TU, OU Creating Medical Education Program

Representatives from the University of Tulsa and the University of Oklahoma announced today their intentions to form a joint four-year community medicine educational program in Tulsa.
The goal is to have the first class of 70 to 75 students begin studies in the fall of 2014. The program will build upon the concepts established by OU-Tulsa’s School of Community Medicine, which was established in February 2008 with a $50 million gift from the George Kaiser Family Foundation.
Citing a study that ranked Oklahoma 49th in the nation in terms of health care, TU President Steadman Upham said the universities’ vision is to provide the area with physicians whose focus is on community health and thereby provide all citizens with equitable access to health care.
Through the collaboration, officials from both schools will seek to affect real gains in the health of Oklahomans, Upham said.
“The vision for this program is to produce physicians with a focus on community health, to address the social aspect of disease and wellness and to create equitable access to care for all Oklahomans,” he said.
Upham also said the program will work to keep the doctors trained in the program in Oklahoma though various incentives, including loan payback policies.
OU President Dan Boren said, “I am very excited that these two strong universities will work together to create a new model for a community medical school in Tulsa.
“By pooling our resources and our excellent faculties in this area, we can develop a truly outstanding medical education for Tulsa and northeastern Oklahoma which can serve as an example for others across the nation.”
Oklahoma and the U.S. are facing a severe shortage of physicians that will affect most individuals, said Gerard Clancy, OU-Tulsa president.
“At the same time, new models of health care, such as the patient-centered medical home that provides coordinated and continuous care, must be taught to physicians in training if we are to create a high quality and more efficient health care system in the U.S.,” he said.
The next step, the university heads said, is planning the school’s curriculum, gaining accreditation and solving financial and facility problems. The universities will form a steering committee to coordinate the planning. Subcommittees will focus on designing strategies for recruitment, admissions, curriculum, student support services, faculty development, facilities and accreditation.
Boren said the program’s planning will take time.
“This is a moral imperative,” he said, “which is why I am so optimistic the planning process will be successful.”

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