty, staff, and students, as well as RBHS alumni and retirees, subject to the availability of mailing lists. A second survey was distributed early in February to all Rutgers faculty members. The results of these surveys will guide us as we move forward in the development of our strategic plan. I ask RBHS faculty members to please complete the second survey if they have not done so already.

Our Strategic Planning Steering Committee has been formed. Robert DiPaola, MD, director of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and professor of medicine, RWJMS, chairs the committee. See the attached table for a list of committee members. Please feel free to contact any of these individuals between now and June as the strategic planning process moves forward.

To further guide us as we develop our strategic plan, a strategic planning speaker series is being initiated. Guest speakers, including local and external experts, will provide monthly presentations from February through June about the future of health care, its organization (e.g., population health and accountable care organizations), and what the Affordable Care Act may mean for RBHS. Speakers, dates, and locations will be announced shortly.

Finally, we have begun a process to develop metrics to measure faculty productivity across all RBHS missions. As I have said on multiple occasions, I am a firm believer that one cannot build a great institution without a great faculty, and one cannot recruit and retain a great faculty without rewarding them appropriately. Those rewards need to be tied, in turn, to productivity, as is the case at most institutions, so that our most productive faculty can be rewarded accordingly for that productivity.

Thank you for all you have done and are doing for RBHS. I look forward to the challenges and excitement of this new semester.


Brian Strom