Medical College Picks Marathon County

Local education and medical leaders are pleased that months of hard work recruiting paid off with this morning’s announcement that the Medical College of Wisconsin will have a campus in Wausau.

The private, Milwaukee-based college announced in January that it was seeking sites for new campuses to raise the school’s profile statewide and find new clinical partners to help educate future generations of doctors and nurses. The college selected central Wisconsin and Green Bay in June and plans to open the campuses in 2015.

The college’s board of trustees met Friday to vote on exact locations for the campus, but the board’s decision was not announced until today. Marshfield, Stevens Point and Wausau were considered the three top locations for central Wisconsin.

“As a major provider of health care services in Wisconsin, we recognize the importance of this effort by the Medical College of Wisconsin to establish a medical education program in this part of the state, said Michael Kryda, Vice President of Medical Affairs for Ministry Health Care. “This program will compliment the already long-established medical education programs within our system as we continue to address the need for additional physicians in the many communities we serve across the state.”

The medical college will begin negotiations to locate classrooms and offices at the Liberty Mutual Insurance building, 2000 Westwood Drive, in Wausau. About 20 Medical College of Wisconsin students and school officials in October toured Wausau and made stops at Liberty Mutual and Northcentral Technical College in Wausau.

Wausau was considered a good possible location based on the close proximity of Aspirus Wausau Hospital, Ministry Saint Clare’s Hospital in Weston and branches of Marshfield Clinic. The estimated cost to develop medical education programs in both regions is approximately $11 to $12 million per region.

A community venture

The medical college campus will work in partnership with many local medical facilities and higher education institutions in central Wisconsin.

The medical college will partner with the University of Wisconsin Marathon County, which will provide student services and support, and NTC that will have space for a medical student learning laboratories and clinical simulation center.

Lori Weyers, the president of Northcentral Technical College, said medical college officials were impressed the school’s Center for Health Sciences, where students get hands-on training and education. The school already has a simulation center, and a $250,000 grant NTC received last year for the Wisconsin Technical College System will allow NTC to expand the facility.

“Our students will have a unique opportunity to be in an accelerated learning environment, working with Medical College (of Wisconsin) students, and interns,” Weyers said.

Aspirus, Ministry Health Care, and Marshfield Clinic all will play a critical role with the campus, providing physicians who will serve as faculty members and allow students to receive clinical education at those facilities.

Science faculty members for the college campus will be identified from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, University of Wisconsin Marathon County, University of Wisconsin – Marshfield/Wood County, and Northcentral Technical College.

The medical college also wants UWSP, UWMC, NTC, UW-Marshfield/Wood County and Northcentral Technical College to develop pipeline programs to prepare undergraduate students for medical school.

“MCW is developing community advisory boards in both Central Wisconsin and Green Bay to assist with the development and implementation of the local medical education programs,” Joseph E. Kerschner, MCW’s dean of the medical school and executive vice president, said in a news release. “The community advisory boards also will advise me in the selection of a community campus dean in both regions.”

Eliminating a shortfall

A 2011 report by the Wisconsin Hospital Association revealed that Wisconsin faces an estimated shortfall of 2,000 physicians by 2030. The hope is that the new medical college campuses will bring new physicians to central Wisconsin to train and stay in the area.

Duane Erwin, the CEO at Aspirus, said 150 people have graduated from the Aspirus family residency program that started in 1978 in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and 87 residents practice in Wisconsin with 44 people still in the immediate region.

“Having students trained in the region helps make sure those physicians stay in the area to provide the care we need to provide,” Erwin said.

Source: Wausau Daily Herald

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