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TEMPLE UNIVERSITY/ST. LUKE'S HOSPITAL & HEALTH NETWORK SOON TO OPEN THE LEHIGH VALLEY'S FIRST REGIONAL MEDICAL SCHOOL BRANCH CAMPUS
January 14, 2011
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In March 2006, St. Lukes became a clinical campus of Temple. The clinical campus designation means third- and fourth-year Temple medical students can perform all of their required clinical rotations there.
Temple University School of Medicine is opening a new regional medical school campus at St. Luke’s Hospital & Health Network in Bethlehem, PA. The campus will open in the Fall of 2011 with an inaugural class of 30. The curriculum is identical to that of Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. John Daly, MD, is Dean. Joel Rosenfeld, MD, is Chief Academic Officer and Senior Associate Dean. By using the faculty and facilities already in place at Temple in Philadelphia and at St. Luke’s in Bethlehem, the new regional program has been created in an efficient, cost-effective way.
John Daly, Dean and Harry C. Donahoo Professor of Surgery, Temple University School of Medicine. Right: Joel Rosenfeld, MD, St. Luke's Chief Academic Officer and Senior Associate Dean, Temple/St. Luke's.
Students will complete the first year of the four-year program at the Philadelphia campus. Year One consists of basic science courses in normal body structure and function and Doctoring I, in which students learn basic clinical skills, professionalism, and medical ethics. This precludes the need to construct a state-of-the-art anatomy lab and recruit anatomists and physiologists,” Dr. Rosenfeld says.
Students then relocate to the Bethlehem campus for Years Two, Three and Four. Year Two focuses on clinically-related organ-system based courses, integrating pathology, pathophysiology, microbiology and pharmacology. Doctoring II teaches more advanced clinical skills, preparing students for clinical rotations. Years Three and Four, comprised primarily of discipline-based clinical clerkships, emphasize the clinical components while continuing to relate basic science knowledge to clinical
According to Stephen Permut, MD, JD, Temple’s Associate Dean for Academic Affiliations, the new medical school program is a natural evolution of the longstanding relationship between Temple and St. Luke’s, ties that are more than 30 years old. Temple medical students first began clinical rotations at St. Luke’s in the 1970s. Thanks to the excellent faculty and quality of the program, more and more students wanted to take rotations there.
In March 2006, St. Luke’s became a clinical campus of Temple. The clinical campus designation means that third- and fourth-year Temple medical students can take all of their required clinical rotations at that campus. (TUSM’s two other clinical campuses are West Penn-Allegheny in Pittsburgh, PA, and Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, PA.) Soon thereafter, Temple and St. Luke’s began considering the notion of taking the clinical campus concept further and creating a regional medical school campus at St. Luke’s.
In September 2009, the governing boards of both St. Luke’s and Temple approved a new affiliation agreement for the branch campus. In February 2010, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the accrediting body for medical schools nationwide, gave approval to move ahead. Applications are now being accepted for student admission.
The new medical school program will help address the impending physician shortage, both nationally and in Pennsylvania.“We need to attract and retain more physicians in the region,” says Dr. Rosenfeld. “The Lehigh Valley is already the second most populous region of the state and the fastest growing. We are already experiencing physician shortages in general surgery, cardiology, otorhinolaryngology, family medicine, and gastroenterology,” he says.
“Fortunately, both Temple and St. Luke’s already have excellent rates of retaining graduates in Pennsylvania,” says Dean Daly, noting that approximately half the medical students who train at Temple have stayed in the Commonwealth to practice. Additionally, 43 percent of St. Luke’s graduating residents and fellows practiced medicine in the Commonwealth in 2008.
“Early assurance” programs are likely to help with these localization goals. In such programs, undergraduate juniors are given conditional acceptance to medical school immediately following college, provided they adhere to designated criteria.
“Such arrangements are already in place for the new regional medical school branch campus,” says Audrey Uknis, MD, Associate Dean for Admissions.
“Everything that a medical student could possibly want is all right here,” says Tamara Lynch, a Temple medical student who resides in the Bethlehem area, having elected to fulfill her clinical requirements at the St. Luke’s campus.“St. Luke’s has built an amazing repertoire of programs, systems, and experts. Most of all, there are great minds here, and they know how to teach.”
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