The feasibility study and initial design work for a School of Medicine at Shenandoah University has been completed. The study was the result of a recommendation to the university’s leadership by Shenandoah University’s Board of Trustees.
“The feasibility study for a School of Medicine was a thorough and informative endeavor,” said President Tracy Fitzsimmons. “This study gave us great insight into the possibilities for a school of this magnitude at Shenandoah. I would again like to thank both Valley Health System and Inova Health System for their generous contributions to this process. Together, we now have a good framework, an architectural blueprint, for establishing a future medical school for this region.
Shenandoah University’s motivations for exploring a medical school among its programmatic offerings include several related factors: a looming shortage of health care providers of all types, a current and projected shortage of physicians in the nation and the region reaching significant proportions over the next 20 years (particularly in primary care), the impending retirement of nearly a third of all actively practicing physicians and the impact of the baby boomer generation retiring.
According to the study, Shenandoah University is well placed to help the region address a projected physician shortage, given the institution’s location, current academic and accreditation strengths, and its strong relationship with two leading health systems.
Key themes resulting from the feasibility study relate to the kind of medical school interviewees would like to see include: focusing on the patient as a whole, the future model of health care in health care reform, the use of genomics by doctors, primary care, small class sizes and a team oriented focus to expand on successful health professions programs already at Shenandoah.
The study notes that the model would include faculty being leveraged from current Health Professions programs and that new faculty recruited would be involved not only with the Medical School but also with other programs.
The benefits of a medical school as identified by the feasibility study include: high paying jobs which drive the economy, increased community access to health care, increased patient awareness of health issues, and an increased physician supply for Virginia.
Shenandoah University notes that a medical school can only be launched if government funding for more graduate medical education slots, as well as the sizable financial commitment needed to meet the new accreditation standards of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) are secured. When resolution to such issues emerges, then Shenandoah University will be in a strong position to start a new medical school.
Shenandoah University is the private, nationally recognized applied liberal arts institution, located in Winchester, Va., with an enrollment of more than 3,600 students. Shenandoah’s close-knit community is rich in creative energy and intellectual challenge. Shenandoah empowers its students to help the human condition and to be principled professionals and leaders wherever they go.