A new partnership will give some Western Kentucky University students a direct path to medical school without having to leave Warren County.
Ground was broken Tuesday next to the Bowling Green-based Medical Center for a four-year regional medical school through the University of Kentucky.
Dr. Don Brown will be the Assistant Dean of the UK College of Medicine at the Bowling Green campus. He says the hope is to alleviate a physician shortage in Kentucky.
"There's studies that show if you do a residency in a state, you're more likely to stay in that state," Brown told WKU Public Radio. "We believe if you do undergraduate here, then medical school, and a residency, the chances are very good that you'll stay in the state."
The building that will house the medical school is scheduled for completion next summer in time for the first class of medical students in the fall of 2018.
The Bowling Green campus will utilize the same curriculum and assessments as UK’s main campus. Some UK faculty will work on-site while others will use technology to lecture from Lexington. Clinical experiences will take place at the Medical Center in Bowling Green and surrounding community practices.
UK President Eli Capilouto sees the partnership as a solution to one of the biggest problems in healthcare.
"Kentucky needs more physicians," state Capilouto. "We're 36th in the nation in the number of active physicians and 40th in the nation in the number of active primary care physicians."
UK has announced a similar partnership between Morehead State University, St. Clair Regional Medical Center, and King's Daughters Medical Center. UK says the regional partners are essential as the school’s medical program has reached its capacity in Lexington.