Rutgers Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies Premiers Film on LGBTQ+ Health Equity
The Rutgers School of Public Health’s Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies (CHIBPS) premiered the short film “Queer Health: Advancing LGBTQ+ Health Equity.”
“Queer Health,” which aired at the annual American Public Health Association Meeting and Expo, focuses on how we can move toward and achieve health equity for LGBTQ+ people and populations through research, education, and community-engaged programs by chronicling the work of CHIBPS, a nationally recognized center for the study of LGBTQ+ health at Rutgers. The center focuses on infectious disease, substance use, and mental health dipartites and burdens.
The documentary includes interviews with leading LGBTQ+ health and public health experts in New Jersey and highlights the 18.3 million LGBTQ+ people living in the United States. LGBTQ+ people have higher rates of mental health problems, including depression, mood disorders, substance use and suicidal ideation, according to experts. They also experience higher rates of some cancers and are disproportionately impacted by HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. LGBTQ+ people are also less likely to access health care for a variety of reasons including previous discrimination, stigma, financial concerns, fear of negative interactions with clinicians, and a lack of medical professionals trained in LGBTQ+ health.
Emphasizing the work of CHIBPS since the late 1990s, the film proposes an inclusive powerhouse institute that will advance health and visibility, as well as address health disparities that LGBTQ+ people face in New Jersey and beyond. The planned Rutgers Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Heath would be an incubator for individuals to come together to advance LGBTQ+ health efforts in a unified way.
“Too often efforts to address the health of LGBTQ+ people are fragmented and disconnected,” said Perry N. Halkitis, founder and director of CHIBPS. “Researchers work separately from clinicians, who work separately from policymakers. Efforts to unite these professionals will create a holistic approach to improving the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ people.”
The institute will provide a space where research, education, policy, and clinical services are coordinated.
“The institute will develop policies, laws, and white papers that advance LGBTQ+ health issues,” added Halkitis, who also is dean and Hunterdon Professor of Public Health and Health Equity and a Distinguished Professor at the Rutgers School of Public Health.
Halkitis, along with other leading LGBTQ+ health and public health experts, explains that there are very few such institutes in the U.S., with none in New Jersey.
“The dream is that the Rutgers Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Heath will be the home of all LGBTQ+ health work being done at Rutgers and in New Jersey,” said Kristen Krause, deputy director of CHIBPS and instructor at the Rutgers School of Public Health.
The film also highlights hundreds of bills that have been introduced by legislators in recent years that threaten, oppress, and silence LGBTQ+ people.
“Many bills have passed, undermining the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ people and populations,” adds Krause.
The work of CHIBPS, the Rutgers School of Public Health, and the proposed Rutgers Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Heath is especially critical as anti-LGBTQ+ hate and violence continue to occur at alarming rates.
“LGBTQ+ people have long been subject to discrimination and prejudice in all aspects of their lives. In recent years, the rhetoric against members of the LGBTQ+ population – uplifted by political figures as a means of advancing their own careers – has enabled those like the Colorado Springs shooter,” says Halkitis.
“In the end, hate, is the most significant driver that diminishes public health,” he adds.
One of the ways that the Rutgers School of Public Health, seeks to combat this oppression is through programs like the first known master of public health concentration in LGBT public health. The concentration prepares graduate-level students to conduct research and work in public health programs dedicated to improving the health of LGBTQ+ individuals and communities.
In addition to the work being done by CHIBPS and the LGBT public health concentration, faculty members like Rafael E. Pérez-Figueroa, associate dean of community engagement and public health practice, conduct research that takes into consideration social factors and conditions, including representing the most vulnerable sexual and gender minority individuals and groups.
“Ever since Rutgers hired Dean Halkitis, the school has taken an entirely new direction,” said James Dougherty, a member of the Rutgers University Board of Governors and past Chair of the Board of Trustees, who was the principal donor to the university’s Pride Bus Campaign.
Halkitis leaves the film’s viewers with a powerful message of hope.
“I want to say to people, particularly young people, who are questioning, wondering, and thinking about their sexual and gender identities that there are a lot of us out there who are in really powerful positions right now who are going to continue to fight for you,” Halkitis said. “So don’t give up.”
This story originally appeared on the Rutgers Today site.
