The University of South Carolina Board of Trustees voted Friday to expand its medical school training at the USC School of Medicine using Greenville Memorial Hospital (GHS).
The USC School of Medicine has had a medical education program at the Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center since 1991. The previous partnership allows third and fourth year USC medical students to complete their final two years of education at GHS. Under the expansion, approximately 40 students annually will be able to spend all four years of their medical training at GHS as early as 2012. That number is expected to grow to 100 students eventually.
USC President Harris Pastides emphasizes that the expansion will address a critical shortage of primary-care physicians in the state. He says even though the new expansion plan is underway, it will still be a decade before the first students will begin practice. Pastides says if South Carolina doesn’t work on the shortage now, it will be losing the race.
Pastides says their plan to fund the expansion does not rely on any additional state money.
I don’t think any public university would contemplate asking for new money these days. But I do believe you’ll see many more universities expanding a commitment to the state by working with a private partner or hospital partner. I think you’ll examples of this in business, engineering and other programs down the road.
Pastides says areas like Charleston, Columbia and Greenville have far more doctors than areas like the Interstate 95 corridor. “We want to recruit young people who would be committed to working in places like the I-95 corridor,” he says, “or other underserved parts of South Carolina.”
Pastides says the number of doctors nationwide has not grown because the number of medical school admissions has been tightly controlled by accrediting officials, but a decade they decided to allow more physicians to be educated.
The GHS board also approved the expansion Friday. The program must be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.
The USC board also announced plans to explore opportunities with Palmetto Health in Columbia to increase training more physicians at the School of Medicine in Columbia.