Regional Medical Campus at University Park Continuing to Grow

By Reidar Jensen and Annemarie Mountz, Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK – The growth of the University Park Regional Campus of Penn State College of Medicine is continuing to gain momentum. The regional campus, which was established in collaboration with Mount Nittany Medical Center, is training the next generation of physicians and health professionals in State College and surrounding communities. In concert with the establishment of four Penn State Hershey Medical Group outpatient sites in State College, the University Park Regional Campus addresses the area’s need for physicians while focusing on primary care and rural medicine.

Planning is under way to design a state-of-the art facility to be built near Mount Nittany Medical Center, filled with classrooms, clinical offices and research space. The regional medical campus will model Penn State Hershey’s vision of a patient-centered medical home, creating convenient access to advanced care and research.
 
“The regional campus has a vital role to play in direct patient care and in the expansion of Penn State’s health professions education programs, enabling the University to better meet the commonwealth’s need for physicians and other providers, while fostering increased collaborative research between faculty at Hershey and University Park,” said Harold L. Paz, chief executive officer of Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Penn State’s senior vice president for health affairs and dean of the College of Medicine. “As we expand access to health care for Penn Staters, their families and others in the Centre County region, we also are working to reduce the rising cost of patient care for the University.”
 
“We have all the components necessary to build one of the nation’s best regional campuses at a time when innovative approaches are desperately needed in the delivery of health care in this country,” said E. Eugene Marsh, senior associate dean of the University Park Regional Campus and associate director of Penn State Hershey Medical Group for Centre County. “We must continue to recognize and utilize available resources, relying on partnerships with Mount Nittany Medical Center, community providers, other colleges at Penn State and colleagues in Hershey. By keeping our focus on why we are here – for our patients and students – we will have the opportunity to do our part to improve health care for future generations.”
 
The University Park Regional Campus will provide unique learning opportunities for medical students, including clerkships in seven specialties, dual-degree programs and opportunities to participate in groundbreaking medical research. In addition to training medical students, the regional campus also provides post-graduate training for new physicians through fellowship programs and soon will offer a family medicine residency program.
 
— Clerkships: Clerkship rotations provide third- and fourth-year students in the College of Medicine opportunities for clinical experiences after spending the first two years of medical school primarily in a classroom. For the last few years, Penn State Hershey faculty at University Park, as well as physicians from Mount Nittany Physician Group and the community, have teamed together to create clerkships for Penn State College of Medicine students in seven different specialties, including family medicine/primary care; internal medicine; neurology; obstetrics/gynecology; pediatrics; psychiatry; and surgery. Plans are to have 12 students training in State College for the 2012-2013 academic year, gradually building to 24 students by 2014.
 
Fellowships: Penn State Hershey currently has two fellowship programs in State College, with more potential programs coming as the regional campus expands. The primary care and orthopedic sports medicine fellowships are a combined effort between Penn State Sports Medicine (part of Penn State Hershey Bone and Joint Institute) and Penn State Hershey Family Medicine faculty. Fellows learn from physicians in multiple disciplines within sports medicine and have the opportunity to play a role with onsite field coverage for Penn State’s athletic teams. Fellows get hands-on experience with athletic and sports medicine injuries, as well as illnesses, with Penn State athletes and others in the community who seek care from Penn State Sports Medicine doctors.
 
— Family medicine residency program: The University Park Regional Campus is also developing a family medicine residency program, likely to begin in 2014. The three-year program is being developed in conjunction with Mount Nittany Medical Center, as part of the center’s goal to become a major regional teaching hospital.
 
First-year residents will focus on general specialties and also will spend a limited amount of time working in an outpatient setting under faculty supervision. The second and third years of the program will involve further specialty and sub-specialty training, and an increasing amount of time with outpatient directed care and electives. Third-year residents also will have the opportunity to move into areas of special interest, such as research, dual-degree programs, or a rural emphasis with rotations in outlying areas of central Pennsylvania.
 
— Dual-degree programs: Penn State’s Graduate Council has approved a new M.D./M.B.A. degree program to allow interested students to graduate with a doctor of medicine degree from Penn State College of Medicine and a master of business administration degree from the Smeal College of Business. This is the first of several dual-degree programs that will involve the University Park Regional Campus; other programs currently are under discussion.
 
— World-class medical research: The University Park Regional Campus will allow for more clinical research and increased opportunities for additional research funding from the National Institutes of Health and other funding sources. Researchers at the regional campus are working in collaboration with those at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey to develop new ways to deliver cost-effective, high-quality, patient-centered care. The regional campus also will create new opportunities for student participation in research efforts.
 
Areas of research benefiting from increased collaboration between the Penn State University Park campus and Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey include clinical outcomes, delivery systems, clinical trials in areas such as cancer, as well as health disparities.
 
— Patient care services: Penn State Hershey Medical Group’s four outpatient facilities in State College provide state-of-the-art care to the Penn State community with direct access to the resources of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.  The current State College locations, with specialties and services provided, are as follows:
Benner Pike: hematology/oncology; laboratory services.
 
Colonnade: cardiology; colorectal surgery; dermatology; family medicine; gastroenterology, including endoscopy services; vascular surgery.
 
Park Avenue: family medicine and primary care walk-in services; laboratory services (in September 2011); neurology; neurosurgery; orthopaedics; pediatric orthopaedics; physical therapy; sports medicine.
 
Windmere Centre: family medicine and primary care walk-in services; pediatric allergy; pediatric neurology; pediatric rheumatology.

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