Rutgers-led Team Receives $25 Million to Tackle Debilitating Condition in Late Stages of Cancer
New Brunswick, N.J. – June 16, 2022 – A world-class team of researchers assembled and led by Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and its Deputy Director and Chief Scientific Officer Eileen White has been awarded a $25 million Cancer Grand Challenges grant to research cancer cachexia – a debilitating condition people often experience in later stages of their cancer.
The CANCAN (CANcer Cachexia Action Network) team from Rutgers Cancer Institute, joined by Weill Cornell Medicine’s Marcus DaSilva Goncalves and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Tobias Janowitz, will explore the challenge of the wasting condition that is accompanied by fatigue and tissue dysfunction, imparting a poor prognosis and quality of life.
Despite being a major clinical problem, little is understood about the syndrome, which lacks effective therapies for people who experience it. By understanding mechanisms causing this syndrome, researchers could develop novel interventions to improve treatment response, quality of life, and ultimately survival.
The team unites scientists and clinicians with expertise in cancer, metabolism, neuroendocrine function, immunology and more, across 13 institutions throughout the United States and the United Kingdom, aiming to build the world’s first virtual institute with a mission to solve cancer cachexia.
“We’re thrilled to be selected for funding by Cancer Grand Challenges,” said White, who is also associate director of basic research and co-director of the Duncan and Nancy MacMillan Cancer Immunology and Metabolism Center of Excellence at Rutgers Cancer Institute; a distinguished professor of molecular biology and biochemistry at Rutgers University-New Brunswick’s School of Arts and Sciences; and associate director of the Ludwig Princeton Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at Princeton University.
“Cachexia research has been fruitful in recent decades, but it’s been incremental and has not yet generated any effective therapies. We’ve assembled a team with diverse and complementary expertise, which we believe will advance the field and find novel ways to remedy the condition,” she said.
Rutgers Cancer Institute Director Steven K. Libutti, senior vice president, oncology services, RWJBarnabas Health, praised White’s cutting-edge research.
“We are excited that the team that Dr. Eileen White assembled, representing outstanding institutions from across the globe, received this highly competitive award from the Cancer Grand Challenges funding partnership, and that this award will help her team explore such an important area of cancer research on a global level. Studies focused on cancer metabolism and the tumor microenvironment are at the foundation of Rutgers Cancer Institute’s science,’’ he said.
Rutgers Cancer Institute, New Jersey’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, offers the most advanced cancer treatment options including bone marrow transplantation, proton therapy, CAR T-cell therapy, and complex surgical procedures. Along with clinical trials and novel therapeutics such as precision medicine and immunotherapy – many of which are not widely available – patients have access to these cutting-edge therapies at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey at University Hospital in Newark, as well as through RWJBarnabas Health facilities.
“Cancer is a global issue that needs to be met with global collaboration. This investment in team science encourages diverse thinking to problems like cachexia that have long hindered research progress,” said David Scott, director of Cancer Grand Challenges, Cancer Research UK. “Cancer Grand Challenges provides the multidisciplinary teams the time, space, and funding to foster innovation and a transformative approach. CANCAN is one of four newly funded teams joining a scientific community addressing unmet clinical needs across cancer research.”
The CANCAN team is one of four new teams announced today as part of Cancer Grand Challenges, representing a total investment of $100 million to diverse, global teams to take on some of the toughest challenges in cancer research. The CANCAN team is spread across 14 institutions across the UK and US: Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey; Weill Cornell Medicine; Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; Kaiser Permanente Medical Program of Northern California; Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute; Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute; The Salk Institute for Biological Studies; University of Rochester; Harvard Medical School; Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Louisiana State University; University of Cambridge; University College London; and the University of Glasgow.
Cancer Grand Challenges is a global funding platform, co-founded by Cancer Research UK and the National Cancer Institute (part of the National Institutes of Health), which supports a community of diverse, global teams to come together, think differently, and take on some of cancer’s toughest challenges.
Former Scarlet Knight Shawn Tucker Returns to Rutgers in New Role
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Former Scarlet Knights football co-captain and Rutgers fundraiser Shawn Tucker is returning to the university as vice president for athletics development at Rutgers University Foundation. Tucker currently serves as associate vice president and director of athletics at New Jersey City University (NJCU). He joined NJCU in 2018 after a succession of positions at Rutgers, starting in 2007 and culminating in a five-year tenure as associate athletic director of student-athlete development.
