Mayor Baraka and Rutgers University announced today that the administration is submitting a request to the Newark Municipal Council for authorization to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that will for a six-month period make Rutgers University Vice-Chancellor Dr. Denise V. Rodgers the City’s Interim Director of the Municipal Department of Health and Community Wellness and retain Rutgers University’s medical center  as consultants to improve the department, its delivery of health services and its permanent leadership.

The Memorandum of Understanding is being presented to the Municipal Council at its pre-meeting today. The university’s team will for six months provide consulting, expertise, guidance, and leadership to the City. Rutgers will also assist the City in identifying and recruiting a permanent Director of Health and Community Wellness to serve for the remainder of the Mayor’s term. After six months, the team will present recommendations to the City on measures that the City should take permanently to maintain high levels of cost-effective public health service.

“This agreement with Rutgers University brings a world-class university and its academic medical center in as partners, advisers, analysts, leaders, consultants, and advocates for creating what I envision to be the finest public health department of any city in the nation,” said Mayor Baraka. “I expect that our example will set the standard for public/private partnerships in health care and be a model for other cities. I welcome Dr. Rodgers and the entire Rutgers team onto the Newark team.”

Dr. Rodgers gained her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychobiology in 1974 from Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, and her M.D. from Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine in East Lansing, Michigan. She is board-certified in Family Medicine.

Dr. Rodgers served as a professor of Family and Community Medicine at University of California in San Francisco until 1997, and then in a series of educational and administrative positions at University of Medicine and Dentistry—Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, becoming President of the University of Medicine and Dentistry in January 2012, until its reorganization in June 2013.

She later became Director of the Rutgers Urban Health and Wellness Institute and Vice Chancellor for Interprofessional Programs. Dr. Rodgers holds numerous professional honors and awards and has served on many national boards and committees.

Dr. Rodgers and all Rutgers employees serving as consultants will remain on the Rutgers payroll and will not become employees of the City.