Physician's gift to fund clinical simulation rooms at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University

A generous gift from a prominent South Jersey physician and his family will help aspiring doctors receive a state-of-the-art education in patient treatment at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (CMSRU).
A generous gift from a prominent South Jersey physician and his family will help aspiring doctors receive a state-of-the-art education in patient treatment at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (CMSRU).

Dr. Michael Renzi, of Haddonfield, will fund The Renzi Family Clinical Simulation Rooms at CMSRU, for an amount the family wishes not to publicly disclose.

"The medical community is excited about the prospect of a new generation of physicians being trained right here in South Jersey and the impact they will have on our region," said Renzi. "My family is pleased to be able to support that effort with simulation rooms that utilize cutting-edge technology to help medical school students learn to provide the very best patient care."

The clinical simulation rooms will provide the key to learning the complicated procedures and processes necessary for medical students to understand the practice of medicine, according to Dr. Paul Katz, founding dean of CMSRU. The rooms will be equipped to provide live monitoring/observation and will feature video recording to "allow for the debriefing that leads to reflective learning," said Katz.

Computerized simulation mannequins and standardized patient actors will be used to teach students how to handle everything from basic CPR to high-risk, rare medical problems. The Clinical Simulation Rooms will be equipped with networked computer and video projectors that will enable digitally recorded sessions to be easily accessed from any location.

"Through this, students actually will learn to perform as clinicians and to treat patients under often-critical circumstances," Katz said, noting that the rooms will be effective tools for assessing students' technical skills, critical thinking and team-oriented behavior.

The Renzi Family Clinical Simulation Rooms will be housed in the six-story, 200,000-square-foot medical school building now under construction at South Broadway and Benson Street in Camden. The approximately $130-million building, which has been designed to meet LEED environmental certification standards, is expected to be completed in 2012.

Rowan University and Cooper University Hospital entered into a partnership to establish CMSRU in June 2009. The medical school currently is advancing through a five-step accreditation process overseen by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). The LCME, the organization responsible for medical education standards nationally for schools offering the M.D. degree, must grant preliminary accreditation (Step 3) before students can be admitted to CMSRU. The first class of 50 students is expected in the fall of 2012.

"The Renzi family's gift demonstrates how individuals can help the medical school push the boundaries of medical education," said George E. Norcross, III, chairman of the Cooper Board of Trustees.  "Our goal is to build the medical school into one of the premier programs in the country. This gift puts us closer to that goal in a very tangible way and we hope it serves as inspiration for others with the means to make a difference."

The Renzi gift is the first gift for the new medical school building. In 2009, Rowan alumnus Dr. Marque Allen became the medical school's first benefactor when he pledged $100,000 to establish a scholarship for CMSRU students.

Renzi has strong ties to both Cooper and Rowan. He completed his residency and chief residency in internal medicine at Cooper in 1995 and regularly presents in the resident lecture series at the hospital.  His son is an undergraduate student at Rowan.

"The gift represents Dr. Renzi's commitment--both as a South Jersey physician and a proud Rowan parent--to educational excellence in the region," said Rowan President Dr. Donald J. Farish. "It will have a tremendous impact on the education of our medical school students."

Renzi earned his bachelor's degree at Lafayette College and earned his doctor of osteopathy degree at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He serves as managing partner for Advocare Heights Primary Care, where he is the attending physician for the ambulatory resident clinic and also directs the Clinical Trials Program.  Additionally, Renzi directs Adult Medical Services and Advocare Inpatient Medicines for Advocare and Continuum Health Alliance.

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