Waianae chosen for medical school site
Ten U.S. facilities will train doctors for the local community
Oahu's Leeward Coast will soon be home of the state's second medical school.
The Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center is one of 10 sites selected this month to partner with the National Association of Community Health Centers and A.T. Still University in Arizona to host community-based medical schools.
The 10 community health centers were selected based on criteria including their size, location, service to minority populations and potential to educate those who will stay and serve their communities.
More than 1,000 community health centers across the country were considered.
"We're real excited about that," said Richard Bettini, the health center's chief executive officer.
The other health centers selected are in New York, South Carolina, Alabama, Ohio, Arizona, California and Washington.
The Waianae health center plans to build a $10 million, 22,000-square-foot, three-story medical center that will accommodate education and training for the school on its third floor, Bettini said.
Bids will go out in March, with groundbreaking soon after. The medical center is scheduled to be completed in time to receive the first 10 students for the fall 2008 semester, he said.
The school is accepting student applications now through March for course work that begins in August at A.T. Still's campus in Mesa, Ariz., for one year. The students will spend years two through four in Waianae, receiving their education from physicians practicing at the Waianae health center. The school is looking for students who will stay and serve the Leeward community after they receive their medical degrees.
"This is a different kind of experience. The students will go through a mentoring process where they will follow a practicing clinician in his work," Bettini said.
The course also includes a hospital component. Bettini said he negotiating with officials at Tripler Army Medical Center to provide that portion of the students' medical education.
The school will add 10 students each year until it reaches its capacity of 30 in year three, Bettini said.