Texas Gov. Rick Perry has committed $2 million to help pay for construction of the first new U.S. medical school to be founded in three years, Perry's office reports.
The new school will locate in El Paso, with groundbreaking in 2005 and construction taking 18 to 22 months, according to a release last Thursday from Perry's office.
Despite growing recognition of a shortage of physicians, the Association of American Medical Colleges reports that the El Paso project will be the first new allopathic school since Florida State University College of Medicine was created in June 2000.
Before the Florida school was announced, there had been no new allopathic schools since 1986, according to AAMC spokesperson Nicole Buckley. She adds that about a dozen already functioning medical schools received full accreditation in the early to mid-1980s.
Buckley says existing schools have not raised class size, meaning that the number of allopathic medical students has remained fairly constant, with an entering class of 16,524 this year.
Last Wednesday, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine reported that it recently broke ground on a new campus in Bradenton, Fla., near St. Petersburg, and that the campus will open in September 2004.
Several osteopathic schools, including Lake Erie, have opened in the past 15 years. Currently, there are 126 allopathic and 20 osteopathic medical schools in the country, sources in both professions report.