West Penn Allegheny plans four-year medical school

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West Penn Allegheny Health System expects to begin a four-year medical school this year, CEO Christopher Olivia told employees in a Jan. 7 letter.

The medical school would be Pittsburgh's second, joining the University of Pittsburgh. West Penn Allegheny has long maintained teaching affiliations with medical schools at Drexel and Temple universities,

West Penn Allegheny, the region's No. 2 health system, released a statement confirming Mr. Olivia's letter:

"It is no secret that the nation's healthcare system is facing a critical shortage of physicians and other healthcare professionals that threatens its future viability. Western Pennsylvania is no exception to this unfortunate trend.

"Both the American Association of Medical Colleges and the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania have called attention to this pressing concern, with the former recommending a 30 percent increase in U.S. medical school enrollment and an expansion of Graduate Medical Education (GME) positions to accommodate this growth.

"As a leading healthcare provider and educator, we are acutely aware of this issue and its potential impact on our region if efforts are not made to increase the number of physicians who practice here. In the spring, we look forward to sharing with the public our plans to address this challenge through an expansion of our medical education program."

The health care system declined further comment.


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