Robert Remstein (D.O. ’81) is vice president for accountable care at Capital Health in Pennington, N.J. The healthcare network includes two hospitals—a the Regional Medical Center in Trenton and Capital Health Medical Center in Hopewell—as well as an outpatient facility and primary/specialty care practices throughout the region.
The Maplewood, N.J., native knew he wanted to be a doctor after being fascinated by his 10th-grade biology class. After taking pre-med undergraduate courses in college, he began researching medical schools. His mother-in-law, who lived in Merrick, N.Y., read about a new college of osteopathic medicine opening up at New York Tech’s Long Island campus.
“I filled out my application and did my interviews,” says Remstein. “I was proud to be part of the first class at New York Tech’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM).”
During his orientation—which took place in the fall of 1977—he and his classmates attended an event at NYIT de Seversky Mansion, where they heard speeches from former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and U.S. Vice President and New York Governor Nelson D. Rockefeller. The pair spoke about their hopes for the new medical school and W. Kenneth Riland, a prominent D.O. who served Presidents Nixon and Rockefeller, would later give his name to the W. Kenneth Riland Academic Health Center at New York Tech-Long Island in 1982.
Remstein admires the principles of osteopathic medicine and how it emphasizes a natural, hands-on approach to healthcare. He recalls a conversation with a cardiologist who was also a D.O. “The doctor talked about how patients are on way too many prescriptions,” says Remstein. “Learn to practice first, then prescribe but use at little as possible. Don’t complicate a patient’s health with pills.”
However, the NYITCOM graduate made sure he understood the allopathic side of medicine. “I chose an allopathic residency as a conscious choice,” Remstein says. “I wanted the breadth of exposure to clinical pathology. This made me more comfortable and ready to be a doctor.”
Remstein joined Capital Health in 1985 when there were only two other osteopathic physicians on staff. Today, there are hundreds operating throughout the healthcare network. For nine years, he served as vice president for medical affairs. In 2013, he became vice president for accountable care and is responsible for clinical management and implementation of the hospital system’s population health programs.
Remstein is also a founding member and president of the Trenton Health Team, which is a partnership of healthcare agencies that includes St. Francis Medical Center, Capital Health, Henry J. Austin Health Center, and the Department of Health and Human Services of the City of Trenton. The group provides healthcare to vulnerable and underserved communities.
“I’ve always been interested in urban care,” he says. “And preventive care is best. Otherwise, people overwhelm the emergency rooms. We’re doing what’s best for our communities.”
Remstein’s daughter, Jessica, is a physician assistant who also graduated from New York Tech. “She speaks highly of the education she received and the university’s growing reputation for graduating healthcare professionals,” he says. “And like me, she’s always the idealist.”