“One RBHS: The Way Forward” to set the course for the next five years

Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences has released its new strategic plan—“One RBHS: The Way Forward”—which will create the strategic vision and framework to guide New Jersey’s largest academic health center over the next half-decade.

The aim of the plan is to realize the vision of a multidisciplinary, multidimensional and multifaceted organization—in which the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts—and to set a new standard for excellence in health sciences education, research and patient care.

“This ambitious road map builds upon our many accomplishments and proposes new and exciting avenues as we drive toward our vision to be a model for health care access and quality, research and innovation, interprofessional education and community engagement within the next five years,” said Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) and executive vice president of health affairs at Rutgers. “My deep appreciation goes to Gwen Mahon and Sylvia Christakos, who led the planning process, and to the many members of our community who made this visionary document happen. The enthusiasm from our faculty, staff, students and administrators have resulted in an exciting and inclusive vision of our future.”

The plan is informed by broad community engagement and input. It was led by a 13-member steering committee and a seven-member coordinating committee and 127 RBHS stakeholders served on subcommittees. The feedback process included town halls in 2020 and 2021, more than 1,300 survey responses and engagement with partners at University Hospital in Newark, RWJBarnabas Health, New Jersey state officials and local community groups. Chancellor Strom, President Jonathan Holloway and members of the plan’s coordinating committee will host a launch event for the plan at 10 a.m. Friday, April 22.

“RBHS plays an essential role in how Rutgers serves New Jersey, and we strive to be a national leader in improving every aspect of health care—from innovation in research and training to expansion of access and equity,” said Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway. “This document is both our pledge and our plan to get there.”

The plan establishes a new mission, vision and values set for RBHS:

  • Mission: Provide exceptional health care, education and training, research and discovery for the people of New Jersey and beyond.
  • Vision: To be a distinguished national model for health care access and quality, research and innovation, interprofessional education and health care, and community service and engagement.
  • Values: Dedicated to respect, collaboration, inclusion, excellence, innovation and accountability in all that we do.

Comprehensively involving all RBHS, the plan’s ambitions are organized by five “unifying theme” goals and four “mission-based” goals:

  • Unifying theme goals: People and Workforce; Inclusive, Respectful and Accountable Culture; Team-based Approaches; Enabling Systems and Structures; Connections and Identity
  • Mission-based goals: Clinical Care; Education and Training; Research and Innovation; Community Engagement

Each of the nine overarching strategic goals is focused on leveraging strengths and opportunities, creating greater unity and coherence, achieving optimal organizational alignment and structural clarity, and enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of administrative process and technology to achieve excellence at RBHS.

The planning process began in February 2020 but was interrupted for three months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It then resumed in the summer of 2020 despite the pandemic. The RBHS community shared insights and feedback via a survey and several town halls throughout the fall 2020 semester. This information was gathered and developed into plan drafts that were shared with the RBHS community through additional town halls in fall 2021. The plan was finalized in early April 2022.

Created by a historic 2013 merger, with its first 5-year strategic plan released in November 2014, RBHS has rapidly developed into one of the nation’s premier academic health care centers, committed to a mission of excellence in biomedical and health care education, research and patient care. The new strategic plan comes during a period when the academic health center has experienced growth in all parts of its mission areas. In the last five years, RBHS has grown its biomedical and health sciences research awards by nearly 180 percent; set out to build New Jersey’s most comprehensive academic health system with its clinical partner RWJBarnabas Health; established New Jersey’s first clinical and translational science hub; launched numerous clinical trials and aided in leading-edge research on COVID-19; and led discoveries in a wide range of fundamental and disease-specific areas.

To achieve the strategic goals articulated in the plan, an Implementation, Monitoring and Assessment Team (IMAT) will define metrics to measure progress over the five-year plan.  The IMAT will be overseen by an executive committee, a coordinating committee with two co-chairs, a monitoring and assessment committee, and goals committees for each of the nine strategic goals.