Jeffrey Brenner to Receive Honorary Degree, Deliver Keynote 2014 Convocation Address (Tuesday, April 1, 2014)

To the Campus Community:

I am pleased to report that the Rutgers Board of Governors has named Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, a recipient of the 2013 MacArthur “Genius Grant” fellowship and a national leader in the area of urban health reform, as the recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Science degree that will be presented during our inaugural Commencement and Honors Convocation Ceremony on Wednesday, May 21.

Dr. Brenner also will serve as the keynote speaker during that event.

Selected from among the nominees suggested by our campus community for this honor, Dr. Brenner is an inspired choice.  Some of you may know him as a passionate advocate for the citizens of our host city.  He is a primary care physician who is creating a health care delivery model to meet the medical and social service needs of the most vulnerable citizens in impoverished communities.

Through his work, Dr. Brenner established the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, bringing together doctors in community-based private practices, frontline hospital staff, and social workers across the city to participate in a strategy of comprehensive preventive and primary care. He designed a system that delivers daily information about hospitalizations to the coalition and members of care management teams. Each team is made up of a registered nurse, one or two licensed practical nurses, a health coach, and a social worker to support and help coordinate care for patients with complex medical and social issues.

He has demonstrated that using this model of cooperative care – identifying and visiting high-risk patients, earning their trust, offering access to clinical services, heading off medical complications before they occur, addressing social needs before they become medical problems – can reduce repeated emergency room visits and hospitalizations and lower health care costs.

Dr.  Brenner received a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and an M.D. from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now part of Rutgers), and he completed his residency in family medicine at the Swedish Health Center in Seattle. In addition to his role as executive director of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers since its founding in 2003, Dr. Brenner is the medical director of the Urban Health Institute at Cooper Health. He serves on the faculty of the Cooper Medical School at Rowan University and practices in the family and community medicine department of Cooper University Health Care.

I hope that you will join me in welcoming Dr. Brenner as he receives his honorary degree and delivers the keynote address during our inaugural Commencement and Honors Convocation in the Susquehanna Bank Center at 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 21.  Additional details are available at

I would like to thank everyone who submitted a nomination for this year’s honorary degree recipient.  Those nominations will be retained and considered again along with new candidates in 2015.  I also would like to thank Dr. Gwendolyn Harris (executive director, CFAS-Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs), Dr. Marie O’Toole (professor, SNC), Dr. Sam Rabinowitz (associate professor, SBC-management), and Mike Sepanic (associate chancellor, external relations) for their review of the nominations and their recommendations to me.

Wendell E. Pritchett, J.D., Ph.D.


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