A new $2 million grant will help build the foundation for a new medical college and for health care equity in underserved rural and urban areas.
The gift from the Richard King Mellon Foundation will go toward the development of Duquesne University's new College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM), which will help to alleviate a national shortage of primary care doctors while helping address health care disparities in underserved areas.
"I'd like to thank the Richard King Mellon Foundation for its generous funding of this historic initiative," said Duquesne President Ken Gormley. "Our College of Osteopathic Medicine will be one of the most forward-looking medical schools in the country. It will train and educate physicians who will serve communities, both urban and rural, that are in dire need of primary care doctors - including those that suffer disproportionately from poverty, low employment levels and other negative health determinants. This path-breaking college of medicine will help to bring much-needed health equity and opportunity to communities in our region and throughout the country."
The 80,000-square foot facility, which will be located on Forbes Avenue at the former Life'sWorks building, will feature experiential and immersive learning with state-of-the-art technologies, including advanced simulation technologies, augmented reality anatomy labs, maker space and examination suites. The University will also renovate 20,000 square feet of existing space on campus to house a complementary health sciences library and a new Center for Student Wellbeing.
The COM exemplifies Duquesne's long-standing commitment to promoting equity and opportunity in the region. The University's Center for Integrative Health (CIH) has made a major impact in providing health services for the region's vulnerable populations, as its services have led to a significant reduction in the number of children with uncontrolled asthma. Most recently, the CIH provided COVID-19 vaccinations to more than 5,000 people in Pittsburgh's Hill District.
"A healthy community creates the platform for neighborhoods to grow in other ways," said William Generett, Jr., vice president of civic engagement and external relations at Duquesne. "It helps to revitalize areas economically, through improved access to food and affordable housing. Duquesne remains committed to making the region's neighborhoods better places to live."
The COM's admission process will emphasize diversity, Generett said, adding that students will be educated in primary care disciplines and train in underserved urban and rural communities.
"The college will result in increased access to high-quality health care in these communities, which will lead to decreased morbidity and mortality rates and ultimately, an improved quality of life," he said.
Said Sam Reiman, director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation: "The data makes clear that one of the most powerful things we can do to improve health and well-being in our disadvantaged communities - both urban and rural - is to create greater access in those communities to primary-care physicians. Duquesne University's proposed new medical school is laser focused on exactly this great need, and the Foundation is pleased to support their efforts."