Shortly before my presidency began, there was discussion about the possibility of creating an osteopathic medical school at UNC run by a for-profit entity. At the time, I assessed our most critical needs and determined it was not the right time to pursue this opportunity. However, in the last few months, conversations have emerged with leaders of local hospital systems as well as community leaders and supporters of the university that have led us to revisit the possibility of creating a medical school.
Beginning this month, UNC will work with a consultant to conduct a feasibility study
that will include an evaluation of market demand, economic impact, and the capacity
and commitment of healthcare providers to support clinical placements. The feasibility
study will be generously paid for by a donor who is very enthusiastic about the potential
of this project.
This is an important, exploratory step in the process toward creating an osteopathic medical school. I am excited about the possibility of UNC stepping up to meet the need of producing more physicians in service to our community and region. Based on the conversations I have had with healthcare leaders and local officials, I believe that there is a need for an osteopathic medical school in Northern Colorado that would be of great benefit to Greeley, Weld County, and our region. I also believe there would be real academic, reputational, and financial benefits for our students and university. Initial plans are that this would be a wholly controlled college within the university and net revenue generated would be reinvested into the institution at large.
There is still a lot of work to be done to better understand the accreditation process with the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA), to secure commitments to clinical placements from our hospital providers, and to ensure that those placements will not negatively impact our existing relationship with our students and faculty, particularly in nursing. It is critical that this medical school would work harmoniously with our health science programs in order for this to be successful and make sense for UNC. I have begun conversations with Interim Provost Lisa Vollendorf, NHS Dean Kamel Haddad, and other key individuals within the UNC community to make sure they are supportive of our initial exploration. The feasibility study will include interviews with additional internal and external stakeholders so we can proceed with a truly thoughtful and consultative process.
Once the feasibility study is complete in early November, we will hold a town hall to present the results and solicit additional feedback. I am excited about the potential of this important and exciting project, and I look forward to learning more and sharing information over the coming months.
Rowing, Not Drifting,