The University of Kentucky plans to open a regional medical school on the campus of Northern Kentucky University in conjunction with St. Elizabeth Healthcare.
UK President Eli Capiluoto says the medical college at the Lexington campus is at capacity and there is a strong need for doctors across the commonwealth.
"We know that physicians who train close to where they grew up tend to return to where they know their families and friends," says Capiluoto. "We also know that's good for patients. They're taught by people who understand them, their values, their culture, their particular situation."
The regional campus will be a four-year program offering the same curriculum and assessments as on UK's Lexington campus. The classes will be housed in existing buildings on NKU's campus.
UK Medical School Dean Dr. Robert DiPaola expects the Northern Kentucky branch will start with about 30 students per class, per year. NKU President Geoff Mearns expects that number will increase to 40 eventually for a total of about 160 seats.
Mearns says the partnership "is an opportunity to train with other medical school students in our health innovations center. There'll be inter-professional training opportunities, which is the future of health care, having health care professionals work together as teams. The best way to prepare them to do that is to have them train as students together."
Another advantage is that UK will set aside some slots for NKU students. "They'll have to meet the admissions criteria but they'll be reserving a number of slots for our students. It's a great opportunity for our students and a great opportunity for our region."
The program follows the same design as two other previously announced partnerships for regional medical campuses in Bowling Green and Morehead. The Bowling Green campus is expected to start enrolling students in 2018.
Exact numbers, facility locations, and an opening date have not yet been set. However, UK, NKU and St. Elizabeth have all signed a memorandum of understanding. UK's DiPaola expects the program could be ready for its first class in "a couple of years."