COUTINHO: RUTGERS, UMDNJ MED SCHOOL MERGER RECOMMENDATION IS PREMATURE, HURTS NEWARK AND CAMDEN

(TRENTON) – Assemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Essex/Union) released the following statement on Tuesday concerning the recommendation by an advisory committee convened by Gov. Christie that Rutgers University merge with UMDNJ’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, its School of Public Health and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

According to media reports, the task force — called the UMDNJ Advisory Committee — has more extensive recommendations that may include a dismantling or restructuring of the remaining pieces of UMDNJ and University Hospital in Newark.

“The committee’s report is incomplete, premature, and unacceptable.

“The recommendation of the UMDNJ Advisory Committee has been made without any concern for the long term sustainability of University Hospital, or the nearly 16,000 employees that are part of UMDNJ, the state’s sixth largest employer.”

“The Newark community is still waiting for the follow-up meeting that the task force committed to, when the original one was scheduled with only three days notice. Why couldn’t the committee meet with the people of Newark, listen to their concerns, and then submit a comprehensive plan that addressed all the major issues that are on the table?”

“Let me be clear, I too want a strong Rutgers University, but to portray a sunny future for New Brunswick, while leaving storm clouds for Newark and Camden is simply short-sighted and wrong.”