READY FOR OPERATIONS: TU President Steadman Upham, right, and OU President David Boren put on their white jackets in preparation for the beginning of the joint TU-OU medical program, which is slated to be underway in full force by 2014.
DANIEL C. CAMERON for GTR Newspapers
University of Tulsa President Steadman Upham and University of Oklahoma President David Boren announced recently their intention to establish a joint four-year community medical education program in Tulsa. The state’s flagship private and public universities are creating the program to help address Oklahoma’s low health status, low health systems performance and physician shortage.
TU has an established core of science education and research programs, and OU has an established medical training program in Tulsa focusing on residency training and the third and fourth years of clinical medical student education. University officials said the goal is to have the first class in the new program to begin studies in the fall of 2014.
The program will build upon the concept of a School of Community Medicine, which was established at OU-Tulsa in February 2008 with a $50 million gift from the George Kaiser Family Foundation, with emphasis on helping those most in need of medical care. The curriculum, designed and supported by TU and OU faculty, will focus on priorities such as improving the health of entire communities, improvement in public health disparities, recruitment of students with altruistic goals, health systems improvement and interdisciplinary work.
This is the latest collaboration between TU and OU. Two years ago, the two universities combined efforts to offer a Master of Health Sciences in Physician Assistant Studies through the OU School of Community Medicine. Physician assistants are health care professionals authorized to practice under the supervision of licensed physicians, and the field is one of the fastest growing professions in the country.
The universities also have a joint affiliation with the William K. Warren Foundation at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research along with ongoing research associations in the areas of immunology and cancer, informatics and the neurosciences.