After Marylawn Falls Through, Seton Hall Announces Medical School With Hackensack University

by The Village Green
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Seton Hall University announced last week that it was entering into an agreement with Hackensack University Health Network to form a new, four-year school of medicine. The school will be located at the former Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. (Roche) campus in Clifton and Nutley and should begin accepting students “within the next three years.”

Seton Hall officials said the deal followed on the denouement of a bid to obtain zoning variances for the former Marylawn of the Oranges site in South Orange. The university was seeking variances that would have allowed it to buy and convert the Marylawn of the Oranges Academy and the Graves House at Scotland Road and Montrose Avenue into academic and administrative buildings for a graduate school of medicine and construct a 202-space parking lot.

“When the Marylawn deal fell through, this other opportunity availed itself,” a Seton Hall University spokeswoman said in an email.

Last October, Seton Hall withdrew the pending use variance application for Marylawn after four Planning Board hearings — with more scheduled, as well as meetings with the Historic Preservation Commission concerning the rehabilitation of the Graves House. (Neighbors had also expressed concerns about traffic and parking.) Sale of the property was contingent upon obtaining the variance. The Marylawn site was returned to the South Orange tax rolls in South Orange as of January 1, 2015.

In December, South Orange Trustee Mark Rosner announced he is chairing a subcommittee considering future desired development options for Marylawn. Rosner noted that the property is zone for single family housing; however, its owners, the Sisters of Charity, are marketing the property for a nonconforming use: multi-family homes.

Read the full press release from Seton Hall announcing the medical school here:

Hackensack University Health Network (HackensackUHN) and Seton Hall University (SHU) announced today that the two institutions have signed a memorandum of understanding to form a new, four-year school of medicine. This partnership will establish the first private school of medicine currently in the state and provide a significant economic boost to the region. The school intends to locate on the campus of the former Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. (Roche), a state-of-the-art biomedical facility, in Nutley and Clifton, New Jersey.

Establishing a school of medicine with the backing of two esteemed institutions will attract the best and brightest to the field of medicine in the State of New Jersey and help curb the critical physician shortage that the state and the nation currently face. By 2020, it is estimated there will be a shortage of 2,500 physicians in the Garden State. HackensackUHN and SHU’s joint venture to create a premier academic institution will help combat the physician shortage by providing key educational, research, and career opportunities to incentivize the next generation to pursue a career in medicine.

“We are excited to be taking this next step with Seton Hall University. Our academic reputations, combined with our clinical expertise, will guarantee the establishment of a world-class academic institution in the Garden State,” said Robert C. Garrett, president and CEO of HackensackUHN. “New Jersey has long been known as a home to the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, and it is imperative we continue to support our future workforce through a premier school of medicine.”

“Seton Hall University has always been committed to academic excellence and servant leadership, and Hackensack University Health Network has always been committed to healthcare excellence,” said Dr. A. Gabriel Esteban, president of Seton Hall University. “As a Catholic university with strong existing programs in the sciences, nursing, health and medical sciences, and health law, we are perfectly poised to create a school of medicine that will educate talented people in the diverse fields of healthcare.”

Speaking at the news conference, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie emphasized the importance of investing in higher education and praised the vision and leadership of Hackensack UHN President Garrett and Seton Hall President Esteban.

“We know that by continuing to grow our academic core, we are going to grow our economic core as well,” the governor said. “This would not have happened if it wasn’t for the willingness of Mr. Garrett and Dr. Esteban to step forward and say, ‘We will lead.’ That is the indispensable part of any great accomplishment – to have a person or people who are willing to step forward and take risks and lead, and that is what we have in both of these gentlemen.  That gives me great confidence about the future of the Hackensack University Health Network and my alma mater, Seton Hall.”

The school of medicine will not only help educate our future workforce, but it will provide a much-needed economic boost to the region by creating highly skilled jobs. The Clifton and Nutley communities experienced a significant economic setback with the departure of Roche, losing nearly 2,000 jobs in late 2013. The establishment of a new medical school will have a substantial impact on both municipalities, injecting much needed capital into the community.

Garrett added, “The school of medicine will create thousands of highly skilled jobs for New Jerseyans in the years to come, attracting new businesses to relocate to our great state to take advantage of our highly skilled workforce. I look forward to partnering with Seton Hall University to making this school of medicine among the best in the nation.”

The school of medicine will be committed to educational and healthcare excellence, cutting-edge research, high quality care, and the advancement of medical and health science educational imperatives. Seton Hall’s plan to integrate its nursing and allied health programs with the new school of medicine is not only innovative but mirrors how healthcare will be delivered in the future. HackensackUHN’s hospitals will serve as the primary clinical teaching sites for SHU and SHU-affiliated graduate education programs. Access to HackensackUHN’s premier healthcare facilities and training programs will provide hands-on experience and incentivize highly-trained researchers and physicians to live and work in New Jersey upon graduation. The first class is expected to begin within the next three years.

“HackensackUHN and Seton Hall’s vision to create this school of medicine is truly inspirational. Repurposing Roche’s premier state-of-the-art facility for this purpose is an excellent fit to Roche’s purpose of ‘Doing now what patients need next,’” said Tom Lyon, vice president and site head, Roche. “Creating a pipeline of future doctors and nurses truly embodies Roche’s vision and continues the positive healthcare-related legacy for the local communities. As we move forward to divest the site, we look forward to working with HackensackUHN and Seton Hall and the ultimate new owner of the Roche campus, which Roche is selecting in parallel, to help make the new school of medicine a reality.”

Subject to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) approval, an agreement is expected to be finalized in early 2015.


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