By Jim Namiotka/The Star-Ledger

New Brunswick/Central Jersey
What’s happening
This campus is the big winner. Rutgers University would acquire the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, School of Public Health and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey — all in the New Brunswick area — as part of its acquisition of UMDNJ.
Placing all of these institutions under the Rutgers umbrella is the centerpiece of this plan. It puts medical education in New Jersey’s most trusted hands (incoming president Robert Barchi has significant experience running medical schools) and eliminates the long-standing headache of UMDNJ in one swoop.
What it means
• The most important change of all is this: The new Rutgers will immediately be ranked in the top 25 schools nationwide for medical research, allowing it to draw more federal research grants and lure top faculty. That should lift the entire university and encourage private firms to form partnerships with the Rutgers researchers, creating good jobs.
• It won’t be cheap. Rutgers has to swallow up to $600 million of UMDNJ’s debt, along with its schools. Rutgers also will have to buy liability insurance on the medical schools, and revamp everything from computer systems to signs and business cards.
• That Rutgers can get its hands on all of UMDNJ — the medical school it has long coveted — without also taking responsibility for the cash-draining University Hospital is a significant coup.
• Rutgers-New Brunswick abdicates its influence — if not its brand — in South Jersey.


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