University of Tulsa President Steadman Upham and University of Oklahoma President David Boren today announced a $30 million gift from The Oxley Foundation for the proposed Tulsa School of Community Medicine. This joint four-year community medical education program is being created to help address Oklahoma’s low health status, low health systems performance and physician shortage.
Initially, The Oxley Foundation will provide a $15 million dollar grant to provide start-up funding for personnel and operating expenses for the planned Tulsa School of Community Medicine. The Oxley Foundation has pledged an additional $15 million grant as a dollar-for-dollar challenge for contributions from others to the future Tulsa School of Community Medicine endowment. The match portion of The Oxley Foundation gift will be given to support the Tulsa School of Community Medicine on or before December 31, 2016.
“This is the largest commitment we have ever undertaken,” said R.H. Harbaugh, trustee of The Oxley Foundation. “The future Tulsa School of Community Medicine, and the partnership from which it was born, will make our community healthier, stronger, and a more attractive place for medical professionals to learn and live. This is a historic day for all Tulsans, and we are so pleased to be a part of it.”
TU has an established core of science education and research programs, and OU has an established medical training program in Tulsa focusing on residency training and the third and fourth years of clinical medical student education. The proposed new Tulsa School of Community Medicine will allow medical students to complete all four years in Tulsa. The first class of students in the future Tulsa School of Community Medicine is expected to start in the fall of 2015.
A steering committee comprised of representatives from both universities has been working since 2009 to create the infrastructure for the future Tulsa School of Community Medicine. Planning subcommittees have been meeting regularly and designing strategies for recruitment, admissions, curriculum, student support, services, faculty development, facilities and accreditation.
TU purchased the Hartford Building at 111 S. Greenwood Ave. earlier this year. It is the planned home for the Tulsa School of Community Medicine and will house faculty from both universities.
“This gift represents an unqualified validation of years of hard work to address the many health challenges in our region in a very systemic, educationally-based manner,” said Steadman Upham, president of The University of Tulsa. “Our vision is a shared vision for a better Tulsa. We are incredibly honored that The Oxley Foundation has partnered with TU and OU in such a profound way.”
The program will build upon the concept of a School of Community Medicine, which was established at OU-Tulsa in February 2008 with a $50 million dollar gift from the George Kaiser Family Foundation, with emphasis on helping those Oklahomans most in need of medical care. The curriculum, designed and supported by TU and OU faculty, will focus on priorities such as improving the health of entire communities, improvement in public health disparities, recruitment of students with altruistic goals, health systems improvement and interdisciplinary work.
“This generous gift from The Oxley Foundation provides critical forward momentum toward the establishment of the joint University of Tulsa – University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine,” said OU President David L. Boren. “We are deeply grateful to the Oxley family for making this gift and for their strong desire to provide medical care for underserved areas in Tulsa and eastern Oklahoma.”
Five years ago, the two universities partnered together to offer a Master of Health Sciences in Physician Assistant Studies through the OU School of Community Medicine. Physician assistants are health care professionals authorized to practice under the supervision of licensed physicians, and the field is one of the fastest growing professions in the country.
“Oklahoma’s poor health statistics speak for themselves and our communities are suffering because of it,” said Gerard P. Clancy, M.D., OU-Tulsa president. “This gift is a great example of a public-private partnership from an institutional and funding perspective. This outstanding support from The Oxley Foundation will allow us to realize this vision of the proposed Tulsa School of Community Medicine, where we can train physicians to treat the whole community and not just the symptoms of disease. This will truly make a difference in the lives of countless Oklahomans.”
About The University of Tulsa
The University of Tulsa, ranked 75th among national research universities by U.S. News & World Report, provides educational opportunities to more than 4,200 undergraduate and graduate students in the colleges of arts and sciences, business, engineering and natural sciences, and law. Students from across the nation and more than 60 countries enjoy TU’s personalized attention, small class sizes and low student-faculty ratio. For more information, visit www.utulsa.edu.
About The University of Oklahoma-Tulsa
The University of Oklahoma Schusterman Center is home to all OU programs in Tulsa. Located at 41st and Yale, the Schusterman Center enhances OU’s presence in the community and expands educational, research and patient care programs for the community. The OU-Tulsa Schusterman Center currently offers six bachelor’s degree completion programs, 14 master’s programs, doctoral programs in medicine, nursing, physical therapy, education, engineering, and pharmacy as well as nine residency programs in medicine. For more information about OU-Tulsa, call 660-3000 or visit http://tulsa.ou.edu.