A new medical school planned for Clovis hopes to quell the boomerang effect. California Health Sciences University (CHSU) in Clovis announced plans to offer a degree in osteopathic medicine, with the goal of recruiting and retaining the next generation of Valley doctors.
The College of Osteopathic Medicine would expand CHSU’s current offering of its pharmacy college. The plan is to open the school in three years by the fall of 2019. In the long range, CHSU hopes to add at least 10 colleges. Currently located on Clovis Avenue, just north of Old Town Clovis, the school plans to expand on land at Temperance Avenue & Highway 168.
The boomerang effect is when Valley young adults leave the area to go to college and return later after graduating. With a new local medical school, the wish is that students stay local and serve communities in need.
“The Central Valley suffers from some of the most severe physician shortages in California and we are dedicated to improving the health and lives of the people of our community,” CHSU president Florence Dunn said in a news release.
A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) is similar to a Medical Degree (MD), but tends to focus on primary care which is a huge need in the Central Valley, says CHSU Provost Wendy Duncan. “The idea is that students who grow up here are much more likely to stay to look after their family and friends.”
A DO can still prescribe medicine and perform surgery. They also focus more on joint and body manipulation, Duncan adds.
The idea to open a medical school is winning praise from the Valley’s health community. “We are supportive of CHSU’s plans to expand access to physicians who have a desire to serve in rural communities,” Adventist Health CEO Wayne Ferch said in a news release. “We look forward to opportunities to work with CHSU toward our common goal of providing excellent health care to those we serve.”
City leaders are excited about the potential economic boom. “California Health Sciences University’s planned medical school will be an incredible asset for the community to build on,“ Clovis Mayor Nathan Magsig is quoted in a news release.
“A program like this has a huge economic impact in the Valley. We are thinking it could bring $200 million a year to the Central Valley,” Duncan says.
Duncan says she in the process of hiring a dean. She says a tuition rate has not been set, but she wants to keep things affordable. “We want to have a student population reflective of the Central Valley. Affordability is one of the hugest concerns.”
According to the American Osteopathic Association, the 2016-17 median tuition for private Osteopathic schools (as CHSU is organized) is $47,700 a year. For the two existing California schools, Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Vallejo charges $51,450; Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in Pomona charges $54,930.
Disclosure: CHSU is funded in part by the Assemi family, who also serve in leadership positions at Granville Homes, the corporate owner of GV Wire.