THIS is what we've been waiting for....now we can accept students for the Fall 2009 class. "Preliminary" approval from the board that accredits med schools is standard procedure. The board does not confer full approval until the first class graduates.
Medical college takes a big step
BY SARAH HOFIUS HALL
Published: Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Updated: Tuesday, October 7, 2008 4:18 AM EDT
Commonwealth Medical College became the nation’s newest medical school Monday.
In what officials called the most “significant milestone” in the school’s development, administrators have learned the school has received preliminary accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, and can now start accepting applications for the fall 2009 semester.
“This is a gigantic step. This is so important and so meaningful,” said Robert D’Alessandri, M.D., Commonwealth’s dean. “It really is a momentous occasion.”
Dr. D’Alessandri said the news late Monday afternoon was met with “great joy” and “great happiness” among the school’s 70 full-time employees.
The economic and social impact of the college will now start to be realized, officials said.
State Sen. Robert Mellow, D- 22, who has worked to make the college a reality, said he was “elated.”
“It’s probably the largest development ever in the history of Northeast Pennsylvania and north-central Pennsylvania,” Mr. Mellow said.
Robert Wright, M.D., chair of the college’s board of directors, said he expects a growth of medical practices in the area, in part because preference for admissions will be given to students from this region.
“The impact of this is going to be astounding,” Dr. Wright said. “This is the right place, the right time, the right thing.”
Officials have already secured the $120 million necessary to build and equip the school’s Scranton headquarters. The school was given degree-granting authority from the Pennsylvania Department of Education in July, and was only waiting for the accreditation.
The school broke ground on its Medical Sciences Building on Pine Street in August, and is now located inside Lackawanna College.
Sixty students will be accepted in the doctor of medicine program in the first year, and 30 students will be accepted for the master in biomedical sciences. The admissions department will be able to start reviewing applications in three to seven days, Dr. Wright said.
The preliminary accreditation is the first step in overall accreditation, which certifies that an allopathic school’s doctor of medicine degree meets national standards and allows the school to begin operations.
Official accreditation can be granted during the fourth year of a school’s first medical class, and requires additional steps and a second visit from the accrediting agency.
Accreditation is required for schools to receive federal grants, and students must attend an accredited school to be eligible to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination.
Professors and administrators will now work on finalizing curriculum and securing equipment, Dr. D’Alessandri said.
“There’s really quite a lot to do,” he said, adding that the first medical students will arrive in 298 days.
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