News Briefs for Faculty of CMSRU
March 2012
In This Issue
Breaking News!
Library Overview
Admissions Update
Renowned Author to Visit Rowan
Construction Update
Focus on Curriculum
Focus on Faculty

CMSRU Breaking News!

Local Family Commits $300K to CMSRU  

Dr. Ludwig Schlitt and his children­, Drs. Michael, Stephanie and Mark, have committed $300,000 to CMSRU to establish The Schlitt Family Student Lounge and The Schlitt Family Dean's Executive Conference Room in CMSRU's new Medical Education Building. The gift from the Schlitts is the latest for CMSRU as it continues to attract private support from throughout the region through its Legacy Society and other fundraising initiatives.   


"It is gratifying to see the Schlitts- a family of southern New Jersey physicians - take a leadership role in supporting CMSRU and higher education in the region," said Paul Katz, MD, Founding Dean of CMSRU. "With our first class of students scheduled to arrive in August, we expect that more people will show their support for the medical school."


Click HERE to read media coverage of the Schlitts' generous donation.


Dr. Pello Honored By Med Students

Mark J. Pello, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery and Head, Division of Colorectal Surgery at Cooper, was selected for the Gold Humanism Honors Society (GHHS) Leonard Tow Award by the Robert Wood Johnson Class of 2012. Students selected him for being an exemplary role model for students, as well as his commitment to teaching, his patient advocacy skills, his superb communication skills and his high level of professionalism.  Congratulations, Dr. Pello!     


White Coat Ceremony Scheduled for Sept.

On Friday, September 21, 2012, in the presence of family, friends and faculty, 50 students comprising the inaugural class of CMSRU will formally recite the Hippocratic Oath, pledging their commitment to future patients, as they are cloaked in white coats.

Darrell G. Kirch, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), will be the keynote speaker for the event. "Dr. Kirch is a renowned physician, educator, and medical scientist and a noted authority on the organization and management of academic medical centers," says Paul Katz, MD, CMSRU's Founding Dean. "We are pleased that he is participating in this historic event at CMSRU."   


CMSRU to Host National Meeting on Urban Health

The University Cooperative on Urban Health, a consortium of urban serving medical schools, national policy leaders, and private foundations whose mission is to improve the health of chronically underserved urban populations, will hold its 2012 Annual Meeting at CMSRU on October 4-5, 2012.  "We're proud to host this important meeting," said Jocelyn Mitchell-Williams, MD, PhD, Associate Dean for Multicultural and Community Affairs.   


Last Call for Library Requests! 

If there is a particular electronic journal you would like included in CMSRU's Medical Library collection, please submit requests to Barbara Miller, Library Director, by Friday, March 8th. Subscription decisions are being made now. Requests can be submitted via email to miller-barbara@cooperhealth.edu.


CMSRU Staff Continues Supporting Camden Students   

Show-and-Tell with Dr. Buono's brain tissue specimens

Every other Wednesday, a group from CMSRU visits the Lanning Square Elementary School, where boys and girls in Mrs. Neives' 4th Grade Class are ready and waiting for them.  Whether reviewing math skills, engaging in science experiments or reading a good book, the visits have become a welcome activity for the volunteers and the children. According to Jocelyn Mitchell-Williams, MD, PhD, Associate Dean for Multicultural & Community Affairs, the goal is to support the teacher's efforts and to provide some one-on-one mentoring to the children.  The program was launched in September, with plans to continue the partnership with the same group of children for the next few years.     


Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Making the Rounds

Overview of the Medical Library 

CMSRU Medical Librarians
Cooper faculty members are well aware of the medical library's important role in research, education and patient care. As we transition our library services from UMDNJ and prepare for the grand opening of CMSRU, maintaining -- and in some cases, expanding -- the current resources and service level remains a significant goal. Barbara Miller, Director of Library Services at Cooper, and her team of medical librarians are spearheading this important project.


The Library provides a wide range of information, resources and services. Our collection reflects the demand for access to electronic materials with 4,500 e-journals, 700 e-books and 84 databases. A small print collection of core journals, textbooks, study/review books, handbooks and atlases are maintained as well.


