A major New Jersey health system is joining forces with a public research institution to create a new academic venture that aims to deepen South Jersey's footprint as a regional hub for innovation and clinical discovery.

Virtua Health, the largest health system in the southern region of the Garden State, and Rowan University, located in Glassboro, announced their partnership Tuesday that will result in the creation of the Virtua Health College of Medicine & Health Sciences of Rowan University.

The new college will include New Jersey's only osteopathic medical school, multiple new research institutes, and an expanded nursing and allied health professions school, among other offerings.

Rowan University
Rowan University

To help support the partnership, Virtua is making a philanthropic investment of $85 million to Rowan, which is ranked in the top 100 public research institutions in the country.

"The best health systems in the nation partner with great research institutions," said Rowan University President Ali Houshmand. "This landmark gift and our partnership will transform both institutions."

The expansion is expected to generate more than $225 million in new research grants by 2032, according to Rowan University Provost Tony Lowman.

Virtua's investment will help with construction of a state-of-the-art research facility, and with costs related to faculty and educational programs. The partnership noted that 50 new faculty investigators will be recruited over the next 10 years.

"There has never been a more defining moment for our two respected organizations to come together to transform and reimagine the future of health care and the health care workforce than right now," said Dennis Pullin, president and CEO of Virtual Health. "This affiliation will further strengthen our relationship with Rowan so that we can innovate around the training of tomorrow's physicians and health professionals and the critical research that will impact the future of health care in this community."

Pullin said it's not yet known when the facility will be built, or where it will be located.

Tuesday's announcement was the product of about 18 months of planning, Pullin said.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

Omicron impact on COVID cases in NJ

As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches its third calendar year in New Jersey, some things have stayed true (hand-washing, advice to vaccinate) while others have evolved along with the latest variant (less monoclonal antibody treatments, new at-home anti-viral pills).

More From Beach Radio