GREAT FALLS — Touro College & University System and Benefis Health System will break ground in Great Falls this week on a proposed new medical school campus of the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine.
The ground-breaking ceremony will be on Wednesday, October 6, at 11 a.m., at the corner of 26th Street South and 18th Avenue, near Great Falls Central Catholic High School.
A news release from Benefis says this proposed new medical school campus will address the physician shortage and increase access to health care for the state’s underserved populations.
The Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine - Montana campus will expand the university system’s existing national footprint of medical schools that includes an allopathic medical school, New York Medical College, and four medical college campuses of osteopathic medicine located in Nevada, California, and Harlem and Middletown, New York. About 60% of Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine graduates enter the field of primary care.
Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine said in July 2021 that it plans to accept 125 students each year and to educate them with affiliates in Montana as well as sending some students out of state for their clerkships and rotations, according to Dr. Alan Kadish, president of the Touro College and University System.
He said Touro plans to give preference to Montana residents but does not have a quota on how many in-state vs. out-of-state students it will accept. “With our [osteopathic] model and increased primary care residencies, we believe that we will encourage students to enter primary care and remain in the state,” Kadish said.
The news release also states: "Montana and surrounding region are facing a healthcare crisis, with eleven of the state’s 56 total counties lacking a practicing physician and 52 counties identified as areas with health profession shortages. Establishing a new medical school campus in the state will significantly address this great need as studies show that 39 percent of physicians practice in the state where they completed medical school."
Work is also underway for a new medical school in Billings. The construction timeline for the new Montana College of Osteopathic Medicine sets a December 2022 goal for completion of construction. The school's inaugural class of 80 students will be ready to begin clinical rotations in July of 2025. Click here for more details.