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100 DAYS AND COUNTING UNTIL OPENING OF TENNESSEE'S NEWEST MEDICAL SCHOOL



April 20, 2007 - HARROGATE, TN – Sunday, April 22, 2007 will mark 100 days until orientation begins for the inaugural class of the Lincoln Memorial University-Debusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM). On August 1, 2007, members of the LMU-DCOM Class of 2011 will arrive on the LMU campus to begin their medical education.

The plans for LMU-DCOM began roughly three years ago when Chairman of the LMU Board of Trustees O.V. “Pete” DeBusk met Ray Stowers, D. O., F.A.C.O.F.P. Both were members of the MedPAC Commission, a Medicare advisory board in Washington, D.C. DeBusk, an LMU alumnus, shared his dream of a college of medicine at LMU with Stowers, a rural family physician from Oklahoma. After conducting a year-long feasibility study, LMU announced it was pursuing a college of osteopathic medicine and named Dr. Stowers as Vice President and Dean. The college was named in honor of its initiator, and the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine was born.

In September 2006, LMU received notification from the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (AOA COCA) that LMU-DCOM had received provisional accreditation. This step in the accreditation process allowed LMU-DCOM to begin accepting applications for its inaugural class.

In December 2006, the Commission on Colleges (COC) of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) approved LMU’s elevation to a Level V institution. This marked the final step in LMU being able to open LMU-DCOM and award its first doctoral degree. Previously, LMU had been a Level IV institution with the master’s degree and educational specialist degree being its highest degrees.

Since last October, LMU-DCOM has received over 2,000 applications for admission, and school officials have interviewed almost 500 candidates for the 150 spots in the inaugural class. The inaugural class is almost full, and the last day of interviews is April 24.

“While the inaugural class will be composed of students from all over the United States, our focus and priority, based on the mission of Lincoln Memorial University, is to serve deserving students from the Appalachian region. It is our belief that students from Appalachia, educated and trained in Appalachia, will graduate and serve the people of Appalachia,” LMU President Nancy B. Moody said. “Even for those of us who have been intimately involved in development of the college of medicine, it is difficult to conceive of the full economic, educational, and health care impact that this medical school will have on this region or on the state of Tennessee.”

On May 5, 2006, LMU broke ground on the LMU-DCOM facility. The state-of-the-art LMU-DCOM building is a four-story, 105,000 square foot facility that will rival medical education facilities found at much larger universities throughout the nation. The building is on schedule for completion in June 2007. LMU-DCOM faculty and staff are expected to move from their temporary offices into the new building over the summer. The first day of orientation for the inaugural class is August 1, 2007, and classes will commence on August 3.

LMU-DCOM is expected to have a significant positive economic impact on the region. Thirty-five new faculty and staff members will be in place by August, and this number will continue to grow as subsequent classes are enrolled. By the fall of 2010, LMU-DCOM will have 600 total medical students in place, many of whom will move to the area with spouses and children.

The Appalachian service area continues to have a severe shortage of well trained primary care physicians. LMU-DCOM’s mission is to prepare outstanding osteopathic physicians who are committed to the premise that the cornerstone of meaningful existence is service to humanity. This mission is achieved, in part, by serving the health and wellness needs of people within the Appalachian region and beyond. LMU-DCOM anticipates that a majority of its graduates will practice medicine throughout Appalachia. A study released by Oklahoma State University this year estimates that the introduction of one new physician into a rural community infuses roughly $1.5 million and 23 new jobs into the local economy.

“Osteopathic medicine was founded more than a century ago by Dr. A. T. Still, a native of Jonesville, Virginia, and the American Osteopathic Association was founded in 1897, the same year that LMU was chartered,” said Stowers. “It is extraordinary that the similar missions of the osteopathic profession and the University have converged in such a special place at such a special time. It is truly an honor and privilege to be part of such a meaningful endeavor.”

An osteopathic physician (D.O.), like an allopathic physician (M.D.) is fully qualified and licensed to practice medicine and surgery in all 50 states. Both enter into all specialties, attend medical school for four years, must pass comparable state licensing requirements, and work side-by-side in fully accredited and licensed health care facilities. However, D.O.s receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system, learn to use their hands to both diagnose and treat illnesses, and place emphasis on preventative health care. Many D.O.s work in underserved areas, and approximately 65% of D.O.s have primary care practices.

The DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine is located on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. LMU-DCOM is an integral part of LMU’s values-based learning community, and is dedicated to preparing the next generation of osteopathic physicians to provide healthcare in the often underserved region of Appalachia and beyond. For more information about LMU-DCOM, call 1-800-325-0900, ext. 7082, e-mail dcom@lmunet.edu, or visit us online at www.lmunet.edu/dcom.

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