Cleveland Clinic Foundation plans to launch its own medical school by 2003.
The Cleveland Clinic's 10-year-old medical school affiliation agreement with Ohio State University's College of Medicine and Public Health in Columbus will have ended when the last students graduate in two years.
Cleveland Clinic Chief of Staff Robert Kay, M.D., says the clinic hasn't decided whether its planned school will have affiliations with OSU or with programs at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland or some other existing medical school.
On March 6, the clinic announced two appointments that could bolster the medical school's formation. Eric Topol, M.D., the clinic's chairman of cardiology, was named chief academic officer. And Richard Rudick, M.D., director of the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research, was appointed director of the Center for Clinical Research. Both doctors will retain their current positions.
Kay says the appointments were independent decisions designed to strengthen the clinic's academic focus. He said both physicians excel at translating research into clinical practice. Kay added that the Cleveland Clinic's medical school will focus on developing physician-scientists who will be trained to translate medical research into clinical practice. The school will be limited to 30 to 40 students. The clinic's Lerner Research Institute is available for classes, and the clinic has a medical library and extensive research facilities. Its staff model of salaried physician/researchers provides a talented faculty pool.
"Structuring a medical school is not the same here as starting de novo (anew)," he said. "For all practical purposes, we already have a medical school here. And research is an integral part of the clinic's mission."
Kay says the clinic has explored starting its own medical school for more than a year, but funding has not yet been determined.
"We're still evaluating the pros and cons of self-funding vs. state funding," he says. "That's still too far down the road."
Seven other medical schools, including one in Cleveland, already exist in Ohio. A long-term affiliation between 11-hospital, 3,088-bed University Hospitals Health System and Case Western Reserve University has expired, but the program is still operating while negotiations continue. The UHHS is the primary affiliate for Case Western's medical school.
"I think the size of the city and the area can support two medical schools," Kay says. "I think they actually can enhance, not detract, from each other's focus on medical research and education."