Ohio University received a $105 million donation that will help fill a growing shortage of family physicians by opening a medical campus in Columbus.
“We’re very excited about the extension campus being built in Columbus because it will provide for us an opportunity to prepare 50 primary care physicians who will work in the various hospitals around the greater Columbus area that are managed by Ohio Health,” said OU president Roderick J. McDavis.
The donation from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations is the largest private gift in the school’s history. The entire donation will go toward the new medical college that will cost an estimated $300 million to complete.
“We’d like to have the first class in place by the fall of 2014,” McDavis said.
Students from Ohio State will train side by side with students at the OU campus.
“Both students from Ohio State University and Ohio University will rotate through the same hospitals, predominately those of Ohio Health. They will learn from each other, which is the traditional approach,” said Dr. Catherine Lucey, interim dean of OSU’s College of Medicine.
Both McDavis and Lucey said they foresee OSU and OU collaborating in the future.
“There has already been conversations between the dean of the College of Medicine at Ohio State and the dean of osteopathic medicine at Ohio University and we look forward to working very closely with Ohio State in the years ahead,” McDavis said.
Lucey said there is ample space in medical education for both universities to have a major role in Columbus.
“Every report you read says we are not training enough doctors, specifically enough general physicians, that is those who can take care of any patient with any complaint,” Lucey said.
The new medical college, that was originally announced at the end of April, will open spots for more students to pursue a future in medicine.
“There are many students who are interested in medical school who don’t get the opportunity to go because there are not enough spots,” Lucey said. “Ohio University opening additional classroom spots and offering the opportunity for more students to go to medical school is a terrific idea.”
Chigo Ekeke, a fourth-year in biochemistry, said he plans to attend OSU’s College of Medicine in the fall.
“This will be a great opportunity for the medical students at the Ohio State University College of Medicine to interact with their future colleagues,” Ekeke said.
McDavis said OU’s presence in Columbus will benefit residents.
“We think this will add to the better health care for people in the Columbus area and certainly help us to extend the preparation of primary care from Athens to Columbus,” McDavis said.