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Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences and the Cherokee Nation have established the nation’s first tribally-affiliated college of medicine in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, set to open in 2020.
The new OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation will be an additional location of the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine (OSU-COM) has received approval from the American Osteopathic Association's Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) for an additional location in Tahlequah, Oklahoma pending a satisfactory site visit in the spring of 2020.
Current plans call for the enrollment of an inaugural class of up to 50 students starting in the fall of 2020. The new medical college will be located in W.W. Hastings Hospital campus, 100 S. Bliss Ave, and will occupy approximately 60,000 square feet. Renovation work to accommodate the new medical college will take place once existing patient services have been re-located to the new Outpatient Health Center, 19600 E. Ross St., which is expected to be completed in 2019.
“The establishment of the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation is the culmination of years of work, and is part of our steadfast commitment to making Cherokee Nation’s health care not only the best in Indian country, but the best in the state of Oklahoma,” said Chief Bill John Baker, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. “Recruiting primary care physicians to practice within the Cherokee Nation’s 14-county jurisdiction remains a constant struggle. We admire and support OSU Center for Health Sciences’ efforts to populate rural Oklahoma with doctors from rural Oklahoma. That mission will create healthier families and communities in northeast Oklahoma and improve the lives of Cherokees for the next seven generations.”
Nationally, only 0.2 percent of medical school students are Native American. At OSU-COM that percentage is as high as 16 percent some years.
“Chief Baker and the Cherokee Nation understand the severe physician shortage crisis in rural Oklahoma and share our vision of populating rural and tribal areas of our state with OSU-trained primary care physicians,” said Kayse Shrum, D.O., OSU-CHS president and OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine dean. “Our partnership with the Cherokee Nation has deepened over the past 12 years. In 2006, our medical students started completing clinical rotations at W.W. Hastings Hospital. In 2009, we established a family medicine residency program in Tahlequah. We now have the opportunity to take this partnership to the next level through the creation of a new college of medicine. I can’t think of a better way to attract and train primary care physicians for rural and underserved Oklahoma than to train them in rural communities such as Tahlequah.”
To further advance this historic partnership, OSU Center for Health Sciences announced two key leadership positions:
- William J. Pettit, D.O, M.A., as Dean
- Natasha Bray, D.O., M.S., as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Accreditation
Pettit previously served as Provost and Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for OSU Center for Health Sciences. Bray most recently served as clinical associate professor in rural health at OSU Center for Health Sciences. Before joining OSU-CHS, Bray was the associate dean for Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine.
As Dean of the proposed additional site, Pettit will lead the efforts to identify and recruit biomedical faculty and support staff for the new site and to ensure the additional site meets pre-accreditation standards. “I joined the faculty at OSU Center for Health Sciences in 2002 because I believed in its mission: to train primary care physicians for rural and underserved Oklahoma. There is no better place to educate and train future doctors for rural Oklahoma than right here in Tahlequah where people embrace the rural lifestyle and are rural-minded. I’m excited to have the opportunity and privilege of leading this important endeavor for Oklahoma State University and for Oklahoma,” says Pettit.
Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine at the
Cherokee Nation — Nation’s First Tribally Affiliated Medical School
- 59,000 square feet
- Classes begin fall 2020
- First medical school class – 50 students
- Targeting a total of 200 medical students when fully operational
- 16 full-time faculty, 5 part-time faculty, numerous adjunct clinical faculty
- First graduation class – May 2024
- Certified by the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation
- Mission is to educate primary care physicians with an emphasis on rural and underserved Oklahoma
- William J. Pettit, D.O., will serve as the Dean of the new medical school
DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT
- The OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation is the first tribally
school in America.
- The new medical school will focus on educating primary care physicians who have an interest in providing care to Native and rural populations in Oklahoma.
- The new medical school will be located in the W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah,
Oklahoma in the
heart of the Cherokee Nation.
- Synchronized technology-enabled distance learning at OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine
in Tulsa will
enable students to study with faculty and collaborate with fellow students located in both Tulsa
- Medical students will be recruited from around Oklahoma and the United States and will not be restricted to Native Americans.
- All four years of medical education will be delivered at the Tahlequah site.
- Teaching space will include an anatomy laboratory, clinical skills lab, osteopathic
lab, standardized patient labs and a simulation center that will feature a state-of-the-art hospital/clinic
simulation center equipped with life-like, computer-programmed manikins that mimic a number of
medical conditions to teach medical students in specialties such as emergency medicine, pediatric/adult
medicine, labor and delivery, and newborn care.
Tahlequah is located in the "Lakes Country" of Northeastern Oklahoma in Cherokee County, with a population of 14,458 according to the 2000 census. The City of Tahlequah is the oldest municipality in Oklahoma by virtue of an incorporation act by the Cherokee National Council of 1843, more than half a century before Oklahoma gained statehood.
Tahlequah has the distinction of being the capital of both the Cherokee Nation and The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians.
Tahlequah is unique in its location, centered in the midst of the Illinois River Valley, with Lake Tenkiller and Lake Fort Gibson close by to provide unlimited recreation and beautiful scenery.