The Temple University School of Medicine (TUSM) and West Penn Allegheny Health System (WPAHS) in June announced that they are collaborating to establish a new four-year medical school campus on Pittsburgh’s North Side.
The Temple University School of Medicine at West Penn Allegheny Health System will enable WPAHS and TUSM to address the critical shortage of physicians in Western Pennsylvania by educating and retaining highly trained doctors to serve the local community for many years to come.
Based in Philadelphia, TUSM is one of seven schools of medicine in Pennsylvania conferring the doctor of medicine (MD) degree. Temple is ranked among the top 50 medical schools nationwide for research and is nationally renowned for its clinical training, academic excellence and commitment to community service.
WPAHS currently serves as a clinical campus of TUSM for third- and fourth-year medical students. The expanded relationship will enable WPAHS to provide all four years of undergraduate medical education to TUSM students, in addition to the large number of residency and fellowship programs currently offered as graduate medical education.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for West Penn Allegheny Health System and the people of Western Pennsylvania,” said Christopher T. Olivia, MD, WPAHS president and CEO. “Temple University School of Medicine has been an excellent partner of our System for more than a decade, and the expansion of our relationship into a four-year medical school program will greatly advance our collective ability to not only educate more physicians but also meet the future healthcare needs of patients and our communities through enhanced medical research opportunities.
“We believe this new program will ultimately improve the scope and quality of healthcare in our region. One of our primary goals is to recruit the highly talented students who live in Pennsylvania, provide them with excellent medical training and keep them here.”
“This new venture with West Penn Alleghany reflects Temple University’s deep commitment to serve the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through its educational programs,” said Temple University President Ann Weaver Hart. “By training more Pennsylvania students to become physicians and encouraging that they practice in the state, hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians will benefit from improved access to medical care throughout the Commonwealth.”
Thirty students will be accepted in the first class of the new medical school program, scheduled to begin in 2013. Four Allegheny Center, located on Pittsburgh’s North Side near WPAHS flagship Allegheny General Hospital (AGH), will serve as the classroom setting for the school, while AGH will provide the primary clinical education environment. Housing classrooms and other training facilities in an existing structure helps WPAHS keep the costs of establishing the new TUSM campus to a minimum. The System, however, does plan to renovate areas of the building to accommodate the school, including construction of state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories with videoconferencing capabilities, investment in advanced simulation training technology and the refurbishing of some common student areas.
“Together with the West Penn Allegheny, we are committed to increasing the number of outstanding physicians taking care of Pennsylvanians,” said Larry Kaiser, MD, senior executive vice president of Temple University Health Sciences, dean of Temple University School of Medicine, and CEO of Temple University Health System. “We are proud to expand our relationship with WPAHS, an established leader in patient care, education and research.”
“West Penn Allegheny has a longstanding tradition of excellence in medical education,” said Elliot Goldberg, MD, senior associate dean and professor of medicine, TUSM, and vice president undergraduate education, WPAHS. “From our Allegheny-Singer Research Institute, to our advanced clinical settings, numerous health sciences libraries and other academic resources found across the health system, West Penn Allegheny has been at the forefront of medical education and research for many years and through those exemplary programs has provided hundreds of doctors and nurses with invaluable training and experience.
“Our new medical school campus will further improve that educational experience and go a long way in ensuring we continue the fine tradition in medical education that we have established.”
Dr. Goldberg said some additional faculty members also are expected to be hired to accommodate the expanded medical education program, joining a current faculty that includes scientists, clinical educators and existing WPAHS medical staff.
In addition to attracting new students, the new medical school campus is expected to provide new job opportunities and drive growth for businesses on the North Side.
WPAHS has provided medical education for more than 100 years. Since June 2000, WPAHS has provided a clinical setting for third-year and fourth-year Temple University School of Medicine medical students. The System, through AGH, the Western Pennsylvania Hospital and Forbes Regional Hospital, also currently offers residency and fellowship training programs in a wide range of medical specialties.