FIU College of Medicine receives preliminary accreditation

College’s NeighborhoodHELP to revolutionize medical education

Left to right: Founding Dean of the College of Medicine Dr. John Rock, President Modesto A. Maidique and Provost Ronald Berkman.

Florida International University College of Medicine announced today that it has received preliminary accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), which allows the school to accept the first class of future doctors in the fall of 2009.

“At last South Florida has a public medical school – one that will lead medical education in the 21st Century,” said FIU President Modesto A. Maidique. “All the pieces are in place to open our doors to some of our brightest and most caring young people and help them become medical doctors right here in our community for our community.”

Addressing the doctor shortage

In the mid 1990s, the Association of American Medical Colleges recommended that the number of medical school seats be expanded. The recommendation came as a response to a looming crisis provoked by a growing U.S. population at the same time that the physician population is aging and retiring.

The FIU College of Medicine was conceived in response to this crisis. While the College itself will ultimately graduate 120 doctors a year, it will be further leveraged to create new residency programs in South Florida. It is estimated that as many as 80 percent of doctors who do their residencies in Florida, practice in Florida.

First class starts in fall 2009

Aspiring doctors may begin the application process in June of 2008 through the American Medical Colleges Application Service. The founding class of 40 students is expected to graduate in 2013.

Among the first medical schools to be created in the past 25 years, the FIU College of Medicine promises to revolutionize medical education in America, help uplift some of the poorest neighborhoods in South Florida and help address the doctor shortage crisis.

Director of the Miami-Dade Health Department Lillian Rivera said she believes the FIU College of Medicine will become a model for new medical schools around the country.

“FIU has taken the lead to establish a program that will not only educate new doctors but also answers the community’s call for better access to health care,” said Rivera. “FIU’s approach is tailored to allow medical students understand the realities faced in many of our South Florida neighborhoods, which are not unlike what we see in many urban centers throughout the nation.”

Revolutionizing medical education: NeighborhoodHELP

College of Medicine Dean Dr. John Rock explained that the FIU College of Medicine has been designed around an innovative approach to medical education that one day may become the standard throughout the nation and part of the answer to America’s health care crisis. At the heart of the College of Medicine’s curriculum is NeighborhoodHELP (Health Education Learning Program), an integrated inter-disciplinary approach to health care.

“Through meaningful involvement in South Florida’s poorest areas, our students will not only learn but contribute handsomely, alongside their counterparts in other health professions,” said Dean Rock.

Starting in their second year, medical students will team up with students in other disciplines including nursing, social work, public health, law and business to assess the needs of, and assist individual families in some of Miami’s poorest neighborhoods. In addition, students will participate in traditional rotations at affiliated local hospitals and clinics.

Partnering with the underserved community

The long-term involvement of medical students in low-income neighborhoods is expected to have a measurable economic benefit. The College of Medicine aims to demonstrate a return on investment of educational dollars by improving the health of communities and providing a signature program that promotes the development of socially responsible physicians.

FIU’s College of Medicine is part of a larger legislative funded state initiative to expand medical education which also includes a new medical school at the University of Central Florida.

“The Board of Governors is delighted that the FIU College of Medicine will be taking state-of-the-art health care directly to our neediest communities,” said Chancellor of the State University System Mark Rosenberg. “Our eleven public universities are engaged in solving real problems for people throughout the state. We are looking forward to this new initiative and applaud FIU for its commitment to the community.”

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