NUTLEY, NJ - 1872 applications were received to be a part of the first class at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University where the first class of 55 students will start July 9.

Those students will be a part of the plan to address the shortage of physicians in New Jersey and forge a new path in medical education that addresses profound changes in health care which have resulted in more community-based care and an unprecedented focus on wellness and population health according to founding dean  Dr. Bonita Stanton. Research shows that physicians often practice where they train which would help the state ease a shortage of an estimated 3,000 doctors in New Jersey by 2020. 

“Our goal is to maximize health in all of the communities we serve, a goal best achieved through an interdisciplinary approach based on an understanding that health and wellness, as well as disease and sickness, occur where people live, work and play,’’ said Dr. Bonita Stanton. “We are humanizing health care.’’

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Interviews of candidates for the first class started last week, according to Dr. Jeffrey R. Boscamp, Associate Dean of Medical Education Continuum. Acceptances to the new school of medicine will being to go out in the next few weeks, Dr. Boscamp said.

Along with the opening of the School of Medicine, Seton Hall University will relocate its College of Nursing and School of Health and Medical Sciences to create an Interprofessional Health Sciences (IHS) campus in Nutley and Clifton this month, said Mary Meehan, Ph.D., interim president of Seton Hall University.

“We have created  a rigorous academic curriculum that combines traditional science with a focus on the new frontiers in medicine – prevention, population health, genetics and team-based care delivered in the community setting,’’ Dr. Meehan said.

Additionally, the Hackensack Meridian Health Board of Trustees recently voted to establish a $100 million endowment fund for scholarships to the school, fulfilling a high priority to ensure top students can afford a medical education, Garrett said.

 “Dynamic changes in health care require a new approach to medical education and we are thrilled to announce that we are accepting applications from so many talented and high achieving students,’’ said Robert C. Garrett, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. Students will train in several of Hackensack Meridian Health’s 16 hospitals.  

Additionally, the innovative curriculum will help future physicians navigate major changes in health care that are underway in the U.S. including the transition to value-based care in which physicians and hospitals are paid to keep people well. It’s a major shift from fee-for-service medicine in which providers are paid for each treatment and procedure.

The strategy is essential to improve outcomes and lower the cost of care as the U.S. faces an epidemic of diabetes and other chronic disease, which is costly and in many cases preventable. Even though the U.S. spends far more than virtually all nations, we lag behind other peer nations in all major areas of health including maternal and infant health and life expectancy. This new approach aims to eliminate disparities in health outcome by closely coordinating care and intervening earlier when problems develop.

Students will develop partnerships with families living in stressed communities and work with them to jointly understand and overcome factors that can impede or contribute to well-being, ranging from access to grocery stores  to taking advantage of new developments in telemedicine

The new school is also unique in that it offers a three-year program, one of only a dozen or so in the nation to take this approach which can lower the cost of a medical education.

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