CHSU moves forward with plans for College of Osteopathic Medicine

CHSU’s projected site plan for its campus at Temperance Avenue and Highway 168. (Photo courtesy of CHSU)

Whether you are a proponent of Trumpcare, prefer Obamacare, or support the idea of a single-payer system, one thing all Valley residents can agree on is the need for more medical practitioners.

Clovis is at the forefront in trying to meet with growing demand and over the next decade it is projected that the intersection on Temperance and Highway 168 will become the Central Valley’s epicenter for health care needs. Already in the bustling area is Clovis Community Medical Center, which will soon boast the Valley’s first full-service cancer treatment and research facility. And across the street from the prestigious hospital, California Health Science University’s (CHSU) is planning to construct its permanent campus.

Founded just five short years ago, CHSU is already home to a successful College of Pharmacy, and in fall 2019, CHSU plans to welcome its first class of students to its second school, a College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Last week, it was announced that a second osteopathic medical school called California Central Valley College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCVCOM), also has plans to open in 2019 in the heart of downtown Fresno.

Rather than considering CCVCOM a rival, CHSU President Florence Dunn said she is glad to see others interested in bringing additional medical programs to the area.

“The need here is so great that we welcome all efforts to bring medical education and physicians to our area,” Dunn said. “We hope to have the opportunity to collaborate with all medical education programs, health care providers, hospitals and clinics in the greater Central Valley.”

Dunn said the greatest need in the region is the need for more primary care providers. By 2030, it is projected that California will have a shortage of 8,000 primary care physicians. While all medical education programs would help meet shortages in a variety of specialty areas, Dunn said osteopathic medical programs are known for producing a high percentage of graduates who choose to practice primary care.

“With the severe shortage, we cannot afford to wait any longer to provide solutions,” Dunn said. “We chose osteopathic medicine because greater than 50 percent of osteopathic physicians typically choose to practice primary care.”

While the two schools will be offering a similar program, Dunn said what makes CHSU unique is its commitment to producing “homegrown” medical professionals and its commitment to the community.

“Our mission is what sets us apart at CHSU,” Dunn said. “In short, we hope to educate Valley students who will remain in the area to practice primary care, especially to those in rural and underserved areas. Our founders, and most of our leadership and board members have been entrenched in the region for decades with proven track records of bettering the Valley.

“From education, health care business, agriculture and philanthropy, CHSU is committed to doing our part in elevating our home region to be the best in the state, nation and maybe the world. With 60 percent of current students being from the Valley, we are well on our way in helping Valley students have access to great, professional careers to help remedy the shortage of health care for the people in our community.”

Dunn said the development of the CHSU College of Osteopathic Medicine is progressing as planned and CHSU has an aggressive timeline with goals to have the osteopathic medicine building complete on the new campus at Temperance and Highway 168 and ready to accept students by fall 2019.

Academically, CHSU is moving forward with its accreditation process and recently welcomed Dr. Gregg Silberg as Senior Associate Dean for Clinical and Graduate Medical Education to join Founding Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Douglas Wood. CHSU has also hired Dr. Casey Bassett as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Bassett will officially join the CHSU team on July 15.