Thursday, June 2, 2011

Temple set to open new medical school in Bethlehem

"Temple University’s School of Medicine has a head start on the health system in expanding its presence beyond North Philadelphia.

The medical school is getting ready to open a regional medical school campus at St. Luke’s Hospital & Health Network in Bethlehem, Pa.

“This fall, the first group of students will start here, in Philadelphia, then spend their second, third and fourth years at St. Luke’s,” said Dr. Larry R. Kaiser, dean of the Temple University School of Medicine.

The class is expected to have 30 students.

Temple and St. Luke’s have an affiliation that dates back to the 1970s, when Temple medical students first began clinical rotations at St. Luke’s. Since March 2006, St. Luke’s has served as a clinical campus of Temple, a designation that means third- and fourth-year Temple medical students can take all of their required clinical rotations at the campus. By 2014, Temple and St. Luke’s expect more than 120 future doctors will be enrolled at the regional campus where they will complete all four years of study.

The Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Foundation recently awarded a four-year, $1 million grant to St. Luke’s to establish an endowment fund that will be used exclusively for scholarships for students attending the regional Temple University School of Medicine/St. Luke’s Hospital & Health Network.

“Declining numbers of physicians and an aging population [are driving] the need to train more doctors, yet the cost of a medical education can be daunting and often prohibits people from making this career choice,” said Dr. Joel Rosenfeld, St. Luke’s chief academic officer and senior associate dean for the Temple University School of Medicine. “This gift will certainly make a difference for academically gifted students with financial need.”

Temple also has clinical campuses at West Penn-Allegheny Health System in Pittsburgh and Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa. Kaiser said the medical school is establishing a four-year regional medical campus at West Penn-Allegheny. He said the first group of Temple medical students will begin at Pittsburgh in the fall of 2013.

“We expect about 50 students in the first class,” Kaiser said."

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