Osteopathic Medical College Exploration
The University of Northern Colorado is moving forward with its exploration into creating a College of Osteopathic Medicine – a project that would expand UNC’s programmatic offerings in the health sciences and position UNC to enhance its role in meeting the workforce needs of the state and region, positively contributing to the strength, health, and prosperity of our communities.
An osteopathic medical college at UNC would become the third medical college, campus, or program in Colorado and would help the state alleviate its shortage of physicians, particularly in rural and underserved communities. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), only 34.6% of the state’s need for physicians is met. Launching an osteopathic medical college will help address shortages that affect access to and the overall quality of healthcare service that is available in the state and region. According to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the U.S. is predicted to face a shortage of 54,100 to 139,000 physicians by 2033.
The University of Northern Colorado will meet this challenge and is uniquely positioned to leverage existing programs to amplify positive outcomes for healthcare access and quality across the state. Of tremendous benefit to the success of the project, UNC has long had strong programs in the sciences and health sciences, including nursing, public health, behavioral sciences, biology, chemistry, audiology, speech-language pathology, and other fields. UNC is already exploring ways to leverage synergies among programs to enhance the osteopathic medicine curriculum and students’ academic experience in these other fields. UNC will also leverage revenues to reinvest in growing existing programs to amplify its capacity to support the health and strength of communities across Colorado.
By proceeding on a well-organized timeline from this point through to completion,
it is anticipated that the first class of students would begin instruction as early
as fall 2025. With 40 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States
– only six of which are at public colleges and universities – UNC-COM would be joining
a select group of D.O. colleges that would attract students from not just Colorado
and the region, but across the country.
The university announced the hiring of Dr. Beth Longenecker as the Founding Dean of UNC-COM on April 12, 2022. She will join UNC in June to lead the medical college through development, accreditation, and on to the goal of becoming a world-class center of medical education. Dr. Longenecker will be a foundational leader in building the college's programmatic offerings in the health sciences.
Andy Feinstein – President, University of Northern Colorado
“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. The creation of an osteopathic medical college at UNC would establish a pipeline of additional physicians to provide high-level care to others, including to individuals in underserved areas. A new medical college would be a win for Greeley, Weld County, the State of Colorado, and UNC.”
John Gates – Mayor, City of Greeley
"I am very excited about the possibility of UNC creating a College of Osteopathic Medicine and fully support the university’s efforts. UNC’s capacity to support the health and economic prosperity of the community, region, and state is only enhanced through the creation of an osteopathic medical school. Greeley, along with other communities in Weld County and Northern Colorado, would benefit from a robust pipeline of well-trained healthcare professionals who are prepared to serve the needs of a rapidly growing region."
Brian Davidson, MD – 1999 UNC graduate,
Physician Executive of Banner Health’s Western Division
"With UNC’s strong reputation in education and health sciences, it is only natural that the university applies these areas in the bold development of Colorado’s next public medical school. It is a true honor to be part of the team that will take UNC to the next level of education and service for the Rocky Mountain region by training the physicians of the future."
April 12, 2022
March 17, 2022
November 15, 2021
November 14, 2021
November 8, 2021
Message to UNC community – An Update on UNC's Exploration into Developing an Osteopathic Medical School
July 19, 2021
Message to UNC community – UNC to Conduct Feasibility Study Looking Into Osteopathic Medical School
June 26, 2022
March 17, 2022
March 17, 2022
Colorado Politics – Polis: Full steam ahead on new University of Northern Colorado medical school
January 11, 2022
Colorado Politics – University of Northern Colorado Seeks Legislative Approval for Medical School
December 4, 2021
November 19, 2021
Loveland Reporter-Herald – UNC Decides to Move Ahead with Osteopathic Medical School at Greeley Campus
November 12, 2021
November 2021 Town Hall
UNC hosted a town hall on November 4, 2021 to discuss the findings of a feasibility study for the Osteopathic Medical College. UNC began working with consulting firm Tripp Umbach in July 2021 to conduct the feasibility study, which included an evaluation of market demand, economic impact, and the capacity and commitment of healthcare providers to support clinical placements. Paul Umbach and Julie Chimel from Tripp Umbach shared the results of the study and members of the university community had the opportunity to ask questions following the presentation.
UNC-COM Founding Dean: Beth Longenecker, DO, MS, FACOEP, FACEP
Dr. Longenecker received her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1991. She completed a one-year rotating internship at Doctor's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio in 1992 and subsequently a residency in emergency medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. She continues to be certified in this specialty by the American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Longenecker is a member of the inaugural class of the Costin Institute for Osteopathic Medical Educators (2005) and completed the Harvard Macy Institute Program for Educators in Healthcare Professions in 2008. She received a master’s degree in medical education and leadership from the University of New England in 2016. She is a 2017 AACOM Health Policy Fellow.
Dr. Longenecker has 20 years of experience in medical education. She began in her new role as the founding dean of the proposed College of Osteopathic Medicine at the University of Northern Colorado in June of 2022.
Prior to this, she served as the Athens Campus Dean at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Associate Dean for Clinical Education and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Midwestern University/Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Associate Dean of Clinical Sciences at the William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Hattiesburg, MS. Her previous experience in medical education was at the GME level, serving as emergency medicine residency program director at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach and St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, NY.
Dr. Longenecker is a member of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians (ACOEP) and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). She served as President of the Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society (IOMS), holds an appointment on the Bureau of Education of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and serves as a Site Inspector for the AOA Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA). She is the osteopathic representative on the GSA COASA MSPE Effective Practices Working Group. She was a trustee on the board of the Foundation for Osteopathic Emergency Medicine (FOEM) (2015-2021) and was a member of the board of directors of the ACOEP from 2005-2014, serving as treasurer in 2011-2012. Dr. Longenecker was a delegate for the state of Illinois at the 2016 and 2017 AOA House of Delegates and is a will be serving as a delegate for the state of Colorado at the AOA business meeting in July 2022.