Faculty Advisory Committee Weighs In on Potential Syracuse University College of Medicine
After seven weeks of information gathering, exploration and deliberation, the Faculty Advisory Committee tasked with studying the idea of a veterans-focused college of medicine at Syracuse, has submitted a 107-page report to Chancellor Kent Syverud.
That report, which will help inform the University’s decision making process, outlines the opportunities and weighs the challenges of establishing a school of medicine tailored to meet the needs of the nation’s veteran and military-connected community.
The idea of a veterans-focused college of medicine is national in scope and would be the first school of medicine focused primarily on attracting, educating and directly placing healthcare professionals into Veterans Administration hospitals and clinics around the country to help fill the current and projected workforce gap.
The concept is also attracting incredible interest from individuals, entities and stakeholders outside of the Central New York Region, which could result in new investment to the University and the region, generating job creation and economic opportunity. It could also potentially garner national and global interdisciplinary research dollars and opportunities for Syracuse students and faculty to further their work in these areas.
“I want to acknowledge and thank the members of the Faculty Advisory Committee for their tireless efforts over the last seven weeks,” says Chancellor Syverud. “Though the concept of creating a veterans-focused medical school is still in the very early stages of exploration, the completion of this step represents a major milestone in what I expect will be a diligent and thoughtful process. I have reviewed this report and look forward to engaging more members of the University community.”
In an effort to seek a wide range of faculty input, the committee issued an online faculty-wide survey seeking feedback on five key areas, including research, student recruitment, faculty recruitment, faculty retention and campus life. The survey, which was sent to all University faculty, generated hundreds of responses. The survey results were clear. A majority of respondents hold a favorable or impartial view of establishing a medical school.
The committee, created in early September at the direction of the Chancellor and chaired by University Professor Sean O’Keefe of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, was charged with soliciting input from faculty on how the University’s ongoing and future plans, programs, curricula and areas of research could benefit from or be impacted by the establishment of such a school. Twenty-one faculty members, representing nine of the University’s colleges and schools, participated in the process over a seven-week period.
“Establishing a veterans focused medical school could have a transformative impact on the university community,” says O’Keefe. “The idea presents considerable risk as well as opportunity. Our effort focused on the impact on teaching, research and service to help inform the debate as the Chancellor considers the ramifications of all factors in his comprehensive due diligence process. The committee members are appreciative that he sought the faculty’s assessment.”
The survey results, combined with the committee’s insights and analysis, produced a generally positive outlook on the potential establishment of a medical school as long as certain issues and considerations are addressed, including: a self-sustaining resourcing model, faculty teaching loads and integration of the potential school into the existing University structure. A detailed narrative of all 12 key committee findings can be found in the full report.
Of particular interest, the faculty findings directly align with potential challenges and issues that University leaders have identified since the idea of a veterans-focused medical school was first described in August.
The next phase in the ongoing exploratory process includes gaining additional feedback from stakeholders at the community, state and federal levels, as well as medical association and accrediting bodies, such as the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.
To review the Faculty Advisory Committee’s full report, visit http://vetsfocusedmedschoolinitiative.syr.edu/.