Fellow Bears, 

I shared in my spring semester welcome message  that I would be providing updates in the months ahead on several of our top strategic priorities. In addition to these campus-wide messages, I invite you to a series of discussions  throughout the spring on some of the projects and initiatives that I am currently focusing on.  

Today, I am writing to share our progress toward establishing an osteopathic medical college at UNC and invite you to join me and Beth Longenecker, founding dean of the proposed UNC College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNC COM), for an informal, small-group discussion. 

College of Osteopathic Medicine
Tuesday, January 30, 9:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Centennial Hall  
Please register here. 

Colorado is facing a dire physician shortage, and UNC is prepared to be part of the solution. Helping to meet a critical need for our community and the state has been the driving force behind our efforts over the past several years to establish an osteopathic medical college. I encourage you to read our case for support to learn more about our inspiration to pursue this project and why housing an osteopathic medical college is a natural fit for our university. You can also read my previous updates to campus on our progress here and here 

Opening UNC COM requires a minimum investment of $200 million through philanthropy, state support, partnerships, and other sources of funding. This required funding includes capital investment for the construction of a building; estimated operating funds for start-up; and a temporary, escrowed cash reserve as required by the accrediting body.  

We have already achieved a significant milestone with a commitment this fall from The Weld Trust of $25 million the largest single gift in UNC’s history. We have now raised over $31 million and continue to cultivate the philanthropic support necessary to make UNC COM a reality. To date, all funds expended in pursuit of opening UNC COM have come from donors to the university, and we plan for the entirety of the $200 million to be from philanthropy and state support with no expenditures coming from UNC’s operating revenues or reserves.   

To secure significant funding from the state, we are working with our elected officials this legislative session to introduce a Certificate of Participation (COP) Bill. COPs are a lease-purchase mechanism the state can use to complete projects on a pay-as-you-go basis, making it possible for UNC to immediately begin capital construction. Rep. Mary Young (House District 50), Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer (Senate District 23), Rep. Lindsey Daugherty (House District 24), and Sen. Kyle Mullica (Senate District 24) are co-prime sponsors of the bill.  

We are also making progress on identifying the clinical rotation sites required for third- and fourth-year students. To date, we have secured 87% of our rotations, largely thanks to a partnership with Banner Medical Group and Banner Health’s northern Colorado hospitals, which have provided nearly 70% of the sites. We have also received letters of intent from multiple rural hospitals eager to welcome our students, and we remain in conversations with other major health systems across the state. 

Today, 59 of Colorado’s 63 counties contain regions that are designated as health professional shortage areas in primary care. The osteopathic medical profession has a long tradition of providing care where patients lack doctors, and the skills developed, and relationships formed by our students throughout their clinical education are important to increasing the healthcare workforce across the state of Colorado.  

We recently commissioned a study to quantify the economic impacts of UNC COM to Colorado and will be sharing more on the findings later this month. Already, we know that by 2042, UNC COM will have produced over 1,700 physicians. UNC COM is also expected to boost Colorado’s economy by $1.4 billion over the next 20 years, with nearly half a billion of that impact remaining in Weld County, and the total annual impact from the medical college will be nearly $200 million  in added income for Colorado. This is equivalent to supporting over 4,000 jobs every year. 

There is a clear need for UNC to act, and the future social and economic impact of establishing a college of osteopathic medicine is significant. The months ahead include several milestones critical to our success. From securing funding to identifying rotation sites to filling key leadership positions, we will remain steadfast in our pursuit of each of the requirements necessary to establish UNC COM. Please continue to watch our osteopathic medical college exploration webpage for updates on our progress.  

Rowing, Not Drifting, 

   Andy Feinstein

Andy Feinstein