Paul Katz, who recently helped start a medical school in Scranton, was tapped Wednesday to be founding dean of the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University in Camden.

The new medical school is set to open its doors in the fall of 2012.

"We all just don't want to be the 134th medical school in the country," said Katz, a physician, speaking on Wednesday before a press conference announcing his appointment. "We want to be a leader."

"There hasn't been a lot of opportunity in the last 50 years to create a new medical school," Katz added. "What was most attractive was the ability to create a new school."

The new dean was the first vice president of the Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton. Commonwealth accepted its first students in 2009.

Rowan University president Donald Farish joked that Katz must be a "glutton for punishment" for wanting to start another medical school.

The medical school is a joint effort between Rowan Univerity, which has campuses in Camden and Glassboro, and Cooper University Hospital in Camden.

Asked if the new school would be a hot bed for primary care teaching and training, Katz said no.

"It's about educating students with a breadth of experience; one way to do that is to expose them to primary care," explained Katz.

The school and its new dean intend to do the research to figure that out, including going in the surrounding community to see what it needs.

They've got two years to figure it all out. First up to check off the list is the accreditation.

Contact staff writer Brooke Minters at 215-854-2244 or