The expansion of the Kansas University School of Medicine to Salina represents an exciting new model for medical education-a model designed to produce more physicians for Kansas and particularly rural Kansas. Traditionally, medical schools have been established in major metropolitan areas, with large class sizes and a large and diverse science faculty delivering the first two years of the curriculum. Salina will be different! Our campus is located in a community of 50,000 people in north central Kansas. Each class will be limited to eight students, and much of the basic science instruction will be delivered by interactive televideo presentations or by podcasts from the main campus in Kansas City, Kan.. Anatomy and histopathology labs, clinical skills labs, problem-based learning sessions and small group meetings will be conducted in Salina and led by Salina faculty. Salina students will receive extraordinary attention because of the small class size. In addition, their basic science instruction will be enriched by ample clinical experiences.
During the third and fourth years of medical school - the clinical years -- students will work with a talented group of experienced physicians, representing the major disciplines in medicine, in Salina and the surrounding communities. Students will witness the quality of care being delivered in rural Kansas and the quality of life afforded by living in these communities.
We hope these experiences will produce well-trained physicians who want to return to practice in similar rural communities in Kansas after they've completed medical school and post-graduate training. If our new model is successful, it could become a template for other states needing to address physician shortages, especially in rural areas.
William Cathcart-Rake, MD
Director, KU School of Medicine-Salina