Development of the Strategic Plan

Chancellor Brian Strom announced the launch of the RBHS strategic planning process in December 2013, to be developed by RBHS faculty, staff, and students, with input and participation from colleagues across Rutgers and members of the RBHS host communities. Planning included committees and task forces charged with the development of initiatives and recommendations that would address research, educational, clinical, community, and public policy needs.

Multiple strategies were employed to prepare for the planning process:

  • chancellor listening tour of all RBHS schools, institutes, and centers;
  • RBHS strategic planning steering committee;
  • analysis of data collected during the university strategic planning process;
  • RBHS faculty, staff, student, and alumni survey;
  • follow-up RBHS faculty, staff, and student survey;
  • universitywide faculty survey;
  • the future of U.S. health delivery system speaker series;
  • meetings with Camden, New Brunswick, and Newark community members;
  • consultations with state and federal legislators and officials;
  • consultations with potential donors and industry representatives;
  • meetings with clinical program directors, primary hospital partner leaders, and potential hospital and hospital system leaders;
  • formation of working groups to develop proposals for potential signature programs, educational initiatives, and enabling structures; and
  • consultations with RBHS deans/directors, RBHS Faculty Council, Rutgers Board of Trustees, Rutgers Board of Governors, the board’s Health Affairs Committee, the other Rutgers chancellors, and President Barchi.

The 24-person RBHS Strategic Planning Steering Committee, which oversaw the process by which important academic initiatives would be developed, was comprised of RBHS school and unit faculty representatives, as well as staff, student, community, principal hospital, and non-RBHS Rutgers faculty representatives. The steering committee considered the future of health care, RBHS’s needs and needs throughout Rutgers, and community, state, and national needs; reviewed Rutgers-wide data and RBHS survey data; recommended the formation of working groups to focus specifically on potential signature programs, educational initiatives, and infrastructure support needed for signature programs and educational initiatives; reviewed proposals prepared by these working groups; and submitted recommendations for signature programs, educational initiatives, and enabling structures to the RBHS chancellor.

The working groups included more than 500 faculty members across Rutgers, including RBHS and the three geographically based universities within the Rutgers system. The RBHS strategic plan reflects input provided by these working group members plus the thousands of faculty, staff, and students who responded to one or more of the surveys.

ACADEMIC DEVELOPMENT: SIGNATURE PROGRAMS, EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVES, SERVICE ACTIVITIES, AND INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS

The RBHS Strategic Planning Steering Committee oversaw the activities of the 32 working groups. Twenty of these working groups concentrated on potential signature areas for RBHS. Seven working groups considered specific educational initiatives that would have the potential to enhance educational and training programs across RBHS. Each of the signature program and educational program working groups was charged with analyzing strengths and gaps in existing programs in a specific area, as appropriate, and developing a five-year plan, including recommendations designed to enhance faculty collaboration across the institution. The signature program working groups were also asked to identify the potential for RBHS to become “best-in-class” nationally. Five working groups were formed to address specific enabling structure needs, including the specific needs and/or existing gaps based on the current RBHS and Rutgers-wide environment as well as needs within divisions, departments, schools, centers, institutes, and other units. These working groups were asked to identify the potential benefit and impact on research, teaching and educational programs, clinical care, community service, and public policy, and develop a five-year plan that would include recommendations designed to benefit RBHS and/or Rutgers as a whole. All working groups also were charged with identifying metrics and providing a timeline for the achievement of the recommendations, focusing on growth of current areas of strength, improvement of weaknesses, and opportunities. Working groups submitted interim reports to the steering committee, received feedback and direction, then submitted a final 10-page report that addressed comments and suggested changes to the interim report.

CLINICAL DEVELOPMENT

The RBHS strategic planning process included meetings with the RBHS chancellor, deans and directors of clinical programs, and other leaders responsible for clinical programs. Additional meetings also were held with primary hospital partners and potential hospital and hospital system partners. Their focus was the delivery of health care, which is an integral component of the RBHS mission and is central to many RBHS programs: Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, New Jersey Medical School, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, School of Health Related Professions, School of Nursing, and University Behavioral Health Care. Their goal was an imperative: to maintain a standard of excellence across all RBHS clinical programs. Further, they recognized that clinical enterprises of academic health centers traditionally have subsidized the less economically viable components of the mission, particularly teaching and research. Yet, recent changes in the health care reimbursement system and the economic downturn have placed exceptional pressures on clinical revenues. Accordingly, a series of initiatives and programs were developed to improve the health of New Jersey residents and provide quality services, while addressing RBHS’s financial sustainability.