Page 3 - RU RWJ Medicine Magazine • Winter 2021
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Message from the Dean
Dear Friends,
After an extremely challenging year in which the pandemic
dominated our lives, hope and help arrived in the form of
vaccines to fight the deadly coronavirus. Many health care workers at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School were among the first people to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, while countless others volunteered to administer vaccinations.
From the start of the pandemic, Rutgers researchers and physician-scientists mobilized. Our team began collecting data on treating patients and was also at the forefront of both risk assessment and clinical studies. Read how these studies and vaccine development have impacted health care delivery globally on page 21.
The pandemic not only affected physical wellness, but also jeopardized mental health, as new statistics show rising rates of people considering suicide and mental illness nationwide. Affecting health care workers at even higher rates, the Department of Psychiatry began im- plementing programs to proactively address this public health problem and avert an even larger crisis (page 4).
The fight for racial justice did not end in 2020. The medical school continues its fight against racism and has developed initiatives to create a clinical learning environment free of bias and to improve health care equity for all people regardless of race or zip code. Read about the school’s plans to address health disparities and biases on page 12.
One alumnus is challenging the systemic racism and implicit bias in the health care system in a monumental way. Foluso Fakorede, MD ’06, is working to lower the amputation rate among Black patients in rural Mississippi. Through preventative health care, screenings, and more, Dr. Fakorede has decreased the rate of amputations by 88 percent (page 38).
The strength and spirit of our faculty, staff, residents and fellows, students, and alumni have been continually tested throughout this pandemic. I am in awe at not only the resilience of our community, but perseverance to make things better. I hope you enjoy reading about the true heroism I see every day.
Interim Dean
A publication for alumni and friends of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Winter 2021
Volume 20, Number 2
Interim Dean
Robert L. Johnson, MD, FAAP
Executive Editor
Patricia M. Hansen, MA Chief of Staff and Executive Director, Public Affairs
Jillian Prior, MPA
Assistant Director, Alumni Affairs
Jennifer Forbes Mullenhard Beth-Ann Kerber
Leonard Y. Lee, MD ’92 Lauren S. Peele-Marshall Kate O’Neill
Jillian Prior, MPA Marisol Seda Patti Verbanas
Art Direction/Design
Barbara Walsh Graphic Design
Cover Design
Barbara Walsh
Alumni Association Officers:
Deborah Saez-Lacy, MD ’86
Vice President
Perry Ritota, MD ’89
Elias Iliadis, MD '92
Hank Lubin, MD ’83
Editorial and Advertising Office:
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
317 George Street • Suite 215 New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Tel: 732-235-6307 Fax: 732-235-9570
Robert L. Johnson, MD, FAAP
Robert Wood Johnson | MEDICINE 1

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