In his new role, Tucker will lead a comprehensive fundraising program and a team of professional staff that supports Rutgers Athletics’ priorities through engagement and stewardship of the university’s donors and more than 550,000 alumni. Additionally, he has been appointed by Athletics Director Pat Hobbs to serve as a deputy athletic director. He will bring his demonstrated record of success and commitment to providing leadership, strategic direction and oversight to athletic fundraising, managing relationships with the university’s most generous supporters.
“I’m beyond thrilled to be back On the Banks,” said Tucker. “There’s nothing like coming home. We accomplished great feats at NJCU and transformed our athletics department into one of the fastest growing Division III programs in the country. I’m looking forward to this wonderful opportunity bringing back the leadership and management experience I’ve gained over the past four years.
Tucker rejoins an invigorated university. Emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic under President Jonathan Holloway’s leadership, the university has recommitted itself to its mission through new programs to enhance college access, life-changing research, and an expanded mission of service to New Jersey’s communities and people.
“Shawn is the right leader at the right time,” said Kimberly Hopely, executive vice president for development and alumni engagement and president of Rutgers University Foundation. “He brings energy, integrity, and a rare combination of talents. He’s a gifted fundraiser, tireless advocate for students, a dynamic leader, and a tremendous human being.”
Tucker’s association with Rutgers has been long and successful. After co-captaining the iconic 11-2 2006 Scarlet Knights football team under coach Greg Schiano, Tucker went on to hold progressively responsible professional roles at the university, including positions with the Office of Continuing and Professional Education and with Rutgers Athletics, where he served as administrator of the gymnastics program and as a fundraiser.
Rutgers Athletic Director Pat Hobbs said, “I’m delighted that Shawn is returning to the banks to join our team. He brings great talent and will be a role model to all of our student athletes about the limitless possibilities a Rutgers education provides. He will be an invaluable addition to Rutgers and will play a pivotal role with our dedicated community of alumni and donors.”
Scarlet Knights Football Coach Greg Schiano said Tucker will be an asset.
“Shawn was a huge contributor to our team’s success in the early 2000s, and I know that he’ll be a huge contributor now,” Schiano said.“We have ambitious goals for our football program, and I know that’s true of every sport at Rutgers.”
Tucker said, “It’s an amazing era at Rutgers and a fantastic time to rejoin the team. President Holloway’s leadership already has been transformative, and there is incredible excitement about all of our Scarlet Knights teams achieving new heights in competition. I look forward to reconnecting with many of the impassionate supporters and establishing new, fruitful connections to our great institution. The future of Rutgers is unquestionably bright and its truly an honor to play a pivotal role in this great chapter of success!”
NJM Insurance Group Supports Rutgers Future Scholars
NJM Insurance Group (NJM) has contributed $100,000 to support Rutgers Future Scholars, a nationally acclaimed college access program for promising first-generation-to-college middle school students in New Jersey.
Rutgers Future Scholars is among several college access initiatives that Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway has championed since taking office in July 2020.
“This contribution from NJM makes a powerful statement to young people in our communities about how much we believe in them and their capacity to change the world,” Holloway said. “I am deeply grateful for NJM’s commitment to increasing New Jersey residents’ access to higher education.”
Each year, Rutgers Future Scholars offers 200 middle school students from New Brunswick, Piscataway, Newark, Camden, and Rahway the opportunity to prepare for college. The summer before they enter eighth grade, the students join a pre-college culture of university programming, events, support, and mentoring that continues through their high school years and, eventually, college.
Scholars are expected to complete their regular schoolwork in addition to the program’s requirements. Those who successfully complete the five-year program and are admitted to Rutgers receive full-tuition funding through scholarships and federal grants.
“NJM and all those who support Rutgers ensure that a college degree will be a promise fulfilled for our next generation of leaders,” Holloway added. “That promise knows no boundaries and seeks out excellence wherever it is to be found.”
Holloway said that NJM’s contribution is foundational to Rutgers’ efforts to broaden and deepen the Scarlet Promise initiative, which comprises a range of programs that break down financial and other barriers preventing many talented students from attending the university and graduating on time. At his November inauguration, the president called on the university to raise $50 million over the next three years in support of Scarlet Promise.
