ROI-NJ, a publication that reports on New Jersey economic news, released its ROI Influencers Power List for 2019. Featured on the list are Joel S. Bloom, NJIT’s president; Donald Sebastian, president of New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII), an NJIT corporation; Judith Sheft, associate vice president technology and enterprise development of NJII; and Tomas Gregorio, NJII’s senior executive director, Healthcare Systems Innovation.
Bloom, president of NJIT since 2011, has overseen tremendous growth on several fronts at the university. Through a $400 million campus transformation, he has expanded NJIT’s capabilities by adding the Life Sciences and Engineering Center, a $21 million state-of-the-art research facility focused on the future of health care; the Makerspace at NJIT, a training-focused, rapid prototyping facility that is central to the university’s hands-on learning mission as well as its growing relationship with New Jersey’s manufacturing community; the $86 million Central King Building renovation, the largest single project funded by the state of New Jersey through the 2012 Building Our Future Bond Act; and the Wellness and Events Center (WEC), a 220,000-square-foot iconic multipurpose building that provides large-scale space for professional conferencing, training and career fairs as well as social settings for NJIT students, faculty and staff. The WEC hosted the Amazon Alexa-sponsored VOICE Technology Summit in the summer of 2018 and will again host the conference this summer.
Bloom also has led the university to a No. 1 national ranking for student upward economic mobility, according to Forbes, as well as dramatic gains in national rankings like U.S. News and World Report. NJIT jumped 34 spots to rank 106th in the National Universities category this year — the third largest increase among the nearly 2,000 universities reviewed by U.S. News in 2018. Additionally, Bloom has overseen NJIT’s recent ascension to the nation’s elite and most productive research institutions with its elevation to the top tier of research universities — a designation of R1 by the Carnegie Classification® indicating “very high research activity.” NJIT’s new designation demonstrates the university’s growing body of research and innovation and its ability, going forward, to secure major research grants that will lead to transformative discoveries in areas ranging from health care and medicine, to sustainable technologies, to data analytics, among others. NJIT is one of just three universities in New Jersey to receive an R1 classification and one of 131 nationwide.
Sebastian and Sheft hold the unique distinction as the only individuals on ROI-NJ’s Technology Power List representing a university. Sebastian and Sheft are leading the charge to use technology to improve everyday life in smart cities, health care, biotechnical and pharmaceutical innovation, defense and homeland security, and financial services. NJII is a leading example of harnessing the power of higher education to find innovative business solutions. In its first four years, NJII has grown to over $80 million per year in sponsored programmatic activity.
Gregorio and his team within NJII are connecting top innovators with the health care industry to change the way health care is administered across the country using new care models that adapt technologies to human behavior and vice versa, boosting productivity with strategic IT investment. Most recently, NJII and the New Jersey Department of Health launched technology called the Master Person Index, which securely connects and shares patient information under the New Jersey Health Information Network (NJHIN). NJHIN offers the ability to seamlessly connect medical records across any and all health care providers, ensuring the information is accurate, up to date and secure.