The main library, currently housed on the first floor of the Dorrance Pavilion within Cooper Hospital, will remain. This space has 40 public computers, three group study rooms, two computer labs that are available 24/7 via ID badge swipe, and a quiet study area.


The Library Learning Commons (LLC) will be located on the first floor of the new Medical Education Building (MEB). The LLC will have seating for 102 individuals and provide wireless access. The space will also include four group study rooms and will be adjacent to a café with food and coffee. This area will be accessible 24/7 via ID badge swipe.


Librarians have been involved continuously in the development of the medical school curriculum and will continue to participate in delivery of the curriculum starting with the very first course, Medicine Today.  The librarians will have office space in both libraries and will be available for both small group and one-on-one consultations. 

Admissions Update
As the interview process for the Class of 2016 winds down (the last Interview Day is March 9), the work of the Office of Student Affairs & Admissions (OSAA) is intensifying as acceptances are finalized, plans for the arrival of students in August are prepared, and the next cycle of student applications (Class of 2017) commences in June.


"The Admissions Committee has been meeting regularly and has chosen an incredible group of individuals for the inaugural class," explains John F. McGeehan, MD, Associate Dean for Student Affairs & Admissions. "The majority of students accepted to medical schools have more than one acceptance and they can, and usually do, hold on to these until May 15th - the date when all applicants must narrow their choice to one school only. After that, and up until shortly before classes begin, some students may be accepted from a waitlist at another school and choose to go there. This will result in us pulling from our waitlist." The bottom line, according to Dr. McGeehan: "We won't know for certain who will be included in our first class until close to August 13th."


The OSAA communicates regularly with accepted students, keeping them updated about CMSRU's continuing development and information on financial aid. On April 28, 2012, all accepted and priority waitlisted students will be invited to 2nd Look Day (student revisit day), a special event designed to help them evaluate whether CMSRU is the best fit for them.  The day will include question and answer sessions on a variety of topics; networking with CMSRU faculty, staff and other students; and most importantly, a tour of the spectacular new Medical Education Building.             


The OSAA team is also busy creating the system of support needed for students who will arrive on August 13, 2012. Some of the numerous responsibilities include:

  • Preparing Advisory College Directors
  • Orienting Robert Wood Johnson students who have volunteered to be student mentors
  • Identifying and preparing academic mentors
  • Finalizing student health plans
  • Developing orientation week activities
  • Helping students with housing and other needs, like obtaining loans and registering for classes

"In a very short time our first class will arrive - and I'm confident that we will be ready," adds Dr. McGeehan.

Rebecca Skloot to Visit Rowan in November 2012 

Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, will kick off the Fall 2012 Presidential Lecture Series at Rowan University as a keynote speaker on November 14, 2012. 

The event will be co-sponsored by CMSRU, Rowan University and The Coriell Institute for Medical Research.  Watch for upcoming announcements for details about the time and location.


Ms. Skloot, an award winning science writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine; O,The Oprah Magazine; Discover; and many other publications,specializes in narrative science writing and has explored a range of topics.


"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was one of the best books I have ever read, and it's become a must-read for physicians, scientists and researchers all over the world," explains Paul Katz, MD, CMSRU's Founding Dean. "We look forward to hosting Ms. Skloot in November."


Click HERE for more information on Rebecca Skloot and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.   


Construction Update: MEB Gets its Identity! 

On a cool, sunny late-February afternoon, crews working on the Medical Education Building painstakingly lowered from the roof giant letters that spell out "Cooper Medical School of Rowan University." The letters were affixed to the outside, upper levels of the building. While this doesn't mark the completion of the building, it is symbolic for many of us who have been closely monitoring the construction progress.


Inside the building, floors are being laid, paint is going on the walls, and casework is in the process of being installed in the laboratories.We are in the final stages of wiring, ductwork, and carpentry, and the large air handlers and boilers that will heat, cool, ventilate, and keep our students and faculty comfortable will soon be put in place in the penthouse.Over the next month, final furniture choices will be made and orders placed so that delivery is "just in time" for move in day - right after the 4th of July. 