“NJM has a proud history of supporting educational initiatives, especially those that empower underserved students and provide access to higher education. We know that there are challenges in the pursuit of a college degree,” said Mitch Livingston RC’87, CLAW’90, NJM president and CEO. “The Rutgers Future Scholars program has a proven track record of meeting this need and we are pleased to provide this contribution as part of our core value of supporting the communities we are privileged to serve.”
NJM is among the Mid-Atlantic’s leading property and casualty insurers. Founded in 1913, NJM’s mission is to provide value-based insurance solutions to its policyholders with the highest levels of service, integrity, and financial stewardship. The company operates in a mutual fashion for the exclusive benefit of its policyholders. Headquartered in West Trenton, New Jersey, NJM employs nearly 2,500 workers.
Aramis Gutierrez, director of Rutgers Future Scholars, praised NJM for the company’s latest contribution and longtime support for the program.
“For nearly 10 years, NJM’s generosity has supported scholars in this pre-college program,” Gutierrez said. “The impact that this level of support has had on our students is nothing short of remarkable. Scholars know they belong, that they can succeed, and that there are champions like NJM who care deeply about their hopes and dreams. We are truly honored to have NJM as a part of the Rutgers Future Scholars family.”
Access Week Highlights Rutgers–New Brunswick’s Commitment to Underserved Students
Rutgers University–New Brunswick announced today a sweeping new financial aid program that builds upon existing state aid programs to enable New Jersey students with family incomes below $65,000 to attend the university tuition free. The program also provides a sliding scale that significantly limits the amount of out-of-pocket tuition and fees paid by students with family incomes below $100,000.
The Scarlet Guarantee will be available to first- and second-year students and is linked to the Garden State Guarantee, a new statewide program launched last month by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy for third- and fourth-year students. An estimated 7,600 students at Rutgers University-New Brunswick are expected to take advantage of the programs.
“These new programs are transformational for our state’s students,” said Rutgers University–New Brunswick Chancellor-Provost Francine Conway. “Students who once thought a college education could never be within reach will have the access and opportunity to fulfill their life’s ambition. I couldn’t be more thrilled that Rutgers-New Brunswick will now be more inclusive of all students.”
In combination with the Garden State Guarantee, the Scarlet Guarantee will provide the following coverage for undergraduate students for four years:
- Adjusted Gross Income of $65,000 or less: Full annual tuition and mandatory fees
- Adjusted Gross Income of $65,001 to $80,000: Students will pay no more than $3,000 per year toward tuition and mandatory fees
- Adjusted Gross Income of $80,001 to $100,000: Students will pay no more than $5,000 per year toward tuition and mandatory fees
“I applaud President Holloway and Chancellor-Provost Conway for their bold initiative to put a Rutgers undergraduate education within reach for more students,” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. “The Scarlet Guarantee builds upon the foundation of our Garden State Guarantee program and is a game changer for the Rutgers community. I look forward to seeing other colleges and universities across New Jersey take similar steps to make college more affordable.”
The program provides “last dollar” financial aid that covers the gap in the cost of in-state tuition and mandatory fees after other state and federal aid programs are provided to qualified students.
“The Scarlet Guarantee program will help qualified students from across New Jersey realize their hopes, dreams and ambitions and will help Rutgers become an even richer and more diverse university,” said Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway.
Students are automatically considered for the Scarlet Guarantee when they complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or, if they qualify as a New Jersey Dreamer, the NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application.
The Garden State Guarantee was signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy and will be first implemented in the 2022-23 academic year.
“A Rutgers degree will open so many doors, and many more students can now pursue all the opportunities afforded by a world-class research university without worrying about whether they can afford it,” said Courtney McAnuff, vice chancellor for enrollment management at Rutgers–New Brunswick. “We are deeply appreciative of Gov. Murphy’s commitment to making college more affordable and are happy to join his efforts.”
Rutgers–New Brunswick is New Jersey’s top-ranked public university and is regularly ranked among the best public research universities in the world. In recent years, it has redoubled its commitment to increasing pathways for its 35,000 undergraduate students, who come from all economic backgrounds.
The announcement comes at an apt time for the university as it celebrates its ninth annual Access Week. From Feb. 21 -25, student-facing programming and lectures on campus will focus on how the university can champion educational equity and unlock pathways for success for current and prospective first-generation, low-income and other underserved students.
