As the funding for the College of Medicine in Saginaw nears completion, David Hales is excited his career will soon take him into the communities where he is needed the most.
Along with the rest of CMED’s inaugural class, Hales will be journeying to the Saginaw branch for his third year as a medical student to work closely with local physicians at the St. Mary’s of Michigan and Covenant Heath Care locations.
“I don’t really know what to expect,” he said. “I hear it’s a great site. The Saginaw people have expressed a lot of good feelings. They’re getting us into clinics on day one. That’s what matters.”
According to CMED founding Dean Ernest Yoder, construction at Saginaw will begin by the end of October. He said work still needs to be done to set up classrooms and utilities for the facility.
“This fall, we’ll move into final planning,” Yoder said. “Funding is set for the classrooms. Construction does not go forward until we have the funding.”
Yoder said the overall funds for CMED are at 80 percent of the final requirement. He said the cost is capped at $45 million and the Saginaw branch will bring $25 million in revenue per year.
Yoder explained the Saginaw branch will provide greater access for students to learn in a more realistic setting than past classes at CMED. There will be 46 full-time faculty and 15 part-timers.
The two hospitals will offer more than 300 volunteer physician faculty, Yoder said.
He said the Liaison Committee on Medical Education requires students to work with resident physicians during their training at CMED.
“The decision was made based on accreditation,” Yoder said of the expansion. “They will be able to work with resident physicians and have access to technology that can’t be hosted at small community hospitals. It expands their experience.”
Grand Blanc CMED student Sim Botta hopes the experience garnered in Saginaw will help him and his peers assist in areas that have a shortage of physicians.
“They’re giving us a taste for rural medicine,” he said. “You get to see what goes on. These are places that are the most packed. They need physicians. That was part of the mission.”
Yoder said CMED achieved preliminary accreditation and will be working on obtaining provisional accreditation, the second step, by Winter 2015 after a site visit in November 2014.
“Our goal is providing care to under-served populations,” Yoder said. “You need that urban setting.”