The University of Kansas School of Medicine is officially moving ahead with plans to expand its Wichita campus from two to four years following a favorable review by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the accrediting authority for medical education programs.
The committee visited the Wichita campus and the proposed Salina site in July.
University leaders estimate that the annual economic impact of the Wichita campus will increase from $49.7 million to about $80 million with the growth of the medical school and the addition of the KU School of Pharmacy-Wichita.
The aim is to help meet the need for physicians in Kansas.
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The first class of eight would be admitted in the fall of 2011.
Dean H. David Wilson told The Eagle in April that if that goes well _ "and I'm convinced that it will" _ a class of 28 would be admitted in each of the next two years. Class size would expand to 50 in 2014.
The medical school in Wichita now offers only the third and fourth years of medical school, with about 55 students in each class. Students attend the first two years in Kansas City.
Wichita would continue to take some students from Kansas City for the final two years of medical school, Wilson said in April, for a total of 75 students per class.
Expanding to a four-year campus would have a number of benefits, Wilson said previously:
* Kansas has a physician-to-patient ratio lower than the national average in five of its six regions. Adding students would help change that.
* The physician work force is aging. "Kansas is going to need some more doctors pretty quickly," Wilson said, and it takes a minimum of seven years _ four years of medical school and at least three years of residency _ to produce them.
* Physicians trained in Kansas are more likely to stay in Kansas. Half of the physicians in Sedgwick County graduated from medical school here or did their residencies here.
The Salina school would take eight students each year, also beginning in August 2011.
In Salina and in Wichita, students will get much of their basic science course work via interactive video or podcast.
The Salina program will be housed in what used to be the Asbury School of Nursing.