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Published: Monday, 12/27/2004

MCO, Owens' exciting idea

Occasionally, rigid conventions need to be broken. Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, the new president at the Medical College of Ohio, knows this and says that future doctors could one day start their medical training at Owens Community College and continue through MCO. It's a fascinating idea.

If the fast-growing community college and Toledo's medical college collaborate on such a plan, it could be a first. The details of such a venture - where Owens health students could transfer to MCO for a medical degree - would require approval from the Ohio Board of Regents and the state controlling board.

This may not happen soon, but it's worth examining, as the benefits could be widespread. That's exactly what Dr. Jacobs had in mind when he told Owens' board of trustees that he envisions the two schools in an articulation agreement. "We really want you " he said, adding that the community college could finally have a site in Lucas County if MCO builds it, or by renting classrooms or buying land from MCO "at a price you couldn't refuse."

Numerous details would have to be addressed, such as exactly how an Owens student with an associate's degree would get a baccalaureate before admission to MCO's School of Medicine. Another consideration is accelerating the process for students to obtain a medical degree. Students at the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine near Akron can graduate in six years. A program like that on this side of the state would give northern Ohio students an additional option.

This wouldn't be MCO and Owens' first collaborative effort. They work together on physical therapy and anatomy. To its credit, Owens is reaching out: It has asked the University of Toledo about teaching at the Scott Park campus. And like other two-year colleges, Owens graduates often go on to attend four-year colleges.

Implementing Dr. Jacobs' collaborative idea may take a while. But that shouldn't stop those with foresight from investigating, and investing in, the idea.

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