Citing a nationwide shortage of physicians, an osteopathic medical school in Erie, Pa., plans to open a new campus in Florida next year, doubling in size and becoming the largest medical school in the country.
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine reports that it recently broke ground on a new campus in Bradenton, Fla., near St. Petersburg, on a campus sharing its accreditation that will open in September 2004.
Lake Erie, which opened in 1992, is currently the 13th largest medical school, with 800 students. After all four years of students fill at the Bradenton campus and the Erie campus expands by one-quarter of its current size, the school says it will have a total of 1,600 students, making it the largest of any allopathic or osteopathic school.
In a release Monday, Lake Erie says it is growing because of a national shortage of physicians--a problem that the AMA and federal council advising Congress did not recognize until this year.
There are 125 allopathic and 20 osteopathic medical schools in the country, sources in both professions report.
Although Florida already has five medical schools, including one osteopathic institution, the state's physician supply cannot keep up with population growth, the school reports.
The state ranks third in the number of osteopathic physicians, after Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Osteopaths tend to enter primary care fields, while the tightest shortages are in the specialties, but Keith Forrest, a spokesperson for the school, says more students at the new campus are expected to enter specialties. That's because the campus will require problem-based learning, where students are encouraged to focus on a particular area of medicine, he says.
In another unusual feature, the new campus will also require a dress code for students to promote professionalism, Forrest says.
Forrest reports the following current rankings of U.S. medical schools, based on rankings found in U.S. News and World Report and on reports by some individual schools:
- University of Illinois College of Medicine (1,300 students)
- New York College of Osteopathic Medicine (1,135)
- Indiana University Medical School (1,116)
- Wayne State University School of Medicine (1,041)
- Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (1,016)
- Drexel University College of Medicine (1,016)
- Jefferson College of Health Professions (908)
- University of Texas Southwestern (843)
- Ohio State University College of Medicine (831)
- University of Texas San Antonio (824)
- University of Texas Houston (810)
- Medical College of Wisconsin (805)
- Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (800)