Update from Senior Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs and Research

Dear Members of the RBHS Community,

I started my appointment as Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) senior vice chancellor, academic affairs and research, a few weeks ago (https://news.rutgers.edu/news/rutgers-names-senior-vice-chancellor-academic-affairs-and-research/20190510#.XajTkHmQKnU), and I am thrilled to have the privilege and opportunity to work with you and for you. I plan to update you, the RBHS community of faculty, learners and staff at regular intervals and as specific information and updates need to be disseminated.

I am very much looking forward to getting to know you and to work closely with RBHS provosts Patricia Fitzgerald-Bocarsly and Jeff Carson; vice chancellor for faculty development, Maral Mouradian; vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion, Sangeeta Lamba; vice chancellor for research, Kathleen Scotto; and the executive director for faculty affairs, Meredith Mullane. In my new role, I will report to and work closely with Chancellor Strom, in addition to teaming with senior vice chancellors Kathleen Bramwell and Vicente Gracias. The partnership with Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health will help energize and fuel multiple facets of research, education and training, and clinical activities. In addition, I will work closely with Susan Hamilton, assistant vice chancellor for academic & student affairs. RBHS is home to 11.3% of the nearly 71,400 currently enrolled students at RU, with graduate students making up nearly one-fourth of total RU graduate students. 

Some of the exciting efforts and plans that we will be undertaking include:

/ Updating the 2014 strategic plan (https://rbhs-stratplan.rutgers.edu/). This will be an extensive and broad effort that we expect to begin in 2020 with your full engagement, as was the case in the prior tremendous effort
/ Launch a $150 million 5-year biomedical research and innovation initiative aimed at building, growing and supporting new and existing research teams and research infrastructure (excluding any new buildings or space renovation). There will be more to come on this with the kick-off anticipated to be towards the end of 2020
/ An assessment of research cores, in partnership with Dr. David Kimball and his team at Rutgers University (RU) Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED). Drs Kimball and Copeland are currently undertaking an external review of the research cores (http://cores.rutgers.edu/home) across RU. In addition, Drs Céline Gélinas and William Gause co-chair a campus-wide committee that is carrying out a review of the ORED core facilities. There will be more on this in the coming year as full-scale assessment is carried out. There is clear consensus that research cores play a critical role in elevating our individual and collective research capability
/ Host townhall meetings, to take place during the next 6-9 months, initially with faculty then with students and postdoctoral fellows, at each of the RBHS schools. The goal of these meetings is for me to listen and hear from you what is working and what improvements we ought to consider. These meetings will not replace the essential focused and very important sessions held by the provosts and the vice chancellors
/ Promoting and enhancing translational and clinical research activities and infrastructure. This has already been bolstered significantly by the recent awarding of the NIH CTSA (https://academichealth.rutgers.edu/messages/2019-03-11-transformative-award-translational-science-and-medicine) led by Dr. Reynold Panettieri, RBHS vice chancellor for translational medicine and science

There are several other efforts related to academic and student affairs, mentoring and diversity that will continue or be newly initiated, with the above being a sampling of planned efforts. The engine of RBHS are its people, and its crown jewel are its students and other trainees. RBHS is unique among other major universities in the US in having the health-related schools under one close-knit family roof. This is evidenced, in part, by the close working relationship among RBHS deans, center and institute directors, the provosts and the chancellor’s office. Remarkable advances during the past five years have crystallized the largest merger in academic medicine in the United States between UMDNJ and RU. RBHS is poised to continue its move towards becoming among the elite biomedical and health campuses in the US, and I have no doubt that working together as a team will make this happen.


M. Bishr Omary, MD, PhD
Senior Vice Chancellor
Academic Affairs and Research
Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Rutgers University