First Grant to RowanSOM - $1 Million to Expand Geriatric Medical Education

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The first grant awarded to the newly aligned Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM) – a four-year $998,895 grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation – will help fund a program to expand interprofessional medical education for students, residents and faculty members at the school’s nationally known New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging (NJISA). RowanSOM was one of just 10 academic health centers nationally that successfully competed for a grant from the Reynolds Foundation, a philanthropic organization headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The first grant awarded to the newly aligned Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM) – a four-year $998,895 grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation – will help fund a program to expand interprofessional medical education for students, residents and faculty members at the school’s nationally known New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging (NJISA).  RowanSOM was one of just 10 academic health centers nationally that successfully competed for a grant from the Reynolds Foundation, a philanthropic organization headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In a statement announcing the grants, Fred W. Smith, chairman of the Reynolds Foundation’s board of trustees said, “The Foundation’s goal is to improve the quality of health care for elderly people across America by teaching physicians and other health care provides to address their special needs.”

Since 2001, the Reynolds Foundation has committed nearly $100 million under an initiative to support comprehensive projects in academic health centers to train medical students, residents and faculty in geriatrics.

“I am thrilled and proud that the NJISA, one of RowanSOM’s signature programs, has been chosen to receive such a significant grant,” said Rowan president Dr. Ali Houshmand. “It is especially appropriate, too, because this grant will help support one of the core missions of our medical education programs – to prepare physicians and healthcare workers to meet the real-world needs of their patients.”

The grant will support the training of physicians to learn how to work best as members of an interprofessional team. For the first time at the school, students from medicine, nursing and pharmacy will learn from and with each other.

“Team work is an essential element of patient safety” said Dr. Anita Chopra, the director of the NJISA and principal investigator of the grant. “This grant will help us advance interprofessional training within our institution in order to prepare medical students and residents to practice patient centered care as effective members of a collaborative practice team.” 

Nearly 2,300 medical students along with 520 residents and another 135 faculty members at RowanSOM are expected to receive interprofessional training through this program at the NJISA.

The Reynolds Foundation’s Aging and Quality of Life program was conceived in response to a growing consensus that physicians lack adequate training to meet the increasing needs of the frail elderly patient. Twenty-one academic health centers applied for grants in response to a call for proposals issued by the Reynolds Foundation in 2012. Eligibility was restricted to those medical schools that – like RowanSOM – had already successfully completed Foundation-funded projects aimed at preparing physicians to care for frail older people. Other academic health centers to receive awards this year include such schools as Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard University; Brown University Medical School; and the University of California, San Francisco.

About the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, it has committed over $245 million nationwide to its Aging and Quality of Life program.

About the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging

Since 1989, the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging (NJISA), a nationally recognized "Center of Excellence" based at the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM), has served older individuals and their families, providing medical care in varied settings and offering training for health professionals of multiple disciplines. NJISA’s statewide leadership in education, research, clinical care, community service and public policy fosters our commitment to helping the growing number of older individuals in New Jersey age successfully.

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