UNC School of Medicine - Expands to Charlotte

A major highlight for educational programming during 2010 was Carolinas Medical Center's designation as the “Charlotte Campus” of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

The goal of this initiative is to address several issues, including a looming physician shortage in North Carolina that is expected to be particularly acute in rural areas.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), virtually every state in the country will likely experience an acute shortage of physicians in the not-too-distant future. AAMC's projections originally pointed to a national shortage of about 40,000 doctors nationally by 2015. However, current estimates place that number at closer to 60,000, as a result of federal legislation that is expected to put millions of newly insured individuals in the market for healthcare services in coming years.

Dr. William Roper, Dean of the UNC School of Medicine, said the creation of regional campuses “is part of a strategy to not only increase the number of physicians overall, but to encourage graduates to practice in small towns and rural areas.”

Dr. Roper said he was pleased to partner with Carolinas HealthCare System, because its large network of hospitals – with a footprint throughout the Carolinas – will provide students with added exposure to career opportunities in previously underserved communities.

Michael C. Tarwater, CEO at CHS, said the new partnership will also help Carolinas HealthCare advance its own mission, which includes not only comprehensive healthcare services but leadership in medical education and research.

Dr. James McDeavitt, Chief Academic Officer for CHS, noted at the time of the October announcement that CMC has been providing educational support to thirdand fourth-year UNC medical students for more than 40 years. UNC students serve clinical rotations at CMC in a wide variety of medical specialties as part of their overall training.

Dr. McDeavitt noted also that the program had recently been upgraded to include 10 third-year students and 12 fourth-year students training at CMC on a full-time basis.

The UNC Board of Governors has formally approved a $450 million plan for medical school expansion, with $62 million allocated for a new building in Charlotte. The plan envisions a full complement of 50 third-year and 50 fourthyear students in Charlotte. Until that plan is funded by the state legislature, however, growth will continue on an incremental basis.

As 2010 drew to a close work began on a multi-million CHS-funded project to renovate the Medical Education Building. Those renovations will provide new administrative space, as well as a lounge and expanded library facilities for UNC students. CMC also plans to ramp up student enrollment over the next few years to accommodate several dozen fulltime

Dr. McDeavitt said CMC “would do everything possible to provide UNC medical students with educational opportunities that are second to none.” He added, “We appreciate the trust that the UNC School of Medicine and the people of North Carolina have placed in our physicians and facilities.”