Buies Creek, NC – The Campbell University Board of Trustees voted Wednesday, Aug. 4, to authorize a feasibility study to consider the establishment of a College of Osteopathic Medicine, beginning with a charter class in August 2013.
The possibility of opening a College of Osteopathic Medicine at Campbell has been under active consideration for almost a year. The trustees approved funding for the employment of a dean, consultants, architectural planning, and the necessary resources to conduct the feasibility study. A decision is expected no later thanMay 2011. Robert J. “Bob” Barker, Chair of the Campbell Board of Trustees, reported “the Board of Trustees was unanimous in their support of the feasibility study and very positive about the possibility of an osteopathic medical school at Campbell.”
Osteopathic Physicians are licensed to practice medicine in all fifty states of the United States with all the privileges and responsibilities of medical doctors. More than eight hundred osteopathic physicians currently practice medicine in North Carolina.Colleges of osteopathic medicine are located in Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia and at the following national universities: Michigan State, University of Ohio, and Oklahoma State. Currently, 80 North Carolina residents are enrolled in various osteopathic medical schools located throughout the United States.
Reasons cited for the feasibility study include the increasing shortage of primary care physicians in North Carolina, population growth in North Carolina and bordering states, an increase in the aging population, and the national health-care reform. According to the 2009 North Carolina Institute of Medicine Study, North Carolina has approximately 7,660 Primary Care Physicians or 8.8 per 10,000 population, which is below the national average of 9.43 per 10,000 population; medical school graduates choosing Primary Care have dropped 50% between 1997 and 2005; North Carolina is projected to experience a 12% decline in per capita physician supply by 2020 and a 26% decline by 2030; North Carolina’s population is expected to increase by 17.6% between July 2007 and July 2020 and another 11.7% by 2030; the growth and aging of North Carolina’s population is expected to increase demand (measured by annual visits to physicians) by 34% between 2004 and 2020; and persons 65 and older will increase by 33.7% between July 2007 and July 2020.
Campbell University began addressing health care issues in 1985 with the establishment of the nationally acclaimed School of Pharmacy, which was the first new pharmacy school founded in the United States in more than 35 years. In addition to offering the Doctor of Pharmacy program, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in Clinical Research and Pharmaceutical Sciences. In 2009, the name was formally changed from the School of Pharmacy to the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences to provide additional health science programs, including the newly established Physician Assistant program, slated to enroll its first class in Fall 2011.
Photo Copy: Campbell University President Jerry M. Wallace, Robin King-Thiele, DO, Robert Thiele, DO, Darren J. Sommer, DO, Trustee Chairman Bob Barker.