New medical school to open in New Jersey

For decades, Hackensack Meridian Health Co-CEO Bob Garrett has watched so many of New Jersey's aspiring doctors select medical schools out of state or out of the country.

"We really want to make sure that the best and the brightest from New Jersey stay in New Jersey," he said. "Once they leave the state, especially if they end up doing their residency program in another state, they never come back to New Jersey."

New Jersey now faces a physician shortage expected to grow to 3,000 in the next two years. Hackensack Meridian Health and Seton Hall University hope to help stem that deficit with the launch of the state's first private med school in more than 60 years.

Seton Hall President Mary Meehan said she imagines how her university's alumni who went on to or aspired to become doctors might've thrived at this Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall, which plans to pair every med student with a couple of families in the community to meet with and counsel throughout their years as a student.

"It is unusual. It's not the only school," said Dr. Bonita Stanton, the founding dean. She said she plans to teach the next generation of physicians healthcare that extends beyond the emergency room.

"We cannot possibly bring about the kind of changes we need or at the kind of price we can afford in the United States by just focusing on the hospital," she said.

Seton Hall is relocating its College of Nursing and School of Health and Medical Sciences to the med school campus in Nutley, which, just 12 miles from New York City, will also support a research institute.

"This redevelopment project is going to be the largest in New Jersey in over a generation," Garrett said.

The Hackensack Meridian Health board established a $100 million scholarship fund to allow the new med school to offer financial aid. The first class of 55 future doctors starts in July.