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Oklahoma State University

Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation

Logo of OSU and the Cherokee NationOklahoma 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 on the Cherokee Nation Health Services campus, 100 S. Bliss Ave, after the construction of an 84,000 square foot facility.

The new medical school building will include an anatomy laboratory, clinical skills lab, osteopathic manipulative medicine lab, standardized patient labs and a simulation center that will feature state-of-the-art computer programmable manikins. There will also be lecture halls, classrooms, faculty offices as well as study carrels and a gym/workout area.

“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.”