- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 22, 2015

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - Organizers of an effort to establish a medical school in Joplin say the project needs another $15 million within a year in order to open in 2017.

The Joplin Globe reports (https://bit.ly/1K4ugiQ ) that leaders of the project updated officials Tuesday on work to open a Joplin campus of the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. Rudy Farber, finance committee chairman for the medical school alliance, said $30 million is needed to open the school in 2017, and $15 million has been donated or pledged.

He noted the medical school is expected to have a $100 million annual impact on the region. And if Joplin wanted to start a medical school up without resources from the Kansas City school’s help, it would have had to raise $100 million.

According to Rob O’Brian, president of the Joplin Area of Chamber of Commerce and secretary of the Regional Medical School Alliance, a nonprofit organization founded in 2010 to bring and support a medical school in Joplin, Freeman Health System and Mercy Hospital are key supporters of the new medical school.

Mercy Hospital Joplin has pledged its component hospital at the site for the new medical school.

Paula Baker, president and chief executive officer of Freeman, says the medical school is needed because the American Association of Medical Colleges predicts a shortage of 46,000 to 96,000 doctors by the year 2025 in primary and specialty care.

“These projected shortages pose a real risk to patients and needs to be addressed now because it takes five to 10 years to train a doctor.”

Baker says the shortages would be more acute in rural areas like Joplin.

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Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, https://www.joplinglobe.com

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