Mercy hospital in Missouri will be site of osteopathic medicine campus

March 2024

Mercy Hospital Jefferson in Festus, Missouri, will be the site of a regional campus of Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. The campus will open this summer with 12 students.


A regional campus of Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine will open this summer at Mercy Hospital Jefferson in Festus, Missouri.

The college, based in in Erie, Pennsylvania, chose Mercy Jefferson for its rural setting, the college and hospital said in a joint release. They noted that rural communities need support to sustain health care resources and rural health care facilities provide medical students who want to serve rural areas the chance to learn in the same setting.

"Medical students often grow to love the communities where they undergo their training. After all, they'll be here several years," said Dr. Michael Rowane, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine's associate dean of clinical education. "Frequently, once these students become doctors, they choose to stay in the community."

The campus in Festus will be Lake Erie's first in the Midwest. In addition to its flagship in Erie, the college has campuses in Greensburg, Pennsylvania; Bradenton, Florida; and Elmira, New York. The campuses have more than 4,400 students studying osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, dental medicine, podiatry, health services administration or biomedical sciences.

The college says it "consistently graduates more primary care physicians than any other U.S. medical college while maintaining one of the lowest tuitions of any private medical school in the country." About 70% of its osteopathic graduates go on to become primary care physicians, it says.

The first cohort of 12 medical students will arrive at Mercy Jefferson this summer, the release said. The regional campus will grow over the years to as many as 72 medical students. Mercy Jefferson will provide all clinical rotations and Mercy Jefferson clinicians will have the opportunity to serve as medical education faculty.

The campus will have an early acceptance program through which the college and Mercy will team with local high schools and colleges to identify potential medical school candidates and guide them in earning an advanced degree.

"Less than 7% of Jefferson Country residents have earned a master's degree or higher," said Dr. Karthik Iyer, Mercy Jefferson chief medical officer, who will serve as the college's regional dean. "We see a tremendous opportunity for us to grow that number by removing potential barriers and improving access to higher education."

Mercy, based in suburban St. Louis, has more than 50 acute and specialty hospitals in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.



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