By DANIEL CAUDILL
Kansas Press Service
The Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine will open in August 2022 in downtown Wichita. Launched by the nonprofit Kansas Health Science Center, the school will be the first of its kind in Kansas.
Dr Tiffany Masson, president of the nonprofit, said she hopes the new college will help attract more doctors to Kansas.
âThe majority of them (students) will go to primary care, and we know we need more primary care doctors,â she said. “Not to mention the shortage of doctors that we are already seeing and which will increase exponentially by 2032.”
Osteopathic medicine is a field that takes a âwhole personâ approach, aiming to treat each patient holistically rather than just treating the symptoms. With an emphasis on preventative care, those who practice osteopathic medicine aim to help patients make lifestyle changes to treat and prevent disease.
For the school, Masson said that means training future doctors to consider factors such as culture and socio-economic background.
“We are also focusing on the underserved,” she said. “So really focus on the rural and urban areas where we know they are underserved and access to health care is really limited.”
The new campus near Douglas and Broadway spans approximately 116,000 square feet and will feature cutting-edge technology and learning spaces. Other features include an osteopathic skills training center, standardized patient teaching rooms, large conference rooms, small group study rooms, and a virtual anatomy lab.
The total cost of the building is around $ 30 million, Masson said. The Riverside Health Foundation donated approximately $ 15 million for the project.
Students will enroll in a four-year program at the college. When the school opens, she plans to have 99 full and part-time staff – with a goal of recruiting 85 students into her inaugural class. Once fully operational, the school plans to have classes of approximately 170 students.
Over the past two years, the school has prioritized recruiting experienced teachers, developing curricula and building relationships with the community, the school said in a press release.
Dean and Director of Studies Dr. Joel Dickerman described the school’s program as “student-centered, patient-centered and community-based” in a statement.
âMedicine is advancing so rapidly and technologies are constantly evolving; we are unwavering in our approach to ensure that our physicians are trained to meet the needs of patients today and into the future, âsaid Dickerman.
There are currently 37 accredited osteopathic medical schools in the United States, the majority of them private.
Choose DO, a collaboration of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, estimates about 34,000 students are enrolled in such institutions, which represents 25% of all American medical students.
Daniel Caudill is a general assignment reporter for KMUW. Prior to joining KMUW, he was a reporter, photographer and digital content manager for The Derby Informer and worked as an editor and reporter for the Wichita State student newspaper, The Sunflower.