I want to thank everyone who participated in the Osteopathic Medical School Town Hall Thursday afternoon and offered their questions and perspectives about this project. If you were unable to attend the town hall in person, a video of the presentation and discussion has been uploaded to a new page about the project on the Office of the President website along with a copy of the feasibility study and answers to frequently asked questions we have received in recent weeks. I hope that you all find the presentation of the feasibility study results helpful in understanding the basis for this project and its benefits for our community, region, state, and university, as well as why this is the right time for us to explore this opportunity. The page also includes a feedback form and I invite you to share your thoughts.
The results of the study signal we should continue to pursue the development of a new osteopathic medical school at UNC and the feedback we have received from our community and other stakeholders to date has been overwhelmingly supportive. On Thursday, we will share the same presentation given at the town hall with the Board of Trustees—along with the feedback we have collected from you—and will ask them to authorize two important next steps in this exploratory phase of this project on Friday: the initiation of a process to hire a founding dean and an application to seek accreditation from the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation. Should the Board approve the requests, we will continue to move forward.
Our university was founded 132 years ago in response to the need for teachers in communities across Northern Colorado. Today, we find ourselves positioned to meet another critical challenge that will shape the health, strength, and growth potential of our neighboring communities, state, and region for many years to come. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) projects that the United States will face a shortage of 54,100-139,000 physicians by 2033. Although the challenge of physician shortages is a national one, it is exacerbated in our state by significant population growth that was double the national average in the last decade—and the pressure is already felt in communities large and small, including in Greeley. To be clear, there are still a number of gates that we will need to pass in order for this to come to fruition, including a successful fundraising campaign to secure the start-up costs needed. However, my optimism and excitement about the possibility of UNC creating a new medical school to meet the needs of our community continues to grow.
I will update the community as the project progresses and I look forward to continued engagement with our students, faculty, and staff to collect your input.
Rowing, Not Drifting,