Rutgers University Foundation Board to Eliminate “Overseers’’ From Its Name
Rutgers University Foundation Board to Eliminate “Overseers’’ From Its Name
Rutgers University Foundation’s governing board announced plans today to change its name to the Rutgers University Foundation Board of Directors, eliminating the term “overseers,” a change that comes amid growing nationwide consensus around the abandonment of language that historically has connoted racial inequities.
Since the foundation’s 1973 establishment, its board has been known as the Board of Overseers. Rutgers University Foundation is the non-profit fundraising affiliate of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway supports the move. “I welcome the Rutgers University Foundation board’s decision to choose a name that better represents them and the work they do so well for the university.”
“I want to congratulate the board on moving so decisively on this matter,” said Nevin Kessler, Rutgers University Foundation president. “It reflects well on the university and on the commitment of the membership to create a board where all feel welcomed to serve.”
Initiated by a unanimous vote of the board during its March 24 meeting, the change will be finalized in the board’s governing documents at its next full meeting this summer.
“Rutgers is one of the world’s most diverse universities, and it has become more diverse while steadily improving its national reputation,” said Phil Scalo, the board’s chairman. “This decision reflects Rutgers’ high standards and our duty to reflect the values of our community in everything we do, including philanthropy.”
The announcement occurs at a time of intense self-examination among colleges and universities nationwide. Many have entered into debates about how to reconcile egalitarian ideals and sometimes difficult histories.
In February, Rutgers announced it is taking further steps to acknowledge its connection to slavery and racial injustice with the creation of four additional historical markers that tell the story of its early benefactors whose families made their fortunes through the slave economy. The markers join others previously installed that were recommended as by the Committee on Enslaved and Disenfranchised Populations in Rutgers History as part of the 2015 Scarlet and Black Project.
Kessler noted that “There is close correlation between diversity and excellence in higher education, and we are exceptionally proud of our diverse, highly accomplished alumni body. The foundation’s attention to important details like this name change is indicative of our approach to engaging our full community.”
“At the end of the day, we are committed to helping advance Rutgers’ national standing through philanthropy,” he said. “Our donors share our aspirations and expect our utmost commitment to the high ideals top universities pursue.”
Rutgers to Host Sixth Giving Day on March 24
When the clock strikes midnight on Wednesday, March 24, alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of the university will unite to help Rutgers help the world.
Giving Day, an annual 24-hour event organized by Rutgers University Foundation, encourages Rutgers community members from around the world to contribute to the Rutgers schools and programs most meaningful to them. It helps fund lifesaving research, emergency student aid, on-campus programs, global teaching and service and more.
This year’s Giving Day, Rutgers’ sixth, occurs at a time when philanthropy, advocacy and volunteerism take on heightened importance at the university, which has led nationally in the fight against COVID-19 and provided millions of dollars in emergency support to students adversely affected by the pandemic.
On Rutgers Giving Day, participants can:
- Make a tax-deductible gift to their favorite Rutgers area at givingday.rutgers.edu.
- Spread the word on social media by using #RUGivingDay.
- Participate in virtual challenges throughout the day to help their favorite Rutgers areas win additional support, like sharing a save-the-date video for a chance to award $500 toward the Rutgers fund they find most meaningful.
Though Giving Day will be held entirely online again this year due to the pandemic, the university aims to exceed the 5,790 donors who participated in the event in 2020.
“Rutgers is more than an institution. It is a source of hope for a lot of people,” said Nevin E. Kessler, president of Rutgers University Foundation. “And year after year Rutgers Giving Day demonstrates this by offering a wide variety of causes to support. What’s remarkable is that each cause has the capacity to make positive change happen.”
One of the programs that donors can contribute to is the Scarlet Promise Grants – essential need-based awards for talented students to help them close the gap between financial aid and tuition costs. On his first day in office in July 2020, Rutgers University president Jonathan Holloway personally donated $75,000 to kick off a $10 million fundraising campaign for the grants. To date, nearly 3,000 donors have stepped up to support Scarlet Promise Grants with gifts and pledges that put the campaign at 75 percent of its goal.
Giving Day challenges can be viewed in advance at givingday.rutgers.edu. Rutgers community members are encouraged to review the Rutgers Giving Day toolkit for materials and suggested messaging to help spread the word and encourage others to give.
