MCW President and CEO answers frequently asked questions
John R. Raymond, Sr., MD, President and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin, offers answers to the questions most frequently asked about the proposed community medical education programs in Central Wisconsin and Green Bay.
The need for more physicians
Why is the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) developing community medical education programs in Central Wisconsin and Green Bay?
Recent reports from the Wisconsin Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health have projected significant shortages of physicians in the coming decades, particularly in the primary care fields and in underserved rural and urban areas. To that end, MCW assessed its capacity to contribute to mitigating the physician shortfall and misdistribution in Wisconsin, especially relating to increasing access to primary care practitioners and to preparing medical students for the future delivery of health care.
MCW is deeply committed to developing an expanded medical education program which both addresses the need for primary care physicians in underserved communities across the state and employs an innovative teaching model to prepare medical students to face the challenges of our rapidly evolving, 21st century health care environment. We believe MCW should make every reasonable effort to expand its role in the physician training/health care continuum.
Planning for Green Bay/Central Wisconsin programs
What factors led to the decision to select Green Bay and Central Wisconsin as the first two regions for this initiative? What qualities within Green Bay and Central Wisconsin led to this decision?
Factors that led to MCW’s determination that Green Bay and Central Wisconsin are appropriate sites for the development of plans for community medical education programs are: strong health systems with outstanding physicians and established programs for student-focused clinical experiences, quality academic institutions with a scientific program infrastructure, and civic and business engagement and enthusiastic support. The communities in Green Bay and Central Wisconsin also expressed a strong readiness to proceed.
What needs to be accomplished before the Central Wisconsin and Green Bay campuses are opened?
MCW is in the development phase of planning for the Central Wisconsin and Green Bay community medical education program sites. Milestones identified by the Medical College’s Board of Trustees must be achieved before student recruitment will begin on both campuses.
Those milestones are relevant to accreditation, funding, faculty recruitment and development, formalized agreements with local health systems and academic institutions, MCW faculty approvals, and the creation of local residency programs.
How many students will be enrolled at the Medical College’s campuses in Green Bay and Central Wisconsin?
The first class of medical students at the Medical College of Wisconsin campuses in both Green Bay and Central Wisconsin will target a minimum of 20 students per class. In subsequent years, the class size will target 25 students per class. The class size could increase in the future if determined by community needs and resources.
Admissions requirements need to be developed for both campuses. The Medical College and its community partners will actively recruit applicants from the region as well as other Wisconsin students who express an interest in developing medical careers in small towns and rural areas.
Will preference be given to Central Wisconsin and Green Bay residents?
We believe that there is a rich pool of potential Wisconsin-based medical school applicants for the Medical College of Wisconsin’s programs in both Central Wisconsin and Green Bay. On average, 625 Wisconsin residents apply annually to MCW’s medical education program. A substantial number of these applicants reside in underserved rural or urban areas of the state.
In addition, there are potential students living in the Central Wisconsin and Green Bay areas who chose not to pursue a medical education because they want to stay in either the Central Wisconsin or Green Bay areas.
No decisions have been made regarding out-of-state applicants to the program.
Where will the campuses be located in Green Bay and Central Wisconsin?
Medical school encompasses classroom training, simulated patient experiences and clinical experiences. The locations attributed to these programs will include spaces for classroom teaching in the first two years of the program, as well as each health system in the region to provide the critical clinical experiential learning. Also, the program will rely on faculty members from all of the academic institutions in the region to deliver a robust curriculum. A location for the classroom teaching component will be selected in the development phase. We are working with the academic and health care institutions and communities in Green Bay and Central Wisconsin to explore options that will be in the best interest of the medical students’ education and needs.
How many jobs will be created in Central Wisconsin and Green Bay?
To keep costs manageable, the Medical College of Wisconsin will initially create a small number of jobs in both Central Wisconsin and Green Bay. Most of the programmatic and administrative activities will be handled by existing Medical College staff members in Milwaukee.
Who are the Medical College’s community partners in Green Bay and Central Wisconsin?
The Medical College has conducted extensive meetings with health care systems, academic institutions and civic and business leaders in both Green Bay and Central Wisconsin.
Preliminary discussions have been conducted with the following academic institutions and health systems:
Aurora BayCare Medical Center
Hospital Sisters Health System Eastern Wisconsin Division
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
St. Norbert College
University of Wisconsin – Green Bay
Mid-State Technical College
Ministry Health Care
Northcentral Technical College
Riverview Medical Center
University of Wisconsin – Marathon County
University of Wisconsin – Marshfield/Wood County
University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point
When can students start to apply to the Medical College of Wisconsin’s programs in either Central Wisconsin or Green Bay?
Plans for the Medical College of Wisconsin programs in Central Wisconsin and Green Bay are in the development phase. As part of that process, facilities need to be identified, faculty need to be selected, the curriculum needs to be developed, admission requirements need to be determined, and accreditation needs to be granted.
MCW will not begin to accept student applications for admission until these infrastructure needs are accomplished.
We anticipate the first class of community medical students to matriculate in July 2015.
Will affiliated residency training programs be offered in Green Bay and Central Wisconsin?
The key to the success of the Medical College of Wisconsin programs in Green Bay and Central Wisconsin is the development of residency training positions by area health systems. Research has shown that the greatest determinant of where a physician will practice is where they did their residency training. The Medical College already has begun to develop plans for establishing residency programs with the support and guidance of the Wisconsin Hospital Association, UW Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, the Wisconsin Medical Society, and Green Bay and Central Wisconsin area health systems. Various traditional and innovative funding models are being explored.
