The historic partnership between Oklahoma State University and the Cherokee Nation celebrated another milestone with the official ribbon cutting ceremony at the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation Jan. 15. The 84,000-square-foot facility opened its doors to students, faculty and staff just after the new year.
“The opening of the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at Cherokee Nation is a historic achievement for all of Indian Country as we produce more Native and rural doctors for our people,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “We know that Native Americans make up only 0.2% of medical students nationwide and through this partnership we can now actively increase the shortage of diverse physicians and recruit them to work upon graduating. Through these efforts and our partnership with Oklahoma State University, we will continue to make advances in our tribal health system.”
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the ceremony was only attended by a small group of dignitaries and leaders from the Cherokee Nation and OSU Center for Health Sciences. In addition to Chief Hoskin, Cherokee Nation Health Services Executive Director Dr. Stephen Jones, OSU Center for Health Sciences President and OSU-COM Dean Dr. Kayse Shrum, OSUCOM at the Cherokee Nation Dean Dr. William J. Pettit, and Associate Dean of Rural and Tribal Health Dr. Doug Nolan took part in the ribbon cutting.
Also attending was Cherokee Tribal Councilors Mary Baker Shaw and Mike Dobbins as well as former Principal Chief and current Executive Chairman of Cherokee Nation Businesses Bill John Baker.
The OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation is the first tribally affiliated medical school in the country with a focus on educating primary care physicians who have an interest in serving rural and underserved populations in Oklahoma.
“This ribbon cutting brings us to the end of an almost decade-long journey to transform a shared vision into reality. We are here because the Cherokee Nation and Oklahoma State University endeavored to find a common solution to their individual challenges through a shared vision,” said Dr. Shrum. “This partnership is an example of the tremendous good that can occur when trust is the foundation of a relationship. My hope is that future physicians who train at the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation will strive to emulate the special relationship that we are blessed to share with our good friends at the Cherokee Nation.”
The new $40 million medical school site constructed by the Cherokee Nation for OSU is an additional location of the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine in Tulsa. It is located on the W.W. Hastings Hospital campus in Tahlequah, the capital of the Cherokee Nation.
OSUCOM at the Cherokee Nation welcomed its inaugural class of 54 students during a White Coat Ceremony held on July 31. During their first semester, classes were held in a section of the new Cherokee Nation Outpatient Health Center, which is located next door to W.W. Hastings Hospital. It opened in fall 2019.
About Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences is a nationally recognized academic health center focused on teaching, research and patient care through its OSU Medicine clinics located throughout the Tulsa metro area. OSU Center for Health Sciences offers graduate and professional degrees through the College of Osteopathic Medicine, the School of Allied Health, the School of Health Care Administration, the School of Biomedical Sciences, and the School of Forensic Sciences. OSU Medicine operates a network of clinics offering a multitude of specialty services including addiction medicine, cardiology, family medicine, internal medicine, pain management, pediatrics, psychiatry and women’s health. Learn more at health.okstate.edu.
About Cherokee Nation
The Cherokee Nation is the federally recognized government of the Cherokee people and has inherent sovereign status recognized by treaty and law. The seat of tribal government is the W.W. Keeler Complex near Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the capital of the Cherokee Nation. With more than 380,000 citizens, 11,000 employees and a variety of tribal enterprises ranging from aerospace and defense contracts to entertainment venues, Cherokee Nation is one of the largest employers in northeastern Oklahoma and the largest tribal nation in the United States.