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Middlesex County announces $25 million investment to foster health and life sciences innovation

May 6, 2020
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  • Critical funding to impact educational infrastructure of new Cancer Pavilion 
  • Investment capital to drive economic expansion and growth in Middlesex County 
  • Opportunity to establish a long-term partnership focused on job readiness and training initiatives​

Middlesex County, NJ – In partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, RWJBarnabas Health, New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO), and The City of New Brunswick – Middlesex County is investing $25 million in the new Cancer Pavilion project, which when completed, will be the state’s first free-standing comprehensive cancer pavilion. This world-class facility will provide essential patient care in the treatment of cancer as well as create a “bench to bedside” approach to provide a greater connection between research and treatment. With Middlesex County’s financial strength and stability, this investment will also allow for enhanced educational platforms including state-of-the-art laboratory spaces, innovative imaging technology and equipment, as well as robust programming to engage and foster education from internships and hands-on training opportunities for County residents.

Middlesex County is in a unique position to invest in projects of this magnitude due to its strong AAA bond rating, which gives the County the financial bandwidth to drive economic growth. Investments such as the new Cancer Pavilion demonstrate continued leadership and deep partnerships including with the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, in the vital sector of health and life sciences. This $25 million investment is part of a long-term strategic plan and partnership with leading regional and national organizations to continue to create a powerful health and education ecosystem in the County. The funding will allow the latest health innovations to directly benefit residents; create new job opportunities and career paths in multiple disciplines; and present exclusive access to educational curricula and content from a premier oncology center for Middlesex County College and Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools.

“At the core of every decision we make at Middlesex County is a focus on innovation, which stems from fostering strong partnerships with leading organizations across government, educational organizations, and the private sector, as well as investing in our residents. The announcement today is emblematic of the continued commitment we have in the health and life sciences sector. Even amid a pandemic, the County has a rare opportunity to provide resources for forward-looking projects that build a strong foundation for enhancing the health and life sciences talent pool through best-in-class education from our partners,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios. “We are fortunate that our financial and operational strength enables us to move full steam ahead with economic development plans to bolster our community at large and for generations to come.

At a time when the world is facing an economic downturn, Middlesex County’s strong AAA bond rating ensures that its financial sustainability is unmatched not only in the State of New Jersey but in the Tri-State Area. The County has achieved this unique position by reducing its overall debt by 35 percent, or a staggering $250 million over the last five years, while increasing its retained surplus position to $80 million dollars through sound, strategic financial planning. This has empowered Middlesex County to invest in vital economic growth initiatives both now and in the future.

“The Cancer Pavilion will be a model for cancer care delivery on the East Coast, bringing together the three mission areas of academic medicine – research, education, and patient care – all under one roof,” said Barry H. Ostrowsky, president and chief executive officer, RWJBarnabas Health. “Today’s exciting announcement is further evidence of the tremendous value being provided to area residents through the broader partnership between Middlesex County and RWJBarnabas Health.”

“We are grateful for the partnership with Middlesex County, Middlesex County College, and Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools to foster innovation and discovery, as well as the robust educational prospects that will be created in the new cancer pavilion as a result of this relationship,” stated Steven K. Libutti, MD, director, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and senior vice president, oncology services, RWJBarnabas Health. “In addition to training opportunities for allied health professionals, Middlesex County College nursing and radiography students will gain hands-on experience in our clinical enterprise while science students will be afforded research experience in our laboratories. As New Jersey’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center it is most appropriate that this state-of-the-art pavilion provides an environment conducive to the training of the next generation of cancer researchers and clinicians.”

“New Brunswick has always been a laboratory, a test bed for public-private partnerships that have impact on the quality of life for people who live, study, discover, and work in our city,” said Chris Paladino, president of New Brunswick Development Corporation. “It’s a partnership that will have a major impact on the lives of every New Jerseyan. There’s no magic to any of this. It works because we prepare, we work hard, we innovate, we learn from our success, we even learn from our mistakes. It works because we do it through partnerships. There is no more noble endeavor than to turn the power of a partnership and collaboration to facilitate the mission of academic medicine, research, education, and patient care, ensuring that scientific findings will translate directly from the bench to the bedside.”

"Middlesex County College is honored to be a part of the innovative and continued partnership between Middlesex County and RWJ Barnabas Health. Community colleges are engines of opportunity and provide pathways to education for so many. This partnership represents new clinical, research, and internship opportunities to foster a pipeline of healthcare professionals and future scientists. These amazing opportunities for Middlesex County College students will prepare them for rewarding careers and open the door to opportunity for employment in their chosen fields," said Mark McCormick, president of Middlesex County College.

“This group of dedicated partners have once again created unique opportunities for the communities they serve. The 25-million-dollar investment will enhance the services provided by the Cancer Institute, which will in turn make its world-class oncology curriculum available to the students of the County’s higher learning institutions. This will save lives and benefit so many for generations to come. I applaud the Board of Chosen Freeholders for their vision and dedication to the future of the City of New Brunswick and all of Middlesex County,” said Mayor Jim Cahill of The City of New Brunswick.

“The new Cancer Pavilion is a symbol of growth and innovation for our County, as we continue to provide the best possible health and education resources to our community. The investment we are making today will dramatically improve the lives of our residents from a job creation standpoint; provide access to topnotch cancer care; and offer our students advanced educational opportunities that will catapult their careers – creating a strong healthcare workforce in Middlesex County for generations to come,” said Kenneth Armwood, freeholder deputy director and chair of Business Innovation, Education, & Opportunity Committee.

The new patient and family-centered Cancer Pavilion will be designed to create the safest, most efficient environment for integrated cancer care and delivery. The $750 million project will allow for the consolidation of key cancer services into a single location including those for chemotherapy and radiation therapy, as well as major diagnostic modalities, in a 12-story structure, comprised of over 510,000 square feet. Featuring New Jersey’s only oncology inpatient hospital, consolidation of services into a single Cancer Pavilion will provide greater opportunities to serve patients while improving the overall patient experience. The space will also feature research laboratories, enabling physician-scientists to more rapidly translate scientific findings from laboratory bench to patient bedside, resulting in clinical assessment, feedback on clinical trials, and collection of research data in a more rapid and direct fashion.​​​​​

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