Focus on Curriculum:  Fundamentals

Most of us completed our medical school training under the Flexnerian model - the "two plus two" approach to medical education where basic science is taught for two years, followed by two clinical years. This approach had students learn the basic sciences as separate disciplines - anatomy, biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, pathology, etc. - for two years in order to prepare them to understand human health and disease when they finally saw patients in the last two years. This teaching, unfortunately, generally occurred in the form of separate courses for each of these content areas. The challenge with this curricular model was the lack of integration of each of those courses - not only with each other, but with the clinical rotations that followed.   


At CMSRU, students will begin their medical education (after a two-week orientation) with Fundamentals, a 16-week integrated, multidisciplinary course that will focus on normal human structure, function and development, as well as provide an introduction to basic mechanisms of disease, and core principles of the basic science disciplines.


A key concept of the Fundamentals curriculum involves early and continuous clinical correlation, which will demonstrate the relevance of basic science information to the clinical evaluation and management of patients. Although there will be a series of didactic presentations, formal lectures will be de-emphasized. Instead, alternate forms of instruction, including case-based active learning groups, practical laboratory sessions, tutorials, and weekly self-assessment exercises, will be utilized. A significant component of the curriculum will take the form of self-directed learning activities.   


"We recognize that a strong, integrated basic science background during medical school is essential to developing physicians who are more progressive in terms of their approach to medical research and patient care," says William Kocher, MD, a pathologist and Chair of Biomedical Sciences at CMSRU.  "Throughout Fundamentals, we will work to build a framework upon which our students will continue to add further knowledge during the remainder of medical school and in subsequent clinical practice." 


Like the Fundamentals course, the Department of Biomedical Sciences will be multidisciplinary and its faculty will consist of a group of accomplished scientists and "master educators". To date, CMSRU has appointed three basic scientists to its faculty in addition to Dr. Kocher:  Charlene Williams, PhD (Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Genetics); Russell Buono, PhD (Neurosciences), and Ira Josephson, PhD (Physiology). The full-time faculty will be complemented by scientists from The Coriell Institute for Medical Research (Cell Biology, Genetics), the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (Pharmacology), and basic scientists from Cooper.


For a full description of the Fundamentals curriculum, including course goals and objectives, click HERE

Focus on Faculty: 
Russell J. Buono, PhD

Russell J. Buono, PhD, a renowned science educator and researcher in molecular biology and genetics of the human brain and disease states with a focus on epilepsy, substance abuse, bipolar disorder,  has joined CMSRU's basic science faculty as Professor of Neurosciences.  

Dr. Buono earned his doctorate degree in Cell and Developmental Biology from Temple University in 1990. He completed postdoctoral fellowships at the National Eye Institute in Bethesda, MD and Whitney Marine Laboratory at the University of Florida, St. Augustine, FL. 


A popular educator of graduate and post-graduate students in the areas of neuro-anatomy and neuroscience, Dr. Buono was a faculty member at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital; University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He was the recipient of the 1st Annual "Science Educator of the Year" award by the Philadelphia Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience in 2004. 


Prior to joining CMSRU, Dr. Buono served as Associate Chief of Staff for Research at the Coatesville VA Medical Center where he conducted research projects as a scientist and was the lead administrator (service chief) of Research and Development, managing staff and providing oversight for all aspects of animal and human research on the campus. An accomplished researcher, Dr. Buono has authored or co-authored hundreds of peer reviewed articles, book chapters and presentations. His current research focuses on molecular genetics and cell biology of human neurological and psychiatric disorders, including oxygen regulated gene expression and the emerging field of pharmacogenetics.


Dr. Buono is known throughout the Philadelphia region for his unique public outreach initiative, "Dr. Brain Dude," a traveling collection of brain specimens, from mouse to man, that visits schools for education and awareness sessions on brain structure, function and disease. He is also co-founder of Brain Awareness Week (BAW) at The Franklin Institute Science Museum, a two-day, kid friendly neuroscience hands-on experience staffed by over 40 volunteers from the Philadelphia Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. The event attracts over 1500 children and adults every year.


About Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
CMSRU is committed to providing humanistic education in the art and science of medicine within a scientific and scholarly community in which inclusivity, excellence in patient care, innovative teaching, research and service to our community are valued.

Core values include a commitment to diversity, personal mentorship, professionalism, collaboration and mutual respect, civic responsibility, patient advocacy and lifelong learning. 
Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Ferry Terminal Building
Two Aquarium Drive, Suite 305 
Camden, New Jersey 08103