USF Health and Lehigh Valley Health Network to create new model of medical education

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The new affiliation was announced by the leadership of USF Health and LVHN at a joint video conference.

(March 5, 2009) — The University of South Florida’s College of Medicine (USF) and Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) today announced an affiliation that will create a Health Care Leadership Track; a medical education curriculum to train a new generation of 21st century physician leaders. LVHN will serve as the northern instructional medical campus of USF Health. The campus located in Allentown, Pa. will serve third and fourth year medical students of USF Health who will receive all of their clinical medical education at the campus while residing in the Lehigh Valley.

Students from Pennsylvania and the surrounding area will be able to attend USF Health located in Tampa, Fla., for their first two years of medical school, and then return to LVHN for their last two years. Under the affiliation, USF initially will expand the number of available slots in its annual medical school class by 24 students, and eventually by 48 students.

“We are tired of hearing that the health care system is broken. It is time to fix it,” said Stephen Klasko, M.D., M.B.A. Senior Vice President for USF Health and the Dean of the College of Medicine. “We want to transform the fundamentals of medicine, the DNA of the health care system, one medical student at a time.”

“This relationship between the University of South Florida and Lehigh Valley Health Network represents an opportunity to partner with one of the country’s most progressive medical schools which will allow us to create a national leadership track in medical education and to bring more physicians to Pennsylvania,” said Elliot J. Sussman, M.D., LVHN’s President and CEO. “We need to have training that meets the needs of our population in the future,” Sussman said.

“We are jointly designing a new medical education curriculum that will prepare physicians for the new paradigm of health care delivery. This emphasis includes cost management, physician leadership development, and emphasizes high quality and safe care for patients. Teaching hospitals like LVHN must be committed to developing new and innovative ways to train doctors so they can help with the health care reform everyone believes we so desperately need in this country.”

“We want to transform… the DNA of the health care system, one medical student at a time,” said Stephen Klasko, MD, USF Health CEO and medical school dean.

In fact, in October of 2008, 35 national leaders in medical education met for a conference sponsored by the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation of New York to address complex issues concerning the medical school of the future. Much of the discussion of the conference focused on the contemporary realities that are not yet reflected in the preparation of future physicians. Some notable examples include the accelerating pace of scientific discovery, more public accountability, the unsustainable rise in health care costs, the well-documented shortfalls in healthcare quality, the unconscionable racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care and the inexorable increase in the burden of chronic illness and disease.

The conferees were led by Jordan J. Cohen, M.D., President Emeritus of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and currently Professor of Medicine and Public Health at George Washington University. “The overarching theme that coursed through the discussions was the urgent desire to bring medical education into better alignment with societal needs and expectations”, Dr. Cohen said. “The new affiliation between USF and LVHN offers great promise in making a concrete difference in the medical school educational mission, just when we need it most.”

Sussman also said increasing the pool of highly qualified physicians is extremely important because the population is both aging and increasing. In fact, Florida and Pennsylvania lead in the nation in the proportion of the total population that is 65 and older. While the number of physicians is inadequate to serve the population’s needs in the future, experts are predicting a major physician shortage of between 100,000 and 200,000 physicians by the year 2020. As a result, in 2006, the AAMC recommended a 30 percent increase in U.S. medical school enrollment by 2015. This would add 4,900 students to the medical school pool.

On average Lehigh Valley Health Network recruits 70 new physicians to the area each year. With the continued population growth in the area, this number is expected to rise in order to meet the increased demand. Some of the most successful recruits are those that grew up in the area or went to medical school within 150 miles of the Lehigh Valley. In addition, Pennsylvania retains more of its medical students than other states. In fact, 43 percent of physicians practicing in Pennsylvania went to medical school here. The national average is 32 percent.

Stephen Klasko, M.D., said …”by offering new slots at USF Health to students
from Pennsylvania and the surrounding area, the school will be able to attract diverse students from that part of the country. Most importantly, these students will benefit because the new affiliation offers the opportunity to receive a unique medical school education aimed entirely at educating physicians who will become leaders in understanding and changing health care. This is an opportunity to cross state boundaries to make a difference nationally.”

A request to establish a regional (branch) medical campus is being submitted to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the nationally recognized accrediting authority for medical education programs leading to the M.D. degree in U.S. and Canadian medical schools. The LCME is sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Medical Association (AMA).

The goal is for the first students from USF Health to arrive at LVHN regional medical campus by the summer of 2013.

University of South Florida: USF Health –
The University of South Florida is the 9th largest public university in the country based on enrollment of more than 46,000 students. It is one of Florida’s top three research universities and was awarded more than $360 million in research contracts and grants last year. The University offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the Doctor of Medicine.

USF Health is the USF’s enterprise of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to improving the full continuum of health. USF Health has at its core the colleges of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health. Also included are the schools of Biomedical Sciences and Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences. Its clinicians deliver healthcare at USF Health South Tampa Center and the Carol & Frank Morsani Ambulatory Care Center as well as at its affiliated hospitals which include the Tampa General Hospital, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, James A. Haley Veterans Medical Center, Shriners Hospital for Children, and All Children’s Hospital.

Lehigh Valley Health Network
Lehigh Valley Health Network includes three hospital facilities – two in Allentown and one in Bethlehem, Pa.; eight health centers caring for communities in four counties; numerous primary and specialty care physician practices throughout the region; pharmacy, imaging and lab services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred. Specialty care includes trauma care at the region’s busiest, most-experienced trauma center treating adults and children, burn care at the regional Burn Center, kidney and pancreas transplants; perinatal/neonatal, cardiac, cancer, and neurology and complex neurosurgery capabilities including national certification as a Primary Stroke Center. Lehigh Valley Health Network has been recognized by US News& World Report for 13 consecutive years as one of America’s Best Hospitals, is a national Magnet hospital for excellence in nursing, enjoys the highest survival rates in the nation for heart attacks and has been honored seven straight years among the top integrated health networks in the U.S. Additional information is available at