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Ruth Schulze, M.D. Installed as 221st President of the Medical Society of New Jersey

Lawrenceville, NJ – Ruth Schulze, M.D. was installed as the 221st president of the Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ) at its annual meeting held in May. She is the fourth woman to hold the title of MSNJ president since the organization was established in 1766.  She joined the MSNJ Board of Trustees in 2004 and has served six years as secretary followed by vice-president and president-elect positions.  She is a past officer and president of the Bergen County Medical Society.

Dr. Schulze practices at Women’s Total Health of Woodcliff Lake with Dr. Gail Sobel. Her gynecology practice focuses on adolescent, perimenopausal and senior women’s health and surgical needs. In addition, Dr. Schulze serves as the director of the Obstetrics and Gynecology department for Valley Hospital in Ridgewood. She was the first female president of the medical staff at Valley Hospital from 2010-2012.

During her inaugural speech, Dr. Schulze presented a number of initiatives for her term, focusing on expanding membership to include physicians from all types of practice and employment settings, as well as representation from all subspecialty organizations. Dr. Schulze is particularly interested in partnering with physicians in training along with community groups and business organizations to encourage healthcare forums or town hall type discussions to focus needed healthcare changes on quality medicine and patient safety.

“Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, ‘Nothing worthwhile in life is accomplished without passion,’” said Schulze. “I am passionate about medicine and I am passionate about the Medical Society of New Jersey. With all of us working together, I firmly believe we are ready to create a new revitalized MSNJ speaking as the united voice of medicine.”

Dr. Schulze, a Phi Beta Kappa scholar, graduated from Union College in Schenectady, NY summa cum laude with a BS in Biology. She earned her medical school degree at SUNY Stony Brook and completed her residency at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA. She has been married for 30 years to her college sweetheart and they are the proud parents of three daughters.

“Ruth’s passion and commitment to organized medicine and her vision for her term as president of MSNJ will result in new initiatives and an energized and diverse membership base,” said Larry Downs, CEO of MSNJ. “We welcome her as president and look forward to putting into action MSNJ’s aggressive agenda to improve healthcare in New Jersey.”

2012 MSNJ Committee Openings

Friends and Colleagues,

It is my honor to have been asked to serve as the 2012 Chairman of the Nominating Committee. 2012 will bring challenges for us all as medicine stands on the verge of changes that come at most, once in a generation. Government, payers and employers are desperately seeking solutions to spiraling costs at a time of diminishing resources. Now, more than ever, we need to reach inside and recommit both to each other and to our patients.

In looking over the list of offices to be filled by election at next year’s annual meeting, I see the greatest opportunity in my 25 years as a member to bring forward our next generation of leaders. Our best and brightest need to take ownership of their futures together.

As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” We have at-large openings on the Board of Trustees for more seasoned leaders, on the Policy & Strategy Panel through the Council of Medical Services, the Council on Legislation, the Council on Public Health and the Council on Medical Education. And for those who secretly wanted to be a “wedding planner,” we even have openings on the Annual Meeting Committee.

I ask you all to reach out and engage the “thought leaders” in your groups, counties and hospitals. It’s a chance to learn how the world works, and how we can help shape it. MSNJ remains our most effective way to not just respond to change, but to create it.

Will Rogers put it this way, “We always want the best man to win an election. Unfortunately, he never runs.” Let’s not let that happen! Mentoring is the most important part of leadership.

All of us are surrounded by talented, committed colleagues. We will need them all in the years ahead. I look forward to the meeting in January. Find something that triggers your passion and start your medical leadership journey – and bring a friend!

Rick Scott, MD
215th President of the Medical Society of New Jersey
2012 Chairman of the Nominating Committee

List of openings

Interested? Contact MSNJ today.


The Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ) has just announced that Lawrence Downs, Esq. of Ocean County has been elected to the position of Chief Executive Officer of the state’s largest physician organization. Downs will continue to serve as General Counsel for the organization upon his installation.

Downs will fill the position previously held by Michael T. Kornett, who has served as CEO of the organization since 2004. Kornett has announced that he is to step down from the position effective June 30, 2011.

Downs currently serves as General Counsel & Director of Public Health to the Medical Society and Executive Director of the Institute of Medicine & Public Health of NJ – The MSNJ Foundation. He works on health policy initiatives, legislative and regulatory affairs, healthcare quality improvement, and public health matters.   As General Counsel, Downs advises the CEO and Board of Trustees on legal matters and coordinates the work of outside counsel to achieve the Society’s legal objectives.

Before joining MSNJ in 1996, Downs was Director of Cancer Prevention & Control at the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) New Jersey Division where he coordinated statewide public education campaigns on the prevention and early detection of cancers.  He regularly represented the ACS before local governments considering tobacco control ordinances.

Downs also has extensive experience in health policy, public opinion research and media advocacy.   From 1997 to 2006 he served as the Executive Director of the New Jersey Breathes (NJB) coalition. Under his leadership, the coalition of over 40 state-wide agencies was a leading project of the national SmokeLess States Program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Downs was one of the principal architects of New Jersey’s successful legislative efforts to increase the tax on tobacco products in 1998, 2002 and 2003 and the NJ Smokefree Air Act of 2006.

“We are happy to welcome Larry Downs as he assumes the position of CEO and continue to extend our thanks to Michael Kornett for his leadership and guidance over the years,” stated Dr. Niranjan Rao, a vascular surgeon from New Brunswick and recently installed 219th president of the society. “Larry has been a wonderful resource to both our Board of Trustees and our entire organization, and we are grateful for his continued leadership as we work on issues that affect not only physicians, but also the people of the State of New Jersey.”

Downs received a bachelor’s degree in public health from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and a juris doctor degree from Rutgers University School of Law – Camden.  He is a member of the NJ Bar Association’s Health & Hospital Law Section, the American Bar Association and the American Society of Medical Association Counsel. Additionally, Downs was elected to the Executive Board of the Litigation Center of the American Medical Association in 2009.

He currently resides in Cream Ridge, NJ with his wife and daughter.

MSNJ ANNUAL MEETING – May 13-15, 2011

Resolutions must be submitted to MSNJ by March 1, 2011.  Resolutions will be submitted by individuals to their county societies. The county societies then will determine which resolutions to submit for consideration by the HoD. Emergency resolutions will be accepted from county societies and the BoT, in writing, via e-mail, to by April 22, 2011 and will be posted on the MSNJ web site.

Reference Committees:
Reference Committee(s) hearings will take place via conference call on April 13 and 14, 2011.  Anyone wishing to discuss a resolution rather than responding in writing will be given the opportunity at this time. The Reference Committee(s) report(s) will be sent to the county executives and the Board of Trustees via e-mail and will be posted on the MSNJ web site by April 21, 2011.

The MSNJ Nominating Committee will meet on Sunday, February 27 at 12:00 P.M. The nominating committee will recommend candidates.  If you are interested in running for any elected office please contact your county medical society to express your interest.
New this year, MSNJ will elect a Speaker and a Vice Speaker. Previously, these positions were appointed by the President. A bylaw amendment approved by the House of Delegates last year now requires these positions to be elected.  Terms are one (1) year and the positions are elected annually.
For more annual meeting and election information click here.