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Medical College to begin development phase for Green Bay, Central Wisconsin Campuses

June 25, 2012 College News - The Medical College of Wisconsin’s (MCW) Board of Trustees has authorized MCW’s leadership to enter into the development phase of establishing two community-based medical education campuses in Wisconsin. Sites selected for development are Green Bay and Central Wisconsin with a goal of admitting the first group of medical students to the new campuses as early as the summer of 2015. The Trustees identified milestones that must be achieved before student recruitment will begin on the selected campuses.

Milestones to be achieved are relevant to accreditation, funding, faculty recruitment and development, formalized agreements with local health care systems and academic institutions, MCW faculty approvals, and the creation of local residency programs.

MCW is launching the community-based medical education initiative to address the shortage of physicians and other health care providers in Wisconsin, especially in underserved rural and urban areas.

“The Medical College of Wisconsin is committed to developing community-based medical education programs that mirror the quality and success of the Medical College of Wisconsin’s medical education program in Milwaukee,” said Edward J. Zore, Chairman of the MCW’s Board of Trustees. “We believe the milestones identified in the development phase will ensure our partner communities, health care systems and academic institutions that this investment in expanded medical education will result in a steady supply of physicians to meet each region’s future needs.”

“Factors that led to our determination that Central Wisconsin and Green Bay are appropriate sites for the development of plans for a community-based medical education program 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,” said John R. Raymond, Sr., MD, MCW President and CEO. “These communities also expressed a strong readiness to proceed.”

“The Medical College of Wisconsin is committed to developing multiple community-based medical education sites throughout Wisconsin,” Dr. Raymond added. “In addition to Green Bay and Central Wisconsin, we received enthusiastic responses from several other communities who want to be considered at a later date.  We will continue to engage in discussions with communities across the state with the hope that other sites could be developed.  We will continue discussions with potential partners in multiple regions of Wisconsin; no sites have been ruled out.”

Regional health systems, academic institutions and civic and business leaders in Central Wisconsin and Green Bay will partner with MCW in the development phase. Dr. Raymond said, “Our shared goal is to partner in developing Medical College of Wisconsin medical school campuses that reflect the community’s values and address community needs.” 

Green Bay academic and health care institutions involved to-date in the discussions are (in alpha order):  Aurora BayCare Medical Center, Bellin College, Bellin Health, Hospital Sisters Health System – Northeast Division, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Prevea Health, St. Norbert College, and the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay.

In addition, MCW has engaged the following Central Wisconsin health care and academic institutions to-date in discussions (in alpha order):  Aspirus Health System, Marshfield Clinic, Mid-State Technical College, Ministry Health Care, Nicolet College, Northcentral Technical College, Riverview Hospital, University of Wisconsin – Marathon County, University of Wisconsin– Marshfield/Wood County, and the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point.

A next step in the development phase will be to engage physician practices, county medical societies, and academic and health system leaders in the planning of the two community-based medical education campuses.

“We believe that there is a rich pool of potential Wisconsin-based medical school applicants for our community-based medical education program,” said Joseph E. Kerschner, MD, Dean of the Medical School and Executive Vice President of the Medical College of Wisconsin.  “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.”

“The Medical College of Wisconsin has had ongoing discussions about our community-based medical education initiative with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health,” Dr. Kerschner said. “We share a commitment to coordinate statewide medical education outreach programs and explore opportunities for collaborative efforts.”

The initial plans to be reviewed in the development phase call for an immersive model in which students will receive their medical school education in either Central Wisconsin or Green Bay. Students will have the opportunity to take elective courses at MCW’s Milwaukee campus or at other campuses.

The first class of medical students at both campuses will target a minimum of 15 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.

"Our vision is to develop a curriculum that reduces student debt and places students in residency programs earlier,” said Dr. Kerschner.  “This will lessen the financial debt burden for medical students and hopefully enable more students to pursue careers in primary care.  Debt burden prevents many medical students from considering careers in the traditionally lower-paying primary care fields."

One of the key drivers of the success of the programs on each campus is the commitment of regional health systems to create residency programs.  The development phase will identify the capacity of Central Wisconsin and Green Bay health systems to support new residency training positions.

Research has shown that the best determinant of where physicians will ultimately practice is tied to where they do their residency training.  According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association’s 2011 report “100 New Physicians a Year: An Imperative for Wisconsin,” over 75 percent of Wisconsin citizens who receive both their medical education and residency training in Wisconsin remain in the state to establish their practices.

The cost to develop the two community-based medical education campuses in Green Bay and Central Wisconsin is approximately $23 million.  MCW has 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.

To keep costs manageable, both the Central Wisconsin and Green Bay campuses will use a modest amount of existing space for academic and administrative needs. MCW will initially create a small number of positions on each campus to support medical school programs.  Most of the programmatic and administrative needs will be handled by existing staff at MCW and by Green Bay and Central Wisconsin academic and health system partners.

Plans call for the curriculum to teach “Triple Aim” core competencies:  improving the patient experience (including quality and satisfaction); improving the health of populations; and, reducing the per capita cost of health care.

The curricular development also will include a focus on opportunities for interprofessional learning with other health sciences programs such as physician assistants, pharmacy, nursing, or dentistry to emphasize a team-based model of care, and leverage distance learning techniques.

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Page Updated 07/23/2013