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Robert Wood Johnson
scathed through the recent problems at
UMDNJ in that realm. That is not to say
that we neglected the imperative to grow.
After waiting in vain for a decade for a
promised on-campus teaching hospital,
we developed a more than just credible
comprehensive academic medical center,
almost entirely from scratch. This was
dramatically brought home to me dur-
ing my visit in June, as one of the high-
lights was a tour of the wonderfully suc-
cessful Rutgers Cancer Institute of New
Jersey. As I toured, I got special satis-
faction from recalling that our initial
submission of an application for a cen-
ter planning grant from the National
Cancer Institute was returned without
review because it was deemed that we
could not succeed as we were too close
to established centers in New York and
Philadelphia. Sometimes it pays to
dream big, even when the dream runs
contrary to established wisdom.
However, having enjoyed this brief
moment of nostalgia, I am forced to ad-
mit that Thomas Wolfe was more right
than wrong. You really cannot go home
again, because time more often than
not makes "home" unrecognizable.
Thus, "small but good" is no longer OK
in academic medicine. Market forces,
the Affordable Care Act, and other in-
fluences have driven our enterprises
toward massive consolidations. We now
have to have substantial size in addi-
tion to quality in order to compete and
flourish. We are fortunate in that re-
gard that New Jersey leaders had the
foresight to merge UMDNJ into a
greater Rutgers University. I believe that
Rutgers now has the critical mass to
develop an academically based state-
wide health care system that can serve
both the need of the public for quality
comprehensive care and our goal for
truly competitive programs in transla-
tional and clinical research. Rutgers now
also has the critical mass to develop
comprehensive, mature, and integrated
biotechnology/high-technology research
programs. This is important not only
for the standing of the university
among its peers but also to attract the
entrepreneurs who are much needed to
revitalize the economy of the state.
The changes ahead will present many
challenges, both institutionally and per-
sonally, and it would be naive to think
that it can be done without some sacri-
fice. To the alumni, faculty, students,
and friends of Robert Wood Johnson
Medical School, I say it is proper and
important to retain your well-deserved
pride in our values and in what we have
built together. However, it is now in the
interest of all to lay aside any residual
differences with our sister institutions
and take full advantage of the new par-
adigm. True cooperation and synergism
can lead to great accomplishments in
which we will all take even greater
pride. Finally, I must admit to having a
certain amount of envy of the current
leadership of the health and biological
science entities at Rutgers. Just as it was
exciting for me to join Rutgers Medical
School in its infancy and help it mature,
it must be equally exciting to be in a
position to shepherd the university
through this transformative time in its
The thoughts above are solely those
of the writer and are not intended to
represent the position of the adminis-
tration or governing bodies of Rutgers
--Norman H. Edelman, MD
Dean, Robert Wood Johnson Medical
School, 19871995
Dean, Stony Brook School of
Medicine, 19962006
he Piscataway/New Brunswick campus is my intellectual and
professional home. . . . It was here that I was able to establish a
satisfying scientific career; it was here that I learned pulmonary
medicine, alongside our initial fellows; and it was here that I
learned to be an administrator. . . . Mostly, though, it had simply
been great fun to join a new school in its infancy and play a
role in its growth and development.
--Norman H. Edelman, MD
Norman H. Edelman, MD, and his wife, Ida,
were pleased to attend the 2012 Scholarship Gala.