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Partnership would help medical school

A proposed program for medical students at USF would provide a new health care leadership track, which would focus on the advancement of the medical field and information technology.

Earlier this month, the Board of Trustees approved an affiliation between USF Health and Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH) in Allentown, Pa. USF is now preparing to submit a request of approval to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education to host an off-site program in Pennsylvania with LVH.

LVH would supply USF with funding for the program.

USF would provide the salary for a new position of associate dean for LVH, who would report to Klasko.

“They are going to give us $2 million to renovate the medical classrooms, and that will probably be matched by the state,” said Stephen Klasko, dean of the College of Medicine.

Some LVH doctors would become part of the USF faculty and travel between Tampa and Pennsylvania as needed.

Vice Dean of Educational Affairs Alicia Monroe will work with the faculty at LVH to develop an educational program on the USF campus.

“Students in this program would get all the basic medical curriculum with some additional education in the areas of physician leadership, quality and safety, and efficient use of resources,” Monroe said.

She said students on the leadership track would spend their first two years in Tampa completing medical school course work followed by two years as residents at LVH.

The program would be valuable to all USF medical students because the College of Medicine would have the opportunity to  both revise and enhance its curriculum, and offer more electives, Monroe said.

LVH looked for specific criteria in its search for a new medical school partner, Klasko said. It looked for a medical school and health science center that had integrated medicine, nursing and public health.

“With USF Health, we’ve probably done that as well as anybody,” he said.

Klasko said the hospital wanted a university that understood the importance of leadership in health care.

“We’ve actually created a center for transformation and innovation which encompasses the leadership that is now used by hospitals around the country,” Klasko said.

He said LVH looked for a medical school interested in the uses of information technology.

USF Health demonstrated its interest in information technology by holding a conference to discuss how to transform Tampa Bay into a completely electronic health care city, Klasko said.

Klasko said he thinks the additional hospital affiliate will be good for USF since the University has no on-campus hospital at this time.

“In a place like the University of Florida, students would do their residency at the University of Florida’s hospital, Shands (Health Care). We don’t have a hospital, but we have hospital affiliates,” Klasko said. “Our medical students go to Tampa General Hospital, the Moffitt Cancer Center, the VA Hospital or All Children’s Hospital.”

Klasko said he thinks the program will benefit LVH because it is more consistent with the  hospital’s goals than past partners have been.

The program will draw students from out of state that otherwise may not have considered USF when selecting a medical school, he said.

“For us and for Florida, what is great about it is (the partnership) would bring a new medical school, with decreasing state funding,” Klasko said. “New resources on behalf of all of our students in the medical school are important.”

USF Health will submit official paperwork for the program approval April 15. If the LCME approves the program, USF can begin designing the official curriculum for the health care leadership track.

The first class would be admitted in summer 2011.