University of Toledo medical school gains ally


The University of Toledo has completed an agreement with a Michigan health system that will provide more opportunities for its medical students.

The agreement with Saint Joseph Mercy Health System allows UT not only spots for growing classes of medical students but also future expansion in areas including nursing and pharmacy, said Dr. Jeffrey Gold, dean of UT's college of medicine and executive vice president and provost for health affairs.

The former Medical College of Ohio has had about a half dozen students in the Saint Joseph system for about a year, and the formalized agreement will help expand the relationship, Dr. Gold said. It also sets the stage for collaborative clinical research, joint faculty appointments, and more, he said.

"It is a much more global agreement," Dr. Gold said.

A medical class that numbered about 145 students several years ago is now up to 175 students, and the number is expected to continue to increase, Dr. Gold said.

UT needs more hospitals for clinical education for students in their third and fourth years, he said.

The university will retain its relationship with local institutions, including ProMedica Health System, Mercy Health Partners, and St. Luke's Hospital.

Dr. Bruce Deighton, chief academic affairs officer for Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, said UT as an academic partner will help the system develop its graduate medical education program, specifically at St. Mary Mercy Hospital in Livonia, Mich.

The health system of six hospitals also has agreements with the University of Michigan and Wayne State University.

It's beneficial for a hospital to have relationships with universities because there are more doctors in the field and there is constant questioning and attention to quality, Dr. Deighton said.

And it's a great recruiting tool for the hospitals, he added.

"Down the road, of course, what we're wanting to do is grow the doctors on staff," he said.

A U.S. physician shortage of up to 200,000 is predicted by 2020, and relationships between medical schools and hospitals can help retain medical talent in this area, Dr. Deighton said.

Dr. Gold said that UT has been crossing the border for years and this is another move to blur the line between Ohio and Michigan and work together as a region to retain physicians.

"If they stay here for their residency program, they have a high chance to stay here," Dr. Gold said.

- Meghan Gilbert