Oakland University and Royal Oak-based William Beaumont Hospitals have raised $25 million in donations to launch their joint medical school in fall 2010, leaders of both institutions announced Thursday.

The Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine will open with an inaugural class of 50 students, presuming it obtains accreditation from the Liaison Committee for Medical Education sometime next year.

Beaumont and OU also announced the appointment of Robert Folberg, currently professor and department head of pathology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, as the school’s first dean.

Gary Russi, president of OU, estimated that “about 25” private and corporate donors have committed the first $25 million toward the $100 million in operating costs needed before the institution can fully fund itself through tuition and other sources. Russi estimates the institutions will need another $100 million or more, in addition to the operating costs, for two construction projects — an instructional building at the OU campus, and a clinical building devoted to medical education at Beaumont’s main medical campus in Royal Oak.

“But with the $25 million we already have in place, there’s enough to get it going,” Russi said.The medical degree program at OU-Beaumont could help change the mix of local doctors and turn more Michigan residents into medical professionals, according to OU Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Virinder Moudgil, and John Musich, vice president and director of medical education programs at Beaumont.

More than 70 percent of students who graduate from OU’s current pre-med programs and apply to medical schools elsewhere are successful, though many end up enrolling out of state.

At the same time, Musich noted, less than 50 percent of any given class admitted to the University of Michigan’s medical school are in-state residents.Moudgil said the university cannot legally give preferential admission treatment to its own pre-med students, but he hopes to see the university help pre-med students prepare for the OU-William Beaumont program.

Moudgil said the university will apply for its LCME accreditation sometime later this year and hopes to obtain at least a probationary approval by 2009, allowing the school to begin recruiting students.


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