The Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU) is closing in on $40 million in donations toward the planned development of a second College of Osteopathic Medicine in Joplin, Missouri. The Joplin Regional Medical School Alliance (JRMSA), a not-for-profit foundation formed through an alliance of medical and community leaders, has raised $29.6 million toward its $30 million pledge to KCU for the project. An in-kind donation of land and former hospital building from Mercy Hospital Joplin is valued at $9.5 million.
KCU-Joplin, the first new medical school in Missouri in nearly 50 years, represents the realization of a shared vision for the region, and has been made possible through collaboration among KCU, Mercy Hospital Joplin, Freeman Health System, the City of Joplin and philanthropic leadership from the surrounding community. Freeman Health System has pledged a multi-million dollar gift, as well as a commitment to provide medical student training for KCU.
“The expansion of KCU to an additional location marks a significant moment for our University and an opportunity to help address the rural health care needs of Missouri and the region,” said Marc B. Hahn, DO, president and chief executive officer, KCU. “As the second-leading producer of physicians for Missouri and Kansas, and with nearly 40 percent of our graduates practicing medicine in rural areas, this was a logical decision for us. We are honored that the Joplin community has chosen our University as a partner and provided such impressive philanthropic support.”
The KCU campus will be located on the site of Mercy’s former hospital, which was constructed in 2012 to serve as a temporary facility following the destruction of St. John’s Hospital during the devastating Joplin tornado in 2011. The facility represents a nearly $10 million donation.
“I’m proud of the regional leadership in our community that has helped us achieve this milestone,” said Larry McIntire, DO, president of the JRMSA. “We owe a debt of gratitude to Rudy Farber, chairman of Community Bank & Trust, who leads this impressive fundraising initiative, and we are excited to welcome KCU into our community to provide the best educational opportunities for our home-grown physicians.”
As the 12th-largest medical school in the U.S., KCU has distinguished itself as a national leader in the education and training of osteopathic physicians. The University’s expansion into Southwest Missouri will be transformative for the region through the ability to locally train the next generation of physicians to help improve access to high-quality medical care for the underserved surrounding four states.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), the primary care physician shortage in this country is projected to exceed 50,000 by 2025, greater than in any other specialties. The total physician shortage across all specialties is projected to reach more than 100,000.
Missouri is ranked 36th in America’s Health Rankings 2015 report, a comprehensive analysis of national health on a state-by-state basis, published by United Health Foundation. Significant indicators in the report identify the need for more primary care and specialty physicians for our state and region. These indicators include high patient-to-physician ratios, high rates of premature births and high rates of preventable hospitalizations.
KCU partnered with the Joplin community to open the first new medical school in Missouri nearly 50 years: (Left to Right) Michael Siebert, mayor of Joplin, Marc B. Hahn, DO, president and chief executive officer of KCU, Paula Baker, president and chief executive officer of Freeman Health System, Gary Pulsipher, president of Mercy Hospital Joplin, Rob O’Brian, president of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, Larry McIntire, DO, president of the Joplin Regional Medical School Alliance, and Rudy Farber, chairman of Community Bank & Trust.