(Courtesy of Yeshiva University) More than six decades after it first opened its doors, Albert Einstein College of Medicine is now an independent academic institution, with the authority to confer its own medical and graduate degrees. This achievement had been set in motion more than three years ago, when Yeshiva University entered into a strategic joint collaboration with longtime Einstein affiliate, Montefiore. Einstein’s academic independence is the result of a vote by the Board of Regents of New York State’s Department of Education, which awarded Einstein an absolute charter, establishing it as an autonomous educational institution.
Einstein will continue to be the affiliated medical school of Yeshiva University and its special relationship with Yeshiva University will continue as normal, including adherence to Shabbat/Yom Tov calendar observance, kashrut, and Jewish life on campus. Einstein’s new structure lays the groundwork for further potential collaboration with the rest of Yeshiva University moving forward.
“This is a truly momentous event in Einstein’s history,” stated Gordon F. Tomaselli, M.D., the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz dean at Einstein and executive vice president and chief academic officer at Montefiore Medicine. “It gives us the best of all worlds – allowing Einstein to further partner with our longtime clinical and research partner, Montefiore, tapping into a health system that is a national model for innovation, and elevating Einstein’s ability to conduct impactful research and train the next generation of outstanding physicians and scientists, while maintaining our longstanding and deep affiliation with our academic partner, Yeshiva University.”
“Einstein is entering a new era,” said Steven M. Safyer, M.D., CEO of Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a graduate of Einstein. “Our commitment to innovation and excellence, providing healthcare where and when people need it most, are all key components to establishing Montefiore as a leading integrated health system. Today’s announcement also paves the way for Einstein and Montefiore to build upon and expand their joint efforts, while pursuing novel approaches to science and medicine that benefit humanity.”
Prior to the Board of Regent’s grant of an absolute charter to Einstein, Einstein students received their degrees from Yeshiva University. Founded by Yeshiva University during an era when medical schools had quotas—restricting enrollment of people of color, non-Christian faith, and women—Einstein forged a bold path, welcoming students of all ethnicities, religions and genders. This inclusive approach was strongly supported by the College of Medicine’s namesake, physicist and humanitarian Albert Einstein, who embodied the values of social justice that attracted so many of the nation’s best and brightest faculty and students to campus.
Dr. Ari Berman, president of Yeshiva University, expressed enthusiasm about the transition. “Einstein continues to be an important affiliate of Yeshiva University and a shining example of our commitment to preparing students with the knowledge and tools to have a meaningful and positive impact on the world. We look forward to building upon our joint collaboration with Montefiore to create and nurture opportunities that foster new standards of academic excellence.”
“We are excited that our affiliated medical school has achieved this important milestone and we look forward with great anticipation to the additional opportunities that it presents not only Einstein, but to Yeshiva University and Montefiore as well. This move positions Einstein as an independent entity with the ability to leverage its affiliation with both Montefiore and Yeshiva to its benefit.” said Andrew (Avi) Lauer, Esq., vice president for legal affairs, secretary and general counsel at Yeshiva University and trustee.
Einstein and Montefiore have a long and successful history of working together. Einstein sent its first students to Montefiore for training in 1964. In 1969, Montefiore assumed operations of Einstein’s Jack D. Weiler Hospital, marking its first significant expansion. In 1979, the department of medicine at the two institutions merged, combining the strengths of both campuses. The relationship continued to grow and in 1990 Montefiore employed its first jointly appointed Einstein-Montefiore faculty members. The next major step forward was taken in 2009, when Montefiore and Einstein launched a research and clinical enterprise that culminated in establishing the Montefiore Einstein Centers of Excellence in cancer, heart and vascular disease and transplantation.
In 2015, Montefiore and Yeshiva University signed an historic agreement that resulted in a joint collaboration between Montefiore Medicine and Yeshiva University related to Einstein, essentially formalizing the longstanding relationship between the three highly-regarded New York institutions into a structure that would enable Einstein to continue to flourish and grow. This vision is coming to fruition as the joint collaboration is enhancing the stature of Einstein, particularly in clinical and translational research. This teamwork resulted in discoveries that have dramatically improved clinical practice and changed the standard of care—including finding that most women with early-stage breast cancer can safely skip chemotherapy, proving the effectiveness of novel immunotherapy for treating lymphoma and determining that surgery to repair hearts weakened after a heart attack significantly improves survival, compared to medical therapy alone.