Trustees may pick medical school site

The University of the Incarnate Word’s Board of Trustees could decide this fall where a proposed osteopathic medical school will open.

Trustees voted in June for a $2.5 million study to determine the feasibility of launching the school by August 2016 that would focus on primary care and family practice medicine. The medical school could eventually enroll 486 students, Dr. Lou J. Agnese Jr., UIW’s president, has said.

The feasibility study should be done by March 2014, but the board may approve one of four possible sites at its October meeting. Sites mentioned have included an unused athletic field at Fox Tech High School downtown; Brooks City-Base on the southeast side of town; a UIW-owned facility on Datapoint Drive on the northwest side, which also houses Rosenberg School of Optometry; and 12 acres near Fort Sam Houston at Interstate 35 and North Walters Street.

Agnese has said developing the medical school would require a $50 million investment. Besides the optometry school, UIW has Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions, John and Rita Feik School of Pharmacy; and a school for physical therapy.

Osteopathic medicine is regarded as having a more holistic approach vs. M.D. programs seen as more science- or research-oriented. The only DO school in the state is at the University of North Texas’ Health Science Center in Fort Worth. Osteopathic medicine also has been regarded as more in keeping with UIW’s mission for the school founded by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, who also founded Christus Santa Rosa Health System.

 

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