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Florida State University Develops Regional Medical School Campus in Tallahassee

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CONTACT: Ms. Mollie Hill
(850) 644-8936

By Nancy Kinnally
January 22, 2002

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Florida State University College of Medicine is moving forward with the creation of its regional medical school campus in Tallahassee and Friday will open the search for an assistant dean to oversee the campus.

Capital Health Plan, the Leon County Health Department and Tallahassee Community Hospital have signed affiliation agreements with the college that allow third- and fourth-year medical students to train with their physicians. The college will continue to develop affiliations with other health-care providers in the coming months.

Dr. Joseph Scherger, dean of the FSU College of Medicine, said each of the affiliates presents unique advantages.

“With the way TCH plans to use medical information technology in its new facility, the hospital will be a good model of 21st Century medicine for our students,” Scherger said, adding that students will be able to experience continuous care by following a patient or group of patients at Capital Health Plan, which has a patient population of 108,000.

Dr. Nancy Van Vessem, an associate medical director at CHP, said the organization’s reputation for member satisfaction and quality health care make it an ideal teaching site, and that the relationship with the College of Medicine will also benefit CHP patients.

“We expect that this type of partnership will continue to focus attention on improving the quality of care for our entire community," Van Vessem said.

When hired, the assistant dean will assume responsibility for coordinating the clinical education of those third- and fourth-year medical students who remain in Tallahassee after the second year of medical school.

Tallahassee is among six communities that have been identified as sites for the clinical education of third- and fourth-year students. Plans call for six third-year medical students to begin their clinical education in Tallahassee in July of 2003. Eventually, the college intends to have 12 third-year and 12 fourth-year students at its Tallahassee campus, with the remaining students assigned to other Florida communities.

The regional medical school campus in Tallahassee will be directed by a board with representation from all of the participating institutions. Members of the initial board are Dr. Avon Doll, representing the Capital Medical Society, John Hogan, executive director of Capital Health Plan, Dr. Marjorie Kirsch, medical director of the Leon County Health Department, Dr. Alma Littles, acting assistant dean of the Regional Medical School Campus – Tallahassee, and Sharon Roush, CEO of Tallahassee Community Hospital. The board can have up to 15 members.

During their clinical education, third-year students will spend 30 percent of their time in a hospital setting and 70 percent in physicians’ practices, while fourth-year students will spend 60 percent of their time in a hospital setting and 40 percent in physicians’ practices. Students will complete four- to eight-week rotations in specialties such as internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, geriatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology.