Academics and Research / News

University studying feasibility of establishing new medical school

Colorado is facing a critical shortage of primary care physicians, amplified by the aging of the baby-boom generation and population growth in the state.

Responding to this critical shortfall, the University of Denver on Dec. 1 announced that it will launch a study to determine the feasibility of a new medical school that would focus on training primary care physicians.

The study is slated for completion by June 2012, and no final decisions will be made until the feasibility study is finished.

DU Chancellor Robert Coombe says the University believes a new medical school would be a powerful investment in Colorado’s health future.

“The University of Denver is always seeking bold and pioneering ways to serve the public good.  Our primary objective is to determine if we can fill the health services gap by training students as primary care physicians to meet the escalating needs of the medically underserved,” Coombe says.

According to the Bureau of Health Professions Health Resources and Services Administration, more than half a million Coloradans have limited access to primary health services. And the Colorado Health Institute estimates that by 2025, Colorado will be short 1,000 primary care physicians, 480 physician assistants and 660 advanced-practice nurses.

The University is partnering with DJW Associates to conduct the study. It will assess community and market needs as well as gauge physician and health system support, evaluate the potential applicant pool, identify current and needed resources, ascertain potential clinical partners and weigh the issues and challenges.

“This is just the first step in a long and thoughtful process to determine the best way to serve Colorado’s most vulnerable residents,” Coombe says.

The Denver College of Medicine began as the medical department of the University of Denver and Colorado Seminary in 1881. The department was incorporated in 1899 as the Denver College of Medicine. In 1902, the college merged with the Gross Medical College and was named Denver and Gross College of Medicine. The college consolidated with the University of Colorado Medical School in January 1911.

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