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Oakland University opens new medical school

Michigan faces a physician shortage by 2020
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Michigan faces a physician shortage by 2020

Classes start today at the new, privately funded Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine in southeast Michigan. It's the first of three new medical schools expected to come online in the next few years.

Doctor Robert Folberg is dean of the new Oakland University med school. He says the state is expected to be short thousands of physicians by 2020, so it’s good to have more medical schools in the mix. However, Folberg and others say there's a growing problem about what to do with the students after they graduate:

"This is a concern for all the medical schools in the state of Michigan because if we don’t have enough slots to train them after they finish medical school, then they leave the state to train elsewhere for their residencies programs. And once they leave the state it’s not likely that they’ll come back."

The first Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine class consists of 50 students. Folberg says 70% are in-state students, the rest are out-of-state students "from Rhode Island to California." The school will add 25 students each year and eventually max out at 125 medical students.

Because the new school is partnering with an integrated health system, Folberg says the students will get to learn the clinical aspects of the profession at "different flavors of hospitals" - ranging from a small community hospital in Grosse Pointe to a large, referral center in Royal Oak.

The Detroit News has more the state's medical schools:

Located in Rochester, Oakland-Beaumont is the state's fifth medical school and the first to open in Michigan since 1969, when Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine was founded. MSU also trains medical doctors, as does the University of Michigan and Wayne State University. Central and Western Michigan universities also are expected to open medical schools in 2013 and 2014, giving Michigan three of the nation's 17 new medical schools that are in various stages of accreditation.

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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