Group Updates Proposed Medical College at UNC Trustees Meeting

March 2, 2018

The University of Northern Colorado would become home to an independent osteopathic medical college that would begin preparing the next generation of physicians in 2020 if all goes according to plan. 

Salud LLC’s David Figuli and David Mohr laid out the vision for the proposal during the UNC Board of Trustees meeting Friday, March 2.

Salud, which would operate the college, is currently in the early stages of accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association Commission on Osteopathic Accreditation. Securing the credential and private funding would allow Salud to proceed with a $25-plus million renovation to Bishop-Lehr Hall, where the college would be housed. 

“We have a long way to go, but have made tremendous progress,” Figuli said. “We’re buoyed by what we’ve set out to accomplish at this point in time.” 

The impetus for the public-private partnership is the need for physicians, especially primary care physicians, with a shortage of 125,000 projected by 2030, Mohr said. He added that Banner Health, SCL Health and Estes Park Medical Center are among the providers who’ve committed to participating. They would explore opportunities for training and clinical faculty in addition to using the labs and simulators in the college. At full capacity, the school could annually enroll 600 students in the four-year medical program — supporting 200 jobs in the region and generating more than $50 million in total economic impact each year.

UNC would receive revenue in exchange for hosting the school and would also begin offering a master’s degree in Medical Science that would leverage the osteopathic college’s curriculum. Salud and UNC would explore joint faculty appointments, research opportunities for students and faculty, and opportunities for joint degrees. 

In other news, the board:

  • Approved a resolution: A pricing committee was established to determine whether to refund bonds issued in 2008 and 2011. Trustees Dick Monfort and Kevin Ahern will serve on the committee.
  • Discussed the budget: Increased student discounting in the form of institutional based aid has decreased net tuition revenue and contributed to a projected $10 million cash deficit. The 2018-19 budget will be discussed again at the board’s next Finance and Audit committee meeting. In addition to a review of cost-saving opportunities for items such as travel and official functions, need-based aid for undergraduates will be adjusted next year while institutional merit-based aid (e.g., Trustee, Presidential, Provost, and Bear scholarships) will remain unchanged.  
  • Received an Update on the Campaign for UNC: Philanthropic support for UNC’s first modern, comprehensive fundraising campaign has surpassed $42 million in gifts and commitments, said Allie Steg-Haskett, UNC vice president for Development and Alumni Relations. The goals of the campaign are twofold: to raise $45 million and engage 10 percent of UNC’s 120,000-plus alumni.
  • Heard about Student Success Initiatives: With 43 percent of undergraduate degree-seeking students identifying as first-generation students whose parents or guardians don’t hold bachelor’s degrees, Assistant Vice President Stephanie Torrez provided the board with information on academic support programs on campus (see her slides here). The general idea is to scale up those support programs, which can be expensive exist with funding from outside sources like grants. When it opens in spring 2019, GPS+, a key element of the Campus Commons, will take a case-management approach to helping students succeed.