Temple University’s medical school already has ties with West Penn Allegheny Health system and those ties will be growing with opening of a four-year medical school on the north shore starting in August of 2013.
The “Temple University School of Medicine at West Penn Allegheny Health System” will be a regional campus of the Philadelphia based school. The plan is to accept 30 students in the first year with a goal of growing to 50 students a year in the future.
“Schools in our commonwealth, and this region in particular, are not educating and returning enough physicians to care for future generations,” said West Penn President Christopher Olivia. Olivia said more than half of the doctors in the state are older than 50-years of age and only 8% are under the age of 35.
According to Olivia Temple University Medical School has a history of accepting students from Pennsylvania and keeping them in the state. He said the focus of the new school will be on Western Pennsylvania students, “If we can get our medical students, not from California, not from Oregon, but from Pennsylvania…. We will keep them here in the commonwealth.”
Temple Medical School takes on 180 students a year from its 8-10,000 applicants and nearly 1,000 of the applicants are from Western Pennsylvania said Olivia, “I assure you we will find 30 qualified western Pennsylvania students.” The new school already has tentative relationships with Duquesne University and Washington and Jefferson College to serve as a pipeline for students and Olivia plans to build similar relationships with other schools in the region.
West Penn has been struggling financially for years and has been talking about a partnership with the insurance company Highmark but Olivia said that will not have a negative impact on the school. According to Olivia the health system has been “meeting its numbers” this year. “I believe that what we are creating today will survive for generations to come.”
The new school will hold classes in Four Allegheny Center with plans to improve the pedestrian link between that building and Allegheny General Hospital. Olivia believes the addition of more students and teachers will bring more life to Allegheny Center’s other buildings and to the entire north side.