West Penn Allegheny Medical School in Works

By Erdley, Debra | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 15, 2011 | Go to article overview

West Penn Allegheny Medical School in Works


Erdley, Debra, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


West Penn Allegheny Health System's plan to start a four-year medical school will succeed this year, CEO Christopher Olivia says.

"Later in the spring, we will formally announce the formation of our new medical school in Western Pennsylvania," Olivia told employees in a Jan. 7 letter the Tribune-Review obtained.

West Penn Allegheny officials have been working to expand to a full medical school for nearly a decade, talking with various schools along the way.

The health system's announcement occurs amid warnings from the American Association of Medical Colleges that the United States must begin educating more doctors to meet the demands that will be created as more and more physicians retire at the same time that an aging population of baby boomers will be demanding more care. The organization recommended schools begin graduating at least 5,000 more doctors a year to meet demands.

West Penn Allegheny, the region's No. 2 health system, is trying to reinvent itself after losing $89.9 million in fiscal year 2010. The struggling system is moving key services to Allegheny General Hospital in the North Side and placing emphasis on care delivered outside its hospitals.

The medical school would be Pittsburgh's second, in addition to the University of Pittsburgh's.

Two more schools to educate physicians have opened over the past two years in Pennsylvania: Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton and a branch campus of the Lake Erie School of Osteopathic Medicine at Seton Hill University in Greensburg. …

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