The Cleveland Clinic soon will have its own medical college, sort of--one with a very specialized focus.
The clinic signed an agreement to create a new medical-education and research program with neighboring Case Western Reserve University, also in Cleveland, which boasts a highly regarded, 159-year-old medical school of its own.
The new program will be called the Cleveland Clinic College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University.
Students in the program, which will enroll its inaugural freshman class of 40 in the fall of 2003, will focus on biomedical research and practice, a specialty with few current doctor-practitioners, officials said. Only about 2% of the 813,000 doctors in the U.S. are prepared to perform clinical research, according to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine.
The new program could serve as a national model for training new physician-scientists, said Eric Topol, M.D., provost and chief academic officer of the Cleveland Clinic.
“We are embarking on a vital mission to train the leaders of clinical and translational research for the next generation of American medicine--a group or species of physicians who are currently at risk of extinction,” Topol said in a hospital news release. Translational research is aimed at bridging the gap between basic research and its application to patient care.
In the statement, Floyd Loop, M.D., CEO of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, added: “This historic partnership will have a significant impact on medicine, research and education. Together, the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University will raise the visibility and scale of these activities.”
Classes and medical training will take place at both the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western, and the new college--which, in fact, is more of a supplemental research-education program for both institutions--will not duplicate the existing and well-established M.D. curriculum at Case Western.
Technically, the new college of medicine will be an academic unit of Case Western, officials said. The affiliation also will allow Case Western to include the Cleveland Clinic’s research funding in its total research support, catapulting it to sixth from 14th among the nation’s 125 medical schools in terms of research funding. The organization’s combined annual research funding totals about $273 million.
Their collaboration came after about a year of discussions, during which the Cleveland Clinic ultimately rejected the idea of creating an entirely new medical school of its own.