By Megan Manlove, Penn State
The Penn State College of Medicine Regional Medical Campus at University Park recently reached an important milestone when the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) made an official determination that there appears to be adequate resources to support the establishment of the branch campus. The LCME does not specifically decide or recommend whether a medical school should move forward with the establishment of a branch campus and does not separately accredit medical branch campuses. The determination that resources are adequate indicates that the College of Medicine can operate the regional campus as part of its full LCME accreditation.
From the accreditation standpoint, this is the final step in the development of the regional campus.
This positive determination by the LCME follows a site visit to the regional campus in August, when LCME representatives conducted a comprehensive review of all aspects of the campus. The site visit team met with many key stakeholders, including administrative and educational leadership in State College and in Hershey, clerkship directors, clerkship site directors, Penn State Hershey Medical Group staff and medical directors, and the leadership of Mount Nittany Medical Center.
“The Regional Medical Campus will provide valuable opportunities to train physicians interested in rural medicine, primary care and other specialties, while also enhancing our ability to meet the health care needs of Penn Staters and others in Centre County,” said Harold L. Paz, Medical Center chief executive officer, Penn State’s senior vice president for health affairs, and dean of Penn State College of Medicine. “In addition to helping meet the region’s health care workforce needs, the regional campus will also foster new multidisciplinary research collaborations between Penn State College of Medicine and other colleges and programs based at University Park.”
In the last year, the University Park Regional Campus has expanded to five clinical practice locations, dramatically increased the number of providers and the range of specialties available, and expanded hospitalist services at Mount Nittany Medical Center.
The regional campus has eight comprehensive clerkships in place, including Family and Community Medicine, Medicine, Neurology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Primary Care, Psychiatry and Surgery. Some medical students are already doing some of their clerkship rotations in State College, and beginning in the 2012-13 academic year, a cohort of Penn State College of Medicine students will complete all required clinical rotations at the regional campus. The goal is to recruit 12 third-year medical students for the 2012-13 academic year, followed by a cohort of 18 students (third and fourth year) for 2013-14, and a full cohort of 24 students for 2014-15.
In August, Penn State’s Graduate Council approved the first dual degree program to be offered through the regional campus. Students can now earn both a medical doctor degree and master’s of business administration degree in collaboration with Smeal College of Business.
Discussion and development of a new residency program in Family Medicine is under way. The regional campus already offers two fellowship programs in primary care sports medicine and orthopaedic sports medicine.
“Our regional campus is positioned to meet the challenges that lay before us in healthcare,” said E. Eugene Marsh, senior associate dean, University Park Regional Campus. “We have the combination of people, passion, commitment and vision to meet these challenges and to become one of the best regional campuses in the country. In doing this, we will do our part in helping Penn State College of Medicine meet its broader mission.”