The Medical College of Wisconsin’s Board of Trustees has set a modest milestone of a minimum of 10 new residencies to be operational in both Green Bay and Central Wisconsin by 2018.
How will community leaders, local health systems and academic institutions in Central Wisconsin and Green Bay be involved in the oversight of the new campuses in both regions?
Community advisory boards will be established in both Central Wisconsin and Green Bay. These boards will be engaged in the oversight of the campuses in their region.
What is the cost to develop campuses in both Central Wisconsin and Green Bay? How will the programs be funded?
The current estimate is a total of about $23 million for start-up, ramp-up and implementation at both the Central Wisconsin and Green Bay campuses. Funding will be from a combination of MCW sources, grants and community contributions.
MCW’s Trustees approved a $4 million grant from the education component of its Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin endowment to jump-start the development phase. MCW expects to work with the communities to raise substantial funding support so that the first group of medical students can begin their studies on the new campuses as early as July 2015.
Who will teach the medical school courses in Green Bay and Central Wisconsin?
Faculty recruitment and development is a key component to be addressed in the development phase of planning. MCW faculty members will be engaged in the planning process to determine how we can best provide a quality education at both the Green Bay and Central Wisconsin locations. MCW will use a number of teaching methods that will include distance learning from the Milwaukee campus with onsite faculty as preceptors. All faculty members who teach will receive faculty development.
When will curriculum and length of curriculum be decided?
In September 2012, MCW faculty workgroups began the development of various aspects of the curriculum. The curricular model and length will be determined by mid-2013, in preparation for application to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) for regional campuses, and in anticipation of student recruitment efforts.
LCME is the accrediting body for medical education programs in the United States.
What is the coursework?
We will have more detail about these aspects during the development phase.
When will you have a full list of participating faculty, clinical faculty, advisors and partners available to review?
We will begin developing this list during the course of the next year.
Will students at the Medical College of Wisconsin campuses in Central Wisconsin and Green Bay be required to travel to Milwaukee for any of their coursework?
The Medical College is pursuing an immersive model of medical education in which all coursework and training will be provided on the campuses in Central Wisconsin and Green Bay. In the planning process, it may be determined that some special classes or components of the clerkships or coursework needs to be conducted in Milwaukee. Students will have the opportunity to take elective courses at the Medical College’s Milwaukee campus or at other campuses.
Why is MCW considering an accelerated medical school program rather than the traditional four-year program found on your main campus? Are there examples elsewhere in which an accelerated program has been successful?
The financial debt burden for most medical students is between $175,000 and $200,000. This forces many medical students to consider careers in fields other than primary care, which traditionally offers lower compensation. By offering an accelerated curriculum, we can eliminate some tuition costs.
Successful models of an accelerated medical education curriculum are offered at: McMaster University and University of Calgary, both in Canada. A number of accelerated programs have been started at U.S. medical schools but are in their early phases. It is important to note that the actual contact time for the students is being reduced by only a few months as the curriculum will be compressed by shortening vacations and eliminating the first and second summers off.
Does this shortened timeframe cover all of the competencies offered in a four-year program?
Yes. This will be a rigorous, accelerated program covering all of the competencies of a four-year medical education. Vacation times will be shortened, and students in the accelerated program will not have summers off like their counterparts in a four-year program. The accelerated curriculum will require review from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the national body that accredits all medical education programs and ensures the quality of medical education nationwide.
Many community-based medical education programs require students to study for one or two years at a main campus before moving on to a community-based campus. Why isn’t MCW following this traditional model?
The Medical College of Wisconsin believes that students participating in an immersive medical education model (all training in one region) are more likely to become engaged in that community and develop ties to the community that can influence a student’s decision as to where to practice medicine. In a report compiled by the Wisconsin Hospital Association, it was found that 80 percent of the students who are native to Wisconsin and who attend medical school and complete their residency training in Wisconsin establish practice in Wisconsin. It is our goal to educate medical students who will remain in the communities where they received their medical education. The students will have similar coursework to those at the MCW Milwaukee campus, a combination of basic sciences and clinical coursework. Students studying in Green Bay or Central Wisconsin will also have the opportunity to take elective courses at MCW’s Milwaukee campus or at other campuses.
Will MCW allow students to transfer from one Medical College campus to another?
This detail has not yet been determined and will require discussion by our Admissions Committee.
Will the medical education programs offered in Green Bay and Central Wisconsin be of the same quality as MCW’s Milwaukee program?
The Medical College of Wisconsin is committed to developing community medical education programs that mirror the quality and success of the Medical College’s Milwaukee program. The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the accrediting body for medical school education programs, sets forth stringent requirements for all programs to meet curricular, competency, admissions and academic standards. The Medical College of Wisconsin has established committees of faculty who review and approve aspects of the medical education program to ensure it meets or exceeds the requirements set forth by the LCME. Standing committees include: Curriculum and Evaluation Committee, Admissions Committee, Academic Standing Committee, Rank and Tenure Committee.
It is envisioned that members of the academic and health systems in both Green Bay and Central Wisconsin will participate in each of these committees. Together, MCW and our partners in Green Bay and Central Wisconsin will ensure that the medical education programs in these regions strive for high-quality standards.