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Duquesne breaks ground on school of osteopathic medicine in bid to reduce doctor shortage

Duquesne University
A rendering of Duquesne University's College of Osteopathic Medicine, which will launch in the fall of 2024. The building will be located across from the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse on Forbes Avenue downtown. It will feature state-of-the-art medical equipment.

When Duquesne University launches its College of Osteopathic Medicine in fall 2024, President Ken Gormley says it will help fill a shortage of primary-care physicians, especially locally.

“These last few years as we’ve confronted a global pandemic, the need for this college has become even more obvious," Gormley said Tuesday ahead of a groundbreaking ceremony. "COVID underscored the fact that we already knew, that communities and neighborhoods throughout our nation are facing a shortage of primary-care doctors.”

The college will first enroll 85 students with the plan to grow to 170 by 2026. By 2032 the Association of American Medical Colleges anticipates that the U.S. will be short between 38,000 and 124,000 physicians — especially primary-care physicians. That shortage is acute in urban and rural areas.

The new school will have a commitment to addressing the social determinants of health — a fact that Gormley said helped make it “the most significant and ambitious undertaking in this university’s history.”

It’ll be the fifth health-focused school at Duquesne, which already has programs in nursing, pharmacy, allied health and science. This school will train Osteopaths with a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree — a D.O., rather than a Doctor of Medicine, or M.D. (According to the Mayo Clinic, the major difference between the two is that some osteopathic doctors provide manual medicine therapies such as spinal manipulation or massage therapy as part of treatment.)

The building on Forbes Avenue will be located across from the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse and will feature “state-of-the-art medical equipment including advanced simulation and virtual anatomy,” according to a university release.

Gormley joined other university administrators including the college’s Dean, Dr. John Kauffman, on Tuesday. Kauffman said that doctors will be trained to understand and meet the healthcare needs of patients living in underserved regions.

“Communities with stronger primary-care services have better health outcomes, improved quality of care, lower costs and higher patient satisfaction,” Kauffman said.

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