Atlantic Health System and Thomas Jefferson University today formally dedicated the regional campus of Jefferson’s Sidney Kimmel Medical College (SKMC) at Morristown Medical Center and Overlook Medical Center, offering a program for third-year medical students unique in northern New Jersey.
At a ceremony held today at Morristown Medical Center, members of the university and the health system gathered to mark the culmination of the academic alliance and to celebrate the inaugural class of medical students as they begin the Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC), a special model of medical education that reinforces continuity of care and patient-centered treatment.
“The partnership of Atlantic Health System and Jefferson that enables the foundation of our LIC represents a bold commitment to excellence in medical education by both institutions,” said Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, President, Thomas Jefferson University and CEO, Jefferson Health. “It is the expression of a vision of the ideal physician, prepared to provide the best possible patient care in the 21st century.”
“Today is all about our students, who are truly pioneers in medical education,” said Brian Gragnolati, President and CEO of Atlantic Health System. “Their desire to learn and engage with patients in innovative ways will enable us to create the future of care we all envision – one that puts the patient at the center of a true network of personalized, accessible and affordable care designed for a lifetime of health and wellness.”
The regional campus is among the recent strategic partnerships by Atlantic to strengthen its position as the premier provider of high-quality health care in New Jersey, as well as an important step in Jefferson’s growing presence in New Jersey, following meteoric growth throughout eastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey.
In 2015, SKMC entered into an agreement with Atlantic Health System to establish the campus, the first site at which SKMC is establishing an LIC. The regional campus’s inaugural class of six students, all in their third year of training, recently completed inpatient rotations throughout Morristown and Overlook. They will now begin the innovative LIC curriculum, following selected patients through the full healthcare continuum of Atlantic Health System’s network of care – in many cases, from patients’ primary care doctors to specialists, both in the traditional hospital setting and out to providers in community settings.
Both organizations believe that the innovative LIC model for medical education and training reflects how medicine has become less reliant on care within the hospital walls. SKMC chose to pilot the LIC model at Atlantic Health System due to the organization’s robust continuum of care – a system comprised of more than 400 sites of care including the network of more than 2,500 community-based health care providers in the Atlantic Alliance, and the high-level of care offered at its six hospitals.
For Aisha Golaub, one of the six LIC students, continuity was a big factor in choosing a third-year program. The Wayne, NJ, native noted that the inpatient rotations had already allowed her to witness patients’ progression through multiple stages of their care, an experience that is not traditionally found in medical education.
“It was almost magical to see these fields converge and it felt like a sign that this year would be truly different than the traditional third year experience,” Golaub said. “Third-year is when you are trying to decide just what kind of medicine you want to practice, so the early exposure that the SKMC regional campus at Atlantic Health System offers to the variety of health care specialties is already proving to be invaluable.”
Students can choose to return to the regional campus for their fourth year of training.
Earlier this year, SKMC and Atlantic Health System appointed vascular surgeon and medical educator James Alexander, MD, as associate dean for the regional medical school campus. Prior to joining Jefferson and Atlantic Health System, Dr. Alexander was the vice chairman for education in the Department of Surgery at Cooper Medical School, as well as professor of surgery. At Cooper, Alexander piloted a third-year longitudinal integrated clerkship for the school, established in 2012.