George Kaiser Family Foundation Announces $50M Gift to OU-Tulsa

The George Kaiser Family Foundation today announced a $50 million gift – the largest single gift ever to the University of Oklahoma – to improve the health of Oklahomans through community-based medicine.
With the gift, the College of Medicine at OU-Tulsa will change its focus and become the first formally named School of Community Medicine in the nation. The OU School of Community Medicine’s explicit purpose will be to improve the overall health status of underserved Oklahoma communities, both rural and urban, by providing additional community-based medical student education programs and resident training, and increasing the number of physician graduates. The School of Community Medicine will remain an integral part of the OU College of Medicine.
OU President David Boren said, “We are deeply grateful to George Kaiser and the Foundation for this gift, which will truly make a difference in the lives of Oklahomans for years to come. Creating the OU School of Community Medicine will provide programs and scholarships which will guide medical students into areas of care which impact lower-income families and others who have limited access to quality medical care.”
“The new community medicine program will in no way duplicate existing programs of the OU College of Medicine,” he said. “It will not concentrate on basic scientific research but on clinical outreach to those who desperately need care. It will also provide financial help to medical students who want to unselfishly dedicate themselves to underserved groups.”
The primary goal of the OU School of Community Medicine is to actively improve the health status of Oklahomans by increasing the number of physician graduates and utilizing a curriculum that trains physicians to be excellent direct-care providers, who are also skilled in solving larger health problems in their communities. The gift also provides incentives for new physicians to choose careers that serve the broader needs of the communities where they practice.
To achieve the goal of the OU School of Community Medicine, the gift includes:
$35 million to endow 35 faculty chairs in the OU School of Community Medicine, all of which will be based in Tulsa;
$7.5 million for start-up costs, including faculty recruitment and infrastructure development;
$7.5 million for a scholarship and loan forgiveness program for students enrolled in the OU School of Community Medicine who commit to and follow through after graduation with medical service to underserved rural and urban areas throughout Oklahoma.
The gift will be staged and funded according to benchmarks, such as enrollment goals, agreed upon by the University and the George Kaiser Family Foundation.
“This transformative gift allows the OU School of Community Medicine to combine its resources and expertise to address the health status, health delivery system and physician workforce challenges that are critical to Oklahoma and the nation at this time,” said Gerard P. Clancy, M.D., president of OU-Tulsa. “We will have a central theme of community engagement, and we will actively seek out students from across the country who plan to stay in Oklahoma to practice community medicine.”
Students will be recruited and selected for the School of Community Medicine track at the time of their admission to the OU College of Medicine. Components of this new track will start in the fall of 2008 with an enrollment goal of 70 students per class by the fall of 2011. When fully implemented, the OU School of Community Medicine will have an overall enrollment of 280, which includes 140 third- and fourth-year medical students at OU-Tulsa. In addition, there will be 50 physician assistant students, 251 resident and fellow physicians and 221 full-time faculty members in the School of Community Medicine. Currently, the OU College of Medicine, Tulsa has 80 third and fourth-year medical students, 201 residents and 186 faculty members.
An undergraduate fast track program to the OU School of Community Medicine, which will allow a student to complete college and medical school in less than eight years, will also be developed for students who are interested in the program. The fast track will be developed with select Tulsa-area universities as it already exists at the Norman campus of the University of Oklahoma.
Students selected for the School of Community Medicine will participate in summer institutes at OU-Tulsa prior to their first semester of medical school and immediately following their first year of medical school. The institutes will focus on service experiences in community medicine, translational research, public health research, underserved and at-risk populations and community health and outcomes. Students will complete the majority of their basic science education at the OU Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City. During the first two years, students in the community medicine track will have opportunities for seminars, workshops, clinical shadowing and small group activities with OU-Tulsa faculty. During the third and fourth years of medical school, community medicine track students will be rotating through the three major hospital systems in Tulsa, OU Physicians clinics in Tulsa and the extensive network of OU community-based clinics, which partner with numerous agencies in the Tulsa area.
Clancy said, “This gift also will allow us to expand our residency programs to include internal medicine, surgery and pediatric fellowships that match with public health needs in cancer, cardiology, diabetes, child psychiatry and preventive medicine. These fellowships would be incorporated into the new OU Specialty Clinic, the OU Cancer Institute and the Harold Hamm Oklahoma Diabetes Center efforts in Tulsa.”
Boren said, “The leadership team within the OU College of Medicine has outlined five-year strategic goals for the School of Community Medicine. These goals will be the driving force for the planning and implementation of this new program.”
The five-year goals for the OU School of Community Medicine are:
? Ensure that 80 percent of OU School of Community Medicine graduates establish their practices in Oklahoma and work with underserved populations;
? Expand clinical services availability in Oklahoma so that all patients are able to access the right practitioner at the right time;
? Develop a robust interdisciplinary research enterprise at OU-Tulsa that increases scholarly activity and increases research grants from $4.8 million annually to $14.8 million annually;
? Achieve further recognition for the School of Community Medicine on a national level as demonstrated by invitations for technical assistance, competitive awards, national philanthropic investment and federal research grant growth;
? Create an $85 million annual increase in regional economic impact and the addition of 1,600 new jobs for northeastern Oklahoma.

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