LCME Supports PHSU School of Medicine Expansion; Program Recognized for Graduating Diverse, Culturally Competent Medical Professionals
Located in the Northside Innovation Network of St. Louis, Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU) M.D. program will prepare physicians to work in underserved communities and address chronic healthcare disparities in St Louis and around the country.
ST LOUIS, Aug. 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ --Today, Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU) School of Medicine has announced the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) has supported the expansion of its accredited Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) program from 150 to 180 students, and will be launching its expanded M.D. program cohort of 30 students in St. Louis in August 2022. LCME is sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges and the American Medical Association, and considered the gold standard for medical education. PHSU has a longstanding commitment to cultivating a diverse pipeline of highly qualified medical professionals and addressing a global healthcare worker shortage -- a commitment which is strengthened by this $80 million long term investment in the St. Louis community.
Even before COVID-19, the impacts of physician shortages were being felt around the country and the world. Shortages of over 55,000 primary care physicians and 86,000 non-primary care specialties (surgical, pathology, radiology, psychiatry, and others) are predictedby 2033, if the training of physicians is not addressed. Those shortages are only exacerbated amongst physicians of color where the diversity of the medical community -- only 5.8% of physicians identifiedas Hispanic and 5% of physicians as Black or African American in 2018 -- seriously fails to represent the growing diversity in the U.S.
The expanded PHSU St. Louis program offerings will build on the institution's strong record of matching MD graduates from diverse backgrounds into highly competitive programs like radiology, orthopedics, dermatology, and ophthalmology, while also providing doctors with the strong cultural competency that is critical to developing a healthcare workforce that is representative of communities across the country and around the world. Students will have the opportunity to combine the traditional anatomical sciences cadaver lab with the high-tech three-dimensional anatomical software, while also engaging with the north St. Louis community, cultivating a well-rounded and highly trained medical student.
"Ponce Health Sciences University's medical school is a game-changer for the state and the region," said Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe. "As a native of St. Louis, I understand the transformative potential of this medical program. This investment also telegraphs the ongoing job-growth, medical innovation, and high-quality education Missouri is home to. To be successful in the future, we need a well-developed pipeline of physicians and healthcare workers. Locating this accredited medical school campus here is significant and will address physician shortages in St. Louis, in Missouri, and beyond."
The growth of PHSU St. Louis will expand on the University's commitment to building a robust pipeline of medical school candidates that not only demonstrate a great deal of academic potential but are also from diverse communities that are often underrepresented in the medical profession. Over the last 44 years, PHSU Puerto Rico has graduated over 2,000 physicians, biomedical scientists, and masters in medical sciences.
U.S. News & World Reportranks PHSU in the top half of all medical schools for both Most Graduates Practicing in Medically Underserved Areas and Most Graduates Practicing in Primary Care Fields -- both areas that will be a focus for St. Louis campus programming. PHSU's MD program will build on the work of PHSU's Master of Science in Medical Sciences (MSMS) program to create new pathways to professional health programs for health science students, especially students coming from untraditional backgrounds.
Construction on the new campus, which will be the only medical school to date on the north side of St. Louis, will bring dozens of new jobs and new growth to the north part of St. Louis. Campus construction will begin alongside the development of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) West facility -- both indicators of the potential for growth in St. Louis. The program itself is expected to launch in August 2022 with an initial cohort of 30 students but is poised to grow to nearly 1,200 medical students between both campuses and create up to 120 staff and faculty positions. Students at PHSU St Louis will be able to complete clinical work in the neighborhood as well as at the nationally recognized Mercy Hospital system.
"Today's medical students need two things: first, a high-quality education that prepares them to best serve patients, and, second, the kind of cultural education that will allow them to successfully work with patients from a wide range of backgrounds all around the world," said Dr. David Lenihan, President of Ponce Health Sciences University. "That's a new way of envisioning what the medical school experience looks like, but it is paramount to creating the highly skilled and experienced medical workforce that is needed today and will be even more important in the future."
About Ponce Health Sciences University
Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU), a fully-accredited university, is dedicated to providing the highest quality graduate education programs available in medicine, clinical psychology, biomedical sciences, public health and nursing in order to prepare world-class, culturally competent health professionals to better serve a growing population of diverse patients across the United States. Located in Ponce and San Juan, Puerto Rico, and St. Louis, Missouri, PHSU is recognized around the world for its educational service and research achievements.