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January 28, 2014
Dear Members of the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Community:
It gives me great pleasure to announce that, effective February 1, 2014, Vicente H. Gracias, MD, will serve as interim dean of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. With the appointment of Dr. Gracias, Peter Amenta, MD, PhD, will return to the faculty as professor of pathology. We are grateful to Dr. Amenta for his years of service as dean, and will celebrate his accomplishments publicly in the near future. A national search to identify a permanent dean for Robert Wood Johnson Medical School will be organized in the near future.
Dr. Gracias is currently professor of surgery and chief of acute care surgery at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Fellowship trained and board certified in general surgery, trauma surgery, and surgical critical care, he also serves as the director of both the adult and pediatric trauma centers at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
Dr. Gracias received his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and his MD from the University of Utah School of Medicine. He completed residency training in general surgery at the University of Illinois in Chicago, Metro Group Hospitals, and a fellowship in trauma/surgical critical care at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) Medical Center. Dr. Gracias continued his career at Penn, rising quickly to associate professor of surgery and chief and medical director of surgical critical care services.
In 2009 Dr. Gracias was recruited to Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School to lead the creation of a new surgical specialty: acute care surgery. Five years later, access to trauma at Robert Wood Johnson has improved dramatically. Critical care service lines have grown from one to three and multi-disciplinary faculty members from internal medicine, anesthesia, and surgery have created a successful coordinated approach to enhanced quality-driven patient care. Outpatient service lines have also been conceived, designed, and deployed for wound care, hyperbaric medicine, and traumatic brain injury. Two fellowships in surgical specialties were formed and verified. The first pediatric trauma center in the history of New Jersey was established.
Dr. Gracias’ research focuses on specialty areas of acute care such as penetrating cervical trauma and hemodynamic monitoring, in which he has published extensively and lectured internationally. Currently, he is the principal investigator of an FDA-approved neutraceutical intervention trial for shock and sepsis in surgical patients. His textbook in acute care surgery has achieved international success and has been published in Russian.
Dr. Gracias has also held a number of significant national leadership positions and has had unique opportunities to help shape policy within multiple institutions across the country. He has served as the chair of the Surgery Section for the Society of Critical Care Medicine and board member of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma. He currently is treasurer for the EAST Foundation, sits on the advocacy committee for the American College of Surgery, and is an invited thought leader for White House expert panels. Dr. Gracias is dedicated to global health as well and has served as Vice President of the Pan American Trauma Society.
Dr. Gracias’ 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 Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, helping to better align Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Please join me in extending congratulations and thanks to Interim Dean Gracias for serving Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences in this important capacity.
Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH