Dr. Jeffrey Boscamp, a longtime Hackensack Meridian Health executive who served as acting dean of the medical school following the sudden death of Dr. Bonita Stanton, has been named dean of the fledgling institution, who graduated its first doctors last year.
Boscamp, a pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases, has been involved with the medical school since the idea of founding it was first discussed more than a decade ago, the school’s announcement said. . He served as co-chair of the committee that invited Stanton to become its founding dean, and later served as vice-dean himself. His appointment follows a nationwide search, the statement said.
Calling him a “visionary educator,” Robert C. Garrett, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health System, said he looks forward to seeing Boscamp lead the school into an “even brighter future.” Boscamp will hold the Robert C. and Laura C. Garrett Endowed Chair for the Dean of the School of Medicine.
“This school has been like a baby to me,” Boscamp said, using a pediatric analogy. “Now I can channel it from childhood to adolescence.” While the early years of the school focused on getting the accreditation needed to grant degrees, “now I can really focus on the lofty goals: why we started a new medical school.”
And that includes training a new generation of physicians who focus on the social, economic, and environmental factors that contribute so much to a person’s health.
From their first day, students learn how access to health care, inequities in access and treatment, and people’s behavior determine their health, he said. Students work in pairs with a family during their three or four years in medical school and learn from their experience of health care. A pair of students, having learned of a family’s problems getting from a Paterson housing project to their doctor’s appointments, helped establish a new bus line between the project and the medical center in St. Joseph’s University, Boscamp said.
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Occupying a campus that once served as its headquarters in Hoffmann-La Roche, the medical school welcomed its first class of 60 in 2018. Of the inaugural class, 18 graduated last year through a unique program and accelerated by three years. In June, another 63 first and second class students graduated. Most have held residency positions at Hackensack Meridian Hospitals.
This year’s incoming class included more than 160 students chosen from 6,000 applicants. Although it was founded in partnership with Seton Hall University, the medical school is now fully independent and this year received full accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The next step is expected to be final accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, a major national regulatory body from which it received provisional accreditation in February 2021.
Boscamp is the co-director of a first-year basic science course called “Immunity, Infection, and Cancer.” At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, he chose eight medical students to read and summarize headlines from the onslaught of emerging research into the disease’s origins, symptoms and treatments. Their work – capsules of 70 articles in six weeks – has helped clinicians overwhelmed with patients and has been published in the journal “Academic Medicine”. He also teaches a popular wine appreciation course.
Boscamp, 67, joined Hackensack University Medical Center in 1987 and served as director of pediatrics at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack for 14 years before joining medical school. He founded the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Program and the Steven Bader Immunological Institute at Hackensack University Medical Center. He lives in Harlem.
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