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June 13, 2016

MU School of Medicine Springfield Clinical Campus

MU School of Medicine, CoxHealth, Mercy Springfield Celebrate Opening of New Springfield Clinical Campus

Clinical Campus Now Open at 1845 S. National Ave. in Springfield

The University of Missouri School of Medicine, along with CoxHealth and Mercy Springfield, celebrated the official opening of the MU medical school's new clinical campus in Springfield, Missouri, today.

The unique public-private partnership between MU and the Springfield health systems is designed to address a critical shortage of physicians in the state and nation. Among those participating in the ceremony were the inaugural Springfield campus class of nine MU medical students who will complete their last two years of training in Springfield.

"I can't imagine a more impressive partnership for Missouri's flagship public university, particularly at a time when our state and nation are in dire need of more physicians," said Patrick Delafontaine, MD, the Hugh E. and Sarah D. Stephenson Dean of the MU School of Medicine. "Our mission at the MU School of Medicine is to train physicians who will care for our state's growing elderly population, increasing numbers of patients living with chronic illnesses, and many others now have more access to health care."

"It is important to understand we are still one medical school, now with two top-quality campuses and some of the best clinical partners in the state," Delafontaine said. "We now have the partners, resources and talent needed to transform medical education in Missouri."

The MU clinical campus in Springfield is part of a larger medical school expansion project taking place at Columbia, Missouri, which includes the construction of the Patient-Centered Care Learning Center, a $42.5 million medical education building at the University of Missouri opening in 2017.

"Uniting our organizations to develop a second clinical campus in Springfield, Missouri, was by far the best way to expand health care and medical education in the communities we serve," said Andrew Evans, MD, associate dean and chief academic officer for the medical school's Springfield clinical campus and associate professor of clinical medicine.

Evans said that following the nine students who will begin their last two years of training in Springfield this year, 32 additional medical students will be admitted to MU every year as a result of the expansion, starting August 2017 and every year after. By 2020, a total of 64 third- and fourth-year medical students will be based in Springfield.

"Today's ceremony is very meaningful to us," said Linda Headrick, MD, senior associate dean for education at the MU School of Medicine. "Through this clinical campus, students will be exposed to high-quality practice in a great community where they will be able to work one-on-one with attending physicians."

More than 90 percent of Missouri's counties lack adequate access to health care professionals. At the same time, Missouri ranks among the top 20 states with residents older than age 65, who require more medical care. The number of elderly people with multiple chronic diseases likely will double by 2030.

"By giving students more options for clinical training in other hospitals and physician practices, we are educating them on the diverse health needs of our state and increasing the odds of putting more physicians in Springfield and southwest Missouri," said Frank Romero, MD, chief medical officer for CoxHealth.

Today's ribbon cutting marks the fulfillment of a vision shared by MU, CoxHealth and Mercy Springfield that began eight years ago when the three organizations started working together to train more physicians to work in Missouri and beyond.

"Our collaboration with MU and CoxHealth for this clinical campus is another example of like-minded organizations working together to do what's right for patients in the future," said Stuart Stangeland, chief operating officer for Mercy Springfield Clinics. "Our doctors are excited about getting to practice medicine while also teaching and mentoring our next generation of providers."

"In addition to our clinical partners, we also are thankful for our academic partnership with Missouri State University," Evans said. "Students studying in Springfield will have access to the university's student resources including student health, recreation and IT support."

Overall, the MU medical school expansion will provide more than 300 additional physicians for Missouri, add more than $390 million annually to the state's economy and create 3,500 new jobs.

"It is a shining example of how the University of Missouri is advancing our state's health and its economy," Evans said.

Download full resolution photos of this event.


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