New $70 million facility will be a beacon for research and innovation
(Camden, NJ) – Leaders from the Joint Board, participating institutions, and elected officials gathered in Camden’s “Eds and Meds” corridor on October 15 to celebrate the opening of the new Joint Health Sciences Center at the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Broadway. The Center houses lab and training spaces for multiple universities and is the only facility in the state to house important functions of two four-year institutions, a county college, and two medical schools.
Camden County College Nursing student and Camden resident Jalisa Dotson spoke of the impact the new building will have on future nurses and the city at the ribbon-cutting.
“There are no limitations no matter where we come from in life. We should all embrace the opportunity of an education. This is a message that I share with my peers every chance I get and feel strongly about as a graduate of the Gateway to College program at Camden County College,” Dotson said. “I want people to see this building on Broadway, in an area near where I grew up and came to often as a child and realize that the City of Camden has a promising and bright future. I am proud to be a part of the bright future. We’re not just opening a building, we are opening opportunities.”
The opening of the Center represents the completion of Phase I of the Board’s two-phase campus construction in the City. Joint Board CEO Dana Redd highlighted the Center as a milestone achievement for the Board, Camden, and the entire region.
“Today is yet another height achieved along with Camden’s rise, and we are one step closer to helping the people of this city realize the opportunity to be educated in Camden, to work in Camden, and to thrive in Camden.,” Redd said. “By leveraging the power of these institutions, the Center is poised to become the research and innovation hub of South Jersey. This campus will be the beating heart of Camden’s eds and meds corridor, injecting opportunity, growth, and innovation throughout the entire region.”
The $70 million, four-story JHSC was designed to co-locate faculty and students from different academic disciplines in order to facilitate collaboration and joint research. As a result, students from each institution will have unprecedented access to faculty and peers from other institutions, expanding opportunities for mentorship and research, while also maximizing the efficiency of the space and the programs therein.
“The Joint Health Sciences Center is a representation of the Board’s broader mission to work collaboratively with multiple institutions, and to provide training and research that will benefit all of South Jersey,” said Jack Collins, Chairman of the Joint Board. “By investing our future in the fast-growing eds and meds sector, we will prepare thousands of students for careers in expanding industries, while stimulating job creation and economic activity in the City of Camden and beyond.”
The Center houses research laboratory spaces for both Rowan and Rutgers-Camden, simulation rooms for medical students at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, instructional space and additional simulation labs for Camden County College, and office space for the Joint Board.
“Camden County College is proud to be a partner in the Joint Health Sciences Center as we reaffirm our commitment to providing affordable and accessible educational opportunities in Camden City,” Camden County College President Donald Borden said. “This new facility puts students on the pathway to a rewarding career in the Allied Health fields of Practical Nursing, Certified Nurse Aide, Multi-Skills Technician and our unique Alzheimer’s Journey Coordinator program that offers the clinical training to recognize, understand and treat Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.”
Communal multi-purpose rooms are distributed throughout approximately 60,000 square feet of space occupied by Rowan University, Rutgers-Camden and the Joint Board, which also holds offices and the Center’s Biomedical research equipment and labs. The collaborative design hopes to inspire students and faculty from each institution to work together on a common research agenda that will produce groundbreaking contributions and advances in the field of Biomedical science.
“Rowan’s recent commitment of $50 million for research funding in Camden, and at this Center, will lead to collaborations among the universities, spur growth and employment in Camden,” explained Ali Houshmand, President of Rowan University. “Furthermore, it will produce great advances in the life sciences and serve as a catalyst that makes Camden a center of innovation.”
Officials expect the Center to attract the top minds in our region, and from throughout the entire country, making Camden the launch site of significant research and innovation.
“Research innovation happens every day at Rutgers University–Camden, where our faculty and students are generating the original thinking and new ideas that advance our state and our nation,” said Phoebe Haddon, Chancellor of Rutgers University-Camden. “This building is where Rutgers–Camden researchers – faculty and students – are going to raise the bar even higher. Thanks to this investment in Camden, Rutgers researchers are developing new biomaterials for use in medical applications. They are constructing new types of nanoscale tools from DNA and other biological sources. They are exploring neural and endocrine systems by using computational modeling to detail the movements of individual molecules. The Joint Health Sciences Center sends a message to the world. It says that Camden is the place where the future is being made – one scientific breakthrough at a time.”
Approximately 30,000 square feet make up the Center’s state-of-the-art Healthcare Simulation Center. The Simulation Center provides students with realistic patient simulations, and complex training exercises in order to best prepare them for their careers in various health care fields.
Both the Center and Joint Board were made possible by the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act. The law enabled partnership and cooperation between South Jersey’s institutions of higher education.
“In 2012, our community took action to strengthen our higher education systems and become a hub for medical research and innovation,” said Congressman Donald Norcross. “Today I am proud to see that vision become a reality through this collaborative effort, and I can’t wait for the life-changing medical breakthrough that some young mind will discover right here in South Jersey.”
Camden’s growth will continue to be tied to the success of the City’s eds and meds institutions and their impact on the City as a whole. The sector already represents nearly half of all jobs in the city, and the strength of the eds and meds corridor has helped lead Camden to record low unemployment across a variety of measurements in 2019.
“Camden is in the midst of an unprecedented resurgence, and with the growth of the eds and meds corridor, we will attract our region’s top minds to live, work, and invest in our city,” said Camden Mayor Frank Moran. “Nearly 40 percent of jobs in Camden are already in the ‘eds and meds’ sector, and the Joint Health Sciences Center will be the engine that propels future job growth and economic activity throughout the City. In addition to historic lows in crime, unprecedented success in our schools, and record low unemployment, Camden will soon be known for its innovation and research contributions.”