“A gift on Rutgers Giving Day can support researchers fighting COVID-19, climate change, cancer and more,” said Kessler. “Donors can enhance a favorite school or program, or they can empower the next generation of young, brilliant leaders. The choice is theirs.”
For more information about Rutgers Giving Day, please contact Todd Lineburger of Rutgers University Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Rutgers University Foundation
Rutgers University Foundation raises funds to support Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. The foundation is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization. Learn more at support.rutgers.edu.
Story originally appeared in Rutgers Today.
Miller Center Secures Gift to Help Vulnerable Communities
Rutgers’ Miller Center for Community Protection and Resilience announced a $1.2 million gift that will support the center’s research and programming geared toward serving and securing vulnerable communities by improving relations with police. The gift was made by Paul S. Miller, the center’s founding donor and a longtime supporter of Rutgers University; with this gift, Miller’s donations to Rutgers approach $5 million.
“Protection of our most vulnerable populations has been one of the great challenges of this nation throughout its history,” said Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway. “Offering this safeguard is essential to the health of our society, and critical to the mission of Rutgers as an institution of public higher education. I want to thank Paul Miller for his recognition of the importance of this mission, and for his outstanding generosity to Rutgers through the years.”
“The events of this year—the disproportionate effects of the pandemic and the social unrest following the killing of George Floyd—have underscored for me the importance of reaching out to vulnerable populations both here and abroad to improve their security and their prospects,” said Paul S. Miller, founding donor of the Miller Center. “I am proud of the efforts the Miller Center has undertaken to date, as reflected in the new website, and believe those efforts position the center to take a prominent role in addressing the greatest public safety challenges of our time.”
“Over the past five years, the Miller Center has worked on the ground to improve the relationships of vulnerable populations with police and government officials from Brussels to Chicago to Whitefish, Montana,” said John J. Farmer, Jr., director of both the Miller Center and the Eagleton Institute of Politics. “We have established partnerships with universities from Sweden and the United Kingdom to New Jersey, and with worthy organizations like the International March of the Living and have engaged in cutting-edge research on the emergence of online hate and the effects of the COVID-19 on vulnerable populations. Our work, which is reflected on the website we launch today, is significant but just the beginning. These funds will enable the Miller Center to build on the real-world progress we have made in improving the status of vulnerable populations.”
The gift will help the Miller Center continue to expand its areas of research and impact. This year, the center conducted research about the security and safety of vulnerable communities, including:
- Pandemic policies
- Guidance and best practices for houses of worship to follow to mitigate the risk and spread of COVID-19
- Social media mobilization of extremist groups
- Police and law enforcement reform
- A new report and action guide to provide vulnerable communities and houses of worship policies and practices to enhance the security and safety of their communities during the holiday season
This week, the Miller Center also launched its new redesigned website which features an online library that houses the center’s research and published writings and provides user-friendly ways students, researchers, and the public can learn more about the center’s work and upcoming programming.
The Miller Center, affiliated with Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute of Politics and Rutgers Law School, works with vulnerable communities around the world to enhance their safety and standing in society by improving their relationships with law enforcement, with other government agencies and with other vulnerable communities.
Cancer Institute Secures Groundbreaking Donation
An anonymous $25 million philanthropic gift to Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey will provide groundbreaking support for the Cancer Immunology and Metabolism Center of Excellence. This generous donation will support faculty recruitment, shared resource development, and cancer research to help scientists better understand the human immune response to cancer and ultimately develop the foundation for new treatments or make existing therapies more effective.
“At a time of great challenge, we are deeply grateful to be receiving one of the largest gifts from an individual in our history—and for such a life-giving purpose,” says Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway. “Already a national leader in cancer metabolism research, Rutgers Cancer Institute is poised to strengthen its focus in cancer immunology, and this gift will enable us to continue making scientific progress and expand our collaborations with industry, academia, and others to improve quality of life and survivability of a cancer diagnosis.”
Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are the first three “pillars” and main treatment modes in the fight against cancer. Considered the “fourth pillar” of cancer care, immunotherapy—a class of treatments that harness the body’s own immune system to fight cancer—has recently produced significant advances that are revolutionizing cancer treatment. Despite this progress, cancer researchers’ most pressing challenge is to understand why some people respond to immunotherapies and others do not.
