Message from Robert L. Johnson, MD, FAAP

The New Year is the perfect time for new beginnings. I am excited and humbled to begin my new role as the interim dean of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. As dean of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School since 2011, and interim dean for six years prior, I am quite familiar with the role and responsibilities of the position, but I look forward to the process of getting to know all of you and understanding the culture and inner workings of your medical school and learning how I can assist in supporting your individual and collective goals and aspirations. As a fellow clinician, I look forward to practicing with you side-by-side. I am already so pleased with what I have learned during my visits in the past few weeks, and the warm welcome that you have provided.

Beginning today, it is my sincere hope that we will work together to discover the unlimited possibilities for continued success in all mission areas. I will work very hard to become immersed in the latest initiatives and look for ways to elevate your success. There is so much to be proud of and a strong foundation and proud history to build upon.

It is first and foremost our medical students who ground us, inspire us and continue to be an enormous source of pride to all of us. They remind me daily of the importance of academic medicine. To that end, please accept my congratulations on the successful LCME visit that occurred last year! Also impressive is the large increase in applications to Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. In 2018, there was a 40 percent increase in students applying to this medical school, which speaks volumes to its growing influence and reputation; the increase nationally was a modest 2.2 percent.

I also wish to applaud your dedication to safety and quality in the clinical practice. I look forward to joining you in the Studer Group initiative that began last month to build a sustainable culture, promote accountability, foster innovation, and consistently deliver a great patient experience and quality outcomes. This work will build upon The Joint Commission Ambulatory Accreditation and help to lead Rutgers Health as we work to develop the new combined medical group with our colleagues throughout Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and our partners at RWJBarnabas Health.

The research mission continues to build an impressive portfolio of NIH and extramural funding. I look forward to working with the research community to enhance collaboration and cross-pollination among departments and across Rutgers, to further expand research funding and maximize the potential of the RWJBarnabas Health partnership in terms of recruitment. This collaboration has the ability to exponentially expand the depth and breadth of the impact of our research nationally and well beyond our borders.

It is my understanding that expanding influence beyond our borders occurs through an active Office of Global Health that offers students invaluable opportunities across the globe in education, clinical care and research. All of this is housed organizationally, within the overall community health mission that is in many ways known best by the outstanding work of the Eric B. Chandler Health Center and the school’s student-run service learning programs.

It is important to recognize that all of this work was accomplished during Dean Sherine E. Gabriel’s tenure. I want to recognize her hard work and thank her for her leadership. My goal is to continue the trajectory of success that is already in progress.

It is difficult to aptly describe my pride in being asked by Chancellor Brian L. Strom to lead this medical school. However, I fully realize and appreciate that the success of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School is embedded in the goals, aspirations and accomplishments of the faculty, staff and students. It is my sincere hope that by working with Executive Vice Dean Thomas Hecker, the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School leadership team, department chairs and all of you, I can help to facilitate that success. 

The first step will be to meet and continue to get to know you and your school. Please join me at a
lunch reception on January 24, 2019 in the Clinical Academic Building from 11 am to 12:30 pm
 to begin the process of working together to achieve even greater success for the entire Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School community.



Robert L. Johnson, MD, FAAP
Interim Dean, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
The Sharon and Joseph L. Muscarelle Endowed Dean
New Jersey Medical School