Cooper Medical School of Rowan University Receives Preliminary Accreditation From LCME; Begins Recruiting First Class of Students

Almost two years after officials announced its creation, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (CMSRU) has received the go-ahead to recruit students for the charter class – entering in the fall of 2012.

Camden, NJ—Almost two years after officials announced its creation, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (CMSRU) has received the go-ahead to recruit students for the charter class – entering in the fall of 2012.

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the nation’s primary accrediting entity for medical education programs, announced today that CMSRU has met more than 130 standards necessary to receive preliminary accreditation.

“The official announcement of accreditation brings us one step closer to expanding the level of medical excellence in our region and creating the backbone for an industry sector in medicine, innovation and technology based in South Jersey,” said George E. Norcross, III, Chairman of the Board at Cooper. “This four-year medical school is the cornerstone of our vision for the Health Sciences Campus in Camden.”

“This is a huge milestone in the life of Cooper Medical School of Rowan University and a proud day for South Jersey,” said Dr. Ali Houshmand, interim president at Rowan. “This approval by the LCME shows that we’re on the right path to bring a new kind of medical school to New Jersey.”

“New Jersey has long been a leader in medical innovation and with the addition of Cooper Medical School at Rowan University we will continue to maintain this distinction,” said Governor Chris Christie. “As the first new medical school in New Jersey in 30-years, its opening is an extraordinary achievement for the people of South Jersey and the entire state of New Jersey. I applaud the Cooper and Rowan team for their hard work and commitment to opening this new facility. ”

The accreditation is the third step of the five-step LCME accreditation process, which is complete when the first class graduates.

The granting of preliminary accreditation comes in the wake of a favorable site visit by the LCME Survey Team in March. During the four-day site visit, the team reported “no areas of insufficient progress towards compliance with LCME standards,” according to Founding Dean, Paul Katz, MD.

“It’s rare for an institution to pass without a single deficiency noted,” said Katz. “That’s a testament to the hard work, diligence and spirit of collaboration among the nearly 150 Rowan and Cooper faculty and staff who worked to develop the plan for the medical school.”

CMSRU will work to address physician shortages in New Jersey, which ranks 33rd nationally in number of medical school graduates. According to statistics from the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), only 48.7 percent of New Jersey residents who applied to medical school in 2010 were accepted. Of those, only 19.6 percent went to medical school in the state.

Moreover, of the 42,742 applicants to medical schools nationally last year, only 3,080 of those accepted were from under-represented applicants, according to the AAMC. That’s another area CMSRU will focus on as the medical school begins the admissions process, Katz said.

“We are looking to build a diverse student body not only on the basis of race and ethnicity, but also diversity of socioeconomic and cultural background,” said Katz. “We are looking for students who will resonate with our mission and core values – who are committed to civic responsibility and patient advocacy.”

“The medical school is another major step in creating a great heath care system that can go head-to-head with Philadelphia’s academic medical centers.  This will benefit the South Jersey economy by keeping more of the nearly $2 billion of health care spending on this side of the Ben Franklin Bridge that is now going to Philadelphia every year,” said John P. Sheridan, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of The Cooper Health System.

Regionally and statewide, the medical school also will work as an economic stimulus in South Jersey, which loses $2 billion to Philadelphia and Delaware medical centers each year as local residents cross the bridge for health care.

CMSRU students will attend class in a new $139 million medical school building at Broadway and Benson Street in Camden. Just a month ago, officials from Rowan and Cooper held a “topping off” ceremony in Camden as the final steel girder was raised on the building. The project is the single largest construction project in Camden this year.

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