Campbell’s proposed medical school earns pre-accreditation status

BUIES CREEK – Campbell University has been awarded Pre-Accreditation status for its new School of Osteopathic Medicine by the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) of the American Osteopathic Association.

Pre-Accreditation is the initial recognition status awarded by COCA, headquartered in Chicago. Gaining Pre-Accreditation status is an important milestone in Campbell University’s plan to open North Carolina’s first new medical school in 35 years, as well as the state’s first school of osteopathic medicine.

Campbell’s efforts to launch a medical school will directly address the growing shortage of physicians in North Carolina. Additionally, per a study conducted by Dr. Michael Walden of N.C. State University, Campbell’s medical school will have an economic impact of more than $300 million and create more than 1,150 jobs in its first 10 years of operation.

“Launching a medical school is one of the most important steps ever taken at Campbell University,” said Dr. Jerry M. Wallace, President of Campbell University. “Our focus will be to train primary care physicians and address a critical shortage of healthcare professionals throughout North Carolina.”

The proposed Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine, with an estimated start date of fall 2013, will be the second largest medical school in the state by class size. Only the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will have greater enrollment. By its fourth year of operation, Campbell expects to have 600 medical students.

According a 2009 study by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine, medical school graduates choosing primary care dropped 50 percent between 1997 and 2005. Further, North Carolina is projected to experience a 12 percent decline in physician supply by 2020 and a 26 percent decline by 2030. Meanwhile, North Carolina’s population is expected to increase by 17.6 percent between by 2020 and another 11.7 percent by 2030.

“The creation of Campbell’s medical school could not come at a better time,” said Wallace.

Over the last year, Campbell has made significant efforts to prepare for the medical school accreditation process. After launching a feasibility study towards the establishment of a school of osteopathic medicine in 2010, the University employed Dr. John Kauffman as founding dean in January 2011. Additional administrative and academic support staff members have also been hired.

Noting the tremendous shortage of primary care physicians and obstetricians in rural areas, Dean Kauffman affirmed the University’s commitment to recruiting and training students from North Carolina to work in their own communities.

“Our mission is to educate and prepare community-based, primary care physicians in a Christian environment to care for the rural and underserved populations in North Carolina, the Southeast, and beyond,” said Kauffman. “Our students will live, work and train in clinical campuses in Lumberton, Fayetteville, Raleigh, Wilmington and many smaller North Carolina communities.”

Campbell will look to gain Provisional Accreditation from the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation. Provisional Accreditation can be awarded to those institutions that achieved Pre-accreditation status and meet the standards for accreditation, following a self-study and site visit. Provisional accreditation could be awarded in 2012. Campbell hopes to achieve this status and begin recruiting students for the fall of 2013.

A groundbreaking ceremony for a new 96,500-square-foot medical school facility will be held by early 2012. The school will be located on U.S. 421 about one-quarter mile from the main Campbell University campus and will cost more than $60 million in construction and start-up costs.

Photo graphic: Artist rendering of the anticipated School of Osteopathic Medicine, scheduled to open in fall 2013.