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Pending state approval, FAU to offer own medical degrees

By Samantha Frank, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Florida Atlantic University will soon be home to region’s newest medical school.

The university’s board of trustees voted today to end a medical education agreement with the University of Miami, and instead, move forward with its own independent four-year medical degree.

The board also discussed entering a new, long-term agreement with the Scripps Research Institute, which would allow students to earn a doctorate degree in chemical and biological sciences from The Scripps Research Institute in addition to a medical degree from FAU during a six-year period.

“This is a natural evolution for FAU and our medical education program,” said Nancy Blosser, chairwoman of FAU’s board of trustees. “We’ve grown up, we’ve established a program here and we know it works.”

In 2004, FAU opened its doors to a class of two-year medical students on its Boca Raton campus. Following their two years at FAU, the students would move to the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, where they would complete their last two years of medical school and receive their degrees.

Three years later, FAU began offering students the option of staying on its campus for all four years of medical school, but the students’ degrees would still come from the University of Miami.

In 2006, the two schools entered an agreement with Boca Raton Community Hospital, which had plans to build a 500-bed, academic medical center on FAU’s Boca Raton campus. But the hospital ended up backing out of the agreement because of financial woes.

FAU’s decision to end its agreement with the University of Miami means that medical students will save money and FAU will collect tuition. Tuition for the University of Miami costs about $30,000 per year, whereas FAU costs $21,752.

The medical program from the start has been financed with state money, which will continue to be the case. No additional money will be needed during FAU’s transition to an independent medical school, said FAU’s interim President John Pritchett, and the university already has in place the necessary medical staff.

FAU hopes to welcome its first class of medical school students in the fall of 2011, pending approval from the Florida Board of Governors and the state legislature.

The 127 students enrolled in the joint medical program on FAU’s campus will continue their education without interruption and earn their medical degrees from the University of Miami…See entire article HERE.

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Filed under: Issues and Challenges, Multi-Institutional Partnerships,

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