Seton Hall University and Hackensack University Health Network (HackensackUHN) have named Dr. Bonita Stanton, a nationally recognized expert on pediatric medicine, as the founding dean of their new school of medicine which is slated to open in fall 2018. She is expected to begin her new role in March.
“Whether working with low income populations in the United States, women and children in Bangladesh, migrant workers in China or rural youth in Africa, Dean Stanton’s calling has been to bring the healing and compassion of healthcare to the world’s most vulnerable peoples,” said Seton Hall University President A. Gabriel Esteban. “Working with major universities and hospitals as well as the World Bank, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, she exemplifies the servant leadership spirit that is a profound part of our mission at Seton Hall. It is with great honor that we name Bonita Stanton as the founding dean of our school of medicine.”
“We proudly welcome Dr. Bonita Stanton as the founding dean of our new medical school,” said Robert C. Garrett, president and chief executive officer of the Hackensack University Health Network. “Our rigorous search yielded outstanding candidates from across the nation. President Esteban and I are confident that Dr. Stanton with her outstanding background and accomplishments will lead this school of medicine to become one of the finest in the U.S., while maintaining our shared tradition and mission to educate the physicians of tomorrow in a groundbreaking, collaborative environment.”
Stanton graduated from Wellesley College and Yale University School of Medicine, completed her pediatric residency at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital (Case Western Reserve) and her Pediatric Infectious Disease Fellowship training at Yale University School of Medicine.
For the past four years Stanton has served as Vice Dean for Research at Wayne State University School of Medicine. Previously, she served as the Schotanus Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Wayne State; Pediatrician-in-Chief at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Detroit Medical Center; and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, West Virginia University. Earlier in her career, she was a faculty member and Division Chief of General Pediatrics at University of Maryland School of Medicine. For five years, she lived and worked with her family in Bangladesh—where she served as a health consultant to the World Bank and the International Center for Diarrheal Diseases Research, and as director of a community-based research and service program designed to help women and children in the slums of Dhaka.
An author of more than 300 peer-reviewed articles, Stanton has served as an editor of the “Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics,” along with many other journals and books. Among many local, national and international advisory roles, she was a member of the Advisory Board of the National Institutes of Health’s Fogarty International Center and was president of the Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs.
“The partnership between Seton Hall, a nationally renowned university with a programmatic emphasis on high-quality inter-professional care, and HackensackUHN, a health care delivery system of great size, stature and innovation sets the stage for the transformation of health care delivery, research and education in New Jersey, with implications for the nation and throughout the world,” said Stanton. “I am honored and delighted to accept the opportunity to lead the development of an integrated education, research and care delivery system at a new school of medicine with such visionary partners.”
“My career has focused on improving health outcomes for all persons regardless of race, ethnicity, socio-economic status and geographic location,” noted Stanton. “I share the widespread concern that U.S. health care costs are among the highest in the world, but our health outcomes are only fair in comparison with all nations and poor in comparison with our socioeconomic peer nations. Extensive research speaks to the importance of delivering preventive and curative care with a far greater emphasis on community-based services, reserving our tertiary hospitals for technologically complex procedures and treatments and the very ill.”
In June 2015, Seton Hall and HackensackUHN signed a definitive agreement to form a new, four-year school of medicine to help curb the critical physician shortage that the state and the nation currently face. By 2020, it is estimated there will be a shortage of 2,500 physicians in the Garden State. The joint venture to create a premier academic institution will help combat the physician shortage by providing key educational, research, and career opportunities to incentivize the next generation to pursue a career in medicine.
The school of medicine will be committed to educational and healthcare excellence, cutting-edge research, high quality care, and the advancement of medical and health science educational imperatives. Seton Hall’s plan to co-locate its College of Nursing and School of Health and Medical Sciences with the new school of medicine is not only innovative but mirrors how healthcare will be delivered in the future. HackensackUHN’s hospitals will serve as the primary clinical teaching sites for Seton Hall and other university-affiliated graduate education programs.
“We are very pleased to have someone of Dr. Stanton’s caliber to assume the role of founding dean of the School of Medicine,” said Seton Hall Provost and Executive Vice President Larry Robinson. “To address the shortage of trained physicians in New Jersey and in our nation, it will take a compelling vision and a curriculum that addresses the ways healthcare can and should be delivered. Dr. Stanton’s academic credentials, her scholarship and research, and her passion for service make her an ideal leader to create the innovative environment for our new School of Medicine and we are genuinely excited with her appointment.”
The School of Medicine, which is slated to accept its first students within two years, has already received preliminary approval from the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners, subject to seeking preliminary accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). The LCME, among other requirements, calls for the appointment of a dean prior to approval.
The new medical school received a $16.9 million award from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s Grow NJ program in November 2015.