In response to the severe physician shortage in Kansas, Newman University and Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (KansasCOM) announced an admissions partnership agreement March 20.
The agreement will allow a select number of Newman University students to accelerate their career path with a 3+4 program. Qualified students who meet KansasCOM admission requirements will have the opportunity to begin their first year of medical school in their senior year of undergraduate studies at Newman. After completing their first year at KansasCOM, they will receive their bachelor’s degree from Newman, thereby completing both undergraduate work and a medical degree in seven years.
According to pcom.edu, osteopathic medicine is defined as a “whole person” approach to medicine — treating the entire person rather than just the symptoms. With a focus on preventive health care, doctors of osteopathy (DOs) “help patients develop attitudes and lifestyles that don’t just fight illness, but help prevent it, too.”
KansasCOM is part of the Kansas Health Science Center (KHSC) and the first private, nonprofit osteopathic medical school in the state. The school welcomed its inaugural class in August 2022. The school’s mission is to use a student-centered approach to train osteopathic physicians to provide effective, empathetic and innovative care that optimizes the health of patients and their communities.
Newman University has a long history of preparing quality health care professionals for the region and President Kathleen S. Jagger, Ph.D., MPH, believes the partnership benefits students and the community alike.
“Newman is pleased to partner with KansasCOM so that some of our very best students can accelerate their course of studies through medical school,” Jagger said. “This opportunity for Newman premedical students, who are prepared to move on to graduate medical studies after three years of undergraduate study, should not only benefit our students but also the Kansas communities which they serve as medical professionals.”
Not only will the 3+4 year program prepare more doctors for the region, but it will also support medical students by reducing the debt load of one year.
Tiffany Masson, Psy.D., president of KansasCOM, amplified the excitement of the partnership and explained the impact it will have on the health of Kansans.
“Of the 105 counties in this state, 92 are considered partially or wholly underserved. And we know that primary care physicians tend to practice medicine where they grew up, attended medical school or completed their residency,” Masson said.
“By 2032, we expect a nationwide shortage of 50,000 to 120,000 physicians across the United States,” Masson continued. “Together, we will help get physicians into the workforce at an expedited pace, with the focus on recruiting from within the state and retaining our physicians after residency.”
Well-qualified premedical students at Newman University will have the opportunity to transition to KansasCOM beginning in the fall of 2025.
Masson added, “It’s a blessing to have and bring in quality students (from Newman), and especially quality students that are from the state of Kansas. If they have clinical rotations here and ultimately a residency here, they’re more apt to stay in the state and serve the state of Kansas, which is really important.”
Jagger attributes the academic leadership teams at both Newman and KansasCOM for their hard work in bringing the partnership to fruition.
“We’re very excited to have this opportunity for our students,” Jagger said. “I think it’s something that is not available with every medical school.”
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