Campbell University breaks ground on $300M medical school
Posted December 8, 2011
Buies Creek, N.C. — For the first time in more than 35 years, North Carolina is getting a new medical school. Campbell University broke ground on the School of Osteopathic Medicine, which is expected to open in 2013. The $300 million project is expected to create 1,158 jobs during its first 10 years.
Campbell’s efforts to launch a medical school will address the growing shortage of physicians in North Carolina, according to Dr. John Kauffman, the school’s founding dean.
“Our state currently ranks 35th out of 50 in primary care physicians,” he said. “There are 20 counties without a single general surgeon and at least that many without an obstetrician. The future, however, is bright.”
Kauffman said Campbell’s medical school will eventually graduate about 200 physicians and physician assistants each year, many of whom will practice in rural, under-served regions of the state.
Students will spend their first two years training at the new facility in Buies Creek and years three and four training at community hospitals, where he expects many will live and put down roots.
The primary focus of the school will be training for primary care and family medicine, general surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry and other services, with an emphasis on rural areas or regions with little or no health care options.
That focus is important to Tim McNeill, chairman of the Harnett County Board of Commissioners. McNeill fought back tears Thursday when talking about the school’s potential impact.
“It’s hard to believe there are still people in North Carolina who have to travel 80 miles to see a doctor,” he said. “This is what many are dealing with, especially in the eastern portion of the state. This school, I believe, will alleviate this. This is truly the Lord’s work.”
He was equally emotional talking about the school’s immediate boost to Harnett County, which will also see a new 50-bed hospital open in Lillington in 2012.
At Thursday’s ceremony, Campbell also announced the name of its medical facility, the Leon Levine Medical Sciences Center, named for the Charlotte-area philanthropist and member of the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame.