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Major hire: New Chief Medical Officer for Rutgers Athletics

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It isn’t a “high profile” coach, but it says a lot about the direction Rutgers is taking

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The fallout from Kyle Flood’s tenure at Rutgers extended beyond the won-loss record and even beyond the multiple dismissals of players. The self reporting and subsequent NCAA inquiry brought to light numerous “behind the scenes” issues dealing with drug test protocols and how players were dealt with by the medical staff. It was charged by the NCAA that Dr. Robert Monaco, the then-director of sports medicine, repeatedly violated the university's drug testing policies. It was alleged that Monaco, along with Flood, failed to notify Julie Hermann, then director of athletics, that players had positive drug tests.

That’s why the appointment of Dr. Yvette Rooks as Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Rutgers Athletics is so significant. For one, it was RWJBarnabas Health that made the appointment. That highlights the burgeoning partnership between Rutgers Athletics and RWJBarnabas Health.

Last fall, RWJBarnabas Health and Rutgers announced RWJBH’s investment in Rutgers Athletics; the goal is to create a comprehensive sports medicine program that will be a part of the new multi-purpose facility - the RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center - being built adjacent to the RAC. Besides providing substantial funding for the facility, the RWJBarnabas Health sports medicine program will serve Rutgers athletes, students and communities throughout New Jersey.

Dr. Rooks most recently served as the Team Physician at the University of Maryland (1998-2016), including holding the post of Head Team Physician from 2008-16. While at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, she also was an Assistant Professor, was the Residency Program Director and the Executive Vice Chairman for the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the university.

Both the University as well as RWJBarnabas Health were enthuiasyic about Rooks’ hiring. ”RWJBarnabas Health is committed to working together with Rutgers to establish a best-in-class sports medicine program. Dr. Rooks will lead the clinical teams as we ensure that all Rutgers athletes are provided the resources for optimal health on and off the field,” said Barry H. Ostrowsky, President and Chief Executive Officer for RWJBarnabas Health.“

“Dr. Rooks is a highly-regarded physician with over two decades of clinical and administrative experiences in sports medicine,” said Rutgers Athletic Director Pat Hobbs. “She is a trusted leader who will provide the vision and direction to shape a comprehensive health care approach for all our student-athletes. Our goal is to offer every Scarlet Knight the best resources to achieve their fullest athletic potential and Dr. Rooks will play a vital role in our success.”

As she did at Maryland, Dr. Rooks will be a part of the faculty at Rutgers. She will collaborate with the Rutgers Medical School and Family Practice Sports Medicine fellowship program with a faculty appointment, playing a significant role in the training and development of fellows and future specialists.

Dr. Rooks completed her undergraduate degree in 1988 at the State University of New York at Albany with a B.S. in Biology and Chemistry. She earned her M.D. from the Health Science Center at Syracuse in 1993 and later concluded her Residency at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1995. Dr. Rooks served as Chief Resident at the School of Medicine from 1995-96 and was a fellow in the Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship, Division of Sports Medicine program from 1997-98.