New med school could bring 400 residency slots

Dennis Domrzalski, Reporter- Albuquerque Business First

The Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine to be built on the campus of New Mexico State University hopes to open up to 400 new residency slots for medical school students in the next 10 years, the school’s CEO said Monday.

Those slots are essential to increasing the supply of doctors in New Mexico because medical school graduates can’t practice medicine without first going through a residency program. And some of those slots could be at Lovelace Health System’s hospitals in Albuquerque.

“We will soon be signing and executing a clinical affiliation agreement with Lovelace,” BCOM CEO John Hummer told Albuquerque Business First. “Our goal in 10 years is between 350 to 400 [residency] positions. It is doable. We will be working aggressively in a very positive way to open up training programs in communities throughout New Mexico.”

BCOM has clinical affiliation agreements for residency and training slots with at least nine hospitals in New Mexico and Texas, and it hopes to broaden that to more of Texas and to Arizona, Hummer said.

Dr. John Cruickshank, CEO of Lovelace Medical Group and Chief Medical Officer of Lovelace Health System, said Lovelace has clinical affiliation agreements with a number of medical schools. He said the agreement with BCOM is “a first baby step” to going forward and opening up residency slots.

“We will be looking to execute a similar agreement with them [BCOM],” Cruickshank said, adding that creating more residency slots is crucial to increasing the supply of doctors.

“It’s critically important if you are going to increase the number of physicians you are going to train within the state. We are going to analyze it and do all the discovery work to see what it would entail,” Cruickshank added.

Hummer, who has been the point man in getting the new medical school started, said the decision was made to go with a new school instead of opening a branch of an existing osteopathic medical school.

Opening a branch of a school that, say, has been in existence for 100 years would have meant following the 100-year-old culture of that school, regardless of how innovative it was or wasn’t, Hummer said.

“A brand-new school allows for opportunity and innovation and the ability to teach medical students about the current [state of] and the future of medicine,” he said.

Albuquerque Business First

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