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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  1. Dr Max A. Clark says:

    A Medical School is a wonderful idea. Something not only Colorado need but it would help the whole southwest.

  2. Robert L. Wade says:

    I believe this is a quality idea – yes, requiring in-depth study – but definitely a positive approach to solving a commonly identified problem. Given the University’s stature, any decision to press forward, should be immediately credible to the public. I believe the strength and longevity of an educational instituition is dependant on excellence, but also on flexibility in adapting to changing societial needs. Kudos for this forward thinking examination for expanding the University’s beneficial impact on the region and the nation.

  3. Rick Schaler M.D. FACS says:

    Denver University is on the right track with this idea. We have solid needs to increase the physician workforce, and the University of Colorado has been something less than excited to expand it’s own student base.

    I would think that there are a number of potential alumni who would be engaged and add energy to this potential project. DU quality and blending it with Daniels should help form a unique, ethical and balanced approach in developing a solid Medical School.

  4. David A. Fogel says:

    Based on size of metro-Denver and the need for more physicians, the addition of another medical school at DU would most likely be a win win for DU and Denver.

  5. Jeffry P. Weingardt M.D. says:

    Very interesting idea. As a loyal DU alum, I would certainly be interested in lending my expertise to support such a mission.

  6. L. James Nelson '71 says:

    Prior to coming to Colorado, DU founder Dr. John Evans MD taught here in Chicago at Rush Medical School, founded the Illinois State Medical Society and then founded Northwestern. My home Evanston IL is named after him as are Evanston WY and Mt. Evans. What could be more appropriate, if late, than a world class University of Denver Medical School? Denver and the citizens of the inter-mountain west deserve no less.

  7. Peter T Bruss PhD, MBA, MS says:

    Having another medical school on the Front Range, given the current and growing population density, seems to be a reasonable idea. If it is not to be DU it will likely be another institution in time as the demand increases not just for quality healthcare providers but also from a growing Colorado student body looking for viable professional health institutions from which to graduate. A DU medical college would no doubt help to retain some of Colorado’s brightest and best and not have them leave the State destined for other medical schools or force them to make alternative career paths due to insufficient in-State institutional capacity. Research collaboration and synergy should be a welcomed focus between any such new medical institution and the existing Colorado medical schools. I see it as a win win all around.

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