With the support of this gift, investigators will accelerate laboratory discoveries pertaining to these disciplines into clinical treatments through more effective and efficiently designed clinical trials. These trials will be offered in conjunction with other cancer centers and collaborators, such as the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium, and made accessible to patients at RWJBarnabas Health facilities across the state.
“As New Jersey’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Rutgers Cancer Institute has been at the forefront of developing and delivering immunotherapies, which are helping patients with previously untreatable cancers live longer or be cured altogether. While there are great outcomes for many patients, we still strive to determine the basis for limited response rates in certain patients and how this can be improved,” says Rutgers Cancer Institute director Steven K. Libutti, MD, FACS, senior vice president, oncology services, RWJBarnabas Health, and vice chancellor, cancer programs, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. “Through this transformational gift, we can leverage our expertise in the area of cancer metabolism to expand our efforts in immunology exploration, resulting in clinical trials and access to new and improved treatments.”
In collaboration with its research consortium partner Princeton University, the Cancer Institute is considered a foremost authority in the study of metabolism—the ability of cells to use nutrients and energy for sustenance—and how it contributes to cancer.
“While the altered metabolism of cancer cells drives tumor growth, it may also hold the key to enabling a patient’s immune system to recognize and eliminate cancer,” adds Cancer Institute deputy director and chief scientific officer Eileen White, Ph.D., who serves as co-director of the Center of Excellence. “By focusing significant effort to determine how tumor metabolism drives growth and suppresses the immune response, Rutgers Cancer Institute researchers can begin to develop new immunotherapies and make existing immunotherapies more effective for patients.”
The gift also supports the recruitment of a co-director to lead the center along with White. Following a nationwide search, Christian Hinrichs, M.D., an expert in cancer immunology and immunotherapy, was recruited from the National Cancer Institute. He will begin his new role in January. Additional new faculty at the center also will be supported through this gift.
“In addition to providing our world-renowned scientists at Rutgers Cancer Institute with the resources they need to make progress in this rapidly evolving field, this impactful gift sends a strong indicator to other potential supporters that this area of research holds significant promise. We are sincerely grateful for this level of support,” says David Edwards, the Cancer Institute’s chief development officer.
The gift is part of an overall $50 million fundraising campaign. The aim is to secure an additional $25 million to further fuel the work of the Cancer Immunology and Metabolism Center of Excellence.
Rutgers Athletics Unveils New Indoor Golf Facility
Members of Rutgers’ men’s and women’s golf teams will now be able to perfect their swings and short games year-round, thanks to a new training facility in the College Avenue Gym at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. The Class of 1957 Golf Training Center is a high-tech facility that features a putting space and hitting bay.
A fundraising campaign to create the facility was spearheaded by Rutgers’ Class of 1957 and its president, Tom Carpenter RC’57, and vice president, Harold Kaplan RC’57. The class previously provided funding for the purchase of a van to transport members of the golf teams to tournaments.
Kaplan said that the idea for the center took root a decade ago. “However, after the project took on expanded costs, it was put on hold,” he added. “Over the years, our interest of providing some type of golf facility never wavered. In 2018, (athletic director) Pat Hobbs gave approval. We are proud of our efforts and contributions that made the Class of 1957 Golf Training Center a reality.”
The indoor facility will help both teams as they continue their improvements within the Big Ten® Conference.
“This is a game changer for our student-athletes to be able to train right where they live,” said men’s head coach Rob Shutte. “Our student-athletes are busier than ever so the location and technology inside the facility make this a winning formula for our entire program.”
“We are very excited about the Class of 1957 training center,” said women’s head coach Kari Williams. “This new space provides our golf athletes access to practice year-round with the newest technology; we now have the ability to do the all the work in the off-season that we have been lacking.”
Reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Christopher Gotterup, a senior, said, “All of the technology, including the trackman simulator, force plate measurements, and cameras able to capture every angle of our swings, will be vital toward our team’s progress in the future.”
“The new indoor facility is incredible,” added senior Eun Won Park. “To have the ability to work inside whenever we need to, in addition to all of the technology and tools, is really exciting and motivating. We now have the chance to focus on the details and continue improving our swings during the winter months.”
Coming off one of the best seasons in program history, the men’s team finished 86th out of 294 Division I teams nationally according to GolfStat and 79th in the country according to Golf Week.
Last year’s women’s team had the second-lowest team scoring average in program history at 300.85 before the 2019–20 season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.