Construction is well underway on the Samaritan Health Sciences Campus and the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP) Northwest in Lebanon, the first new medical school to be built in the state of Oregon in more than a century.
More than 300 attended the groundbreaking in June 2009 that celebrated the unique partnership between Samaritan Health Services (SHS) and Pomona-based Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU). Since then, the campus has exploded from the ground up.
After Samaritan completes construction of the 54,000 square foot facility, they will then lease the building to WesternU over the next 20 years.
"The exterior of the building is expected to be complete by October 2010, well ahead of the previously anticipated June 2011 deadline," said Lyle Hutchens, project manager from Devco Engineering in Corvallis who is in charge of overseeing campus construction.
One hundred first-year medical students are expected to begin classes at COMP Northwest in August, 2011, followed by an additional 100 students for each of the subsequent three years.
The school is part of the 54-acre health sciences campus near Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital. As the campus continues to develop, it will offer a variety of programs for other health professions in addition to a hotel and conference center, retail complex and support services including a branch of Central Willamette Community Credit Union.
In addition to osteopathic medicine, other programs under consideration for the campus include nursing, physical therapy, paramedic training and other health-related professions. The health sciences campus represents the next step in a growing partnership between SHS and WesternU.
Helping to create significant economic development in the community, COMP Northwest and the partnership between SHS and WesternU "will serve our communities well," said Larry Mullins, president and CEO of Samaritan Health Services.
"There is a strong link between where physicians do their training and where they end up practicing medicine, so we believe these steps will greatly strengthen our ability to recruit and retain outstanding physicians to the area," Mullins said. "Most of the medical students here now are from the Pacific Northwest. Now we have residency programs which enable these new physicians to complete their training and stay in this area after medical school."
Mullins said SHS will also continue to pursue medical education opportunities in partnership with Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), Oregon State University (OSU) and other higher education institutions.
SHS currently offers educational experiences to more than 900 students annually at its various locations, including the Health Career and Training Center
at Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital. The center provides classroom and laboratory space for a number of health occupations in conjunction with Linn-Benton Community College.