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New medical school impacts southern Colorado health care

New Medicine School Impacts Southern Colorado Health Care

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Educators with the University of Colorado School of Medicine and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs spoke on Tuesday about the benefits of a new branch of the School of Medicine coming to Colorado Springs.

The local branch of the school of medicine was part of the deal voters approved of in August that solidified a 40-year partnership between Memorial hospital and University of Colorado Health. University of Colorado Health said it would provide $3 million a year for 40 years for a branch of the CU School of Medicine in Colorado Springs.

The branch will have offices and classrooms in the UCCS's new Lane Center. The center is currently under construction on North Nevada.

UCCS's Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak said she met with local leaders a few years ago and compared Colorado Springs to similar-sized cities. The group noticied Colorado Springs was missing a school of medicine branch.

"Having a branch medical campus was one of those components of a really healthy and vigorous economy, as well as a health-conscious community and we didn't have that," said Shockley-Zalabak.

The branch will host third- and fourth-year medical students. The students will be completing the clinical part of their studies, so they will be working with physicians around the community, not just Memorial Hospital.

Shockley-Zalaback estimateD the medical students will generate several million dollars in the community every year.

Shockley-Zalaback and Dr. Richard Krugman, Dean of the School of Medicine, said this will impact health care in Southern Colorado. Shockley-Zalaback said it will bring in more research studies to this area, a health care component currently missing in Colorado Springs.

Dr. Krugman said there are studies that show that students are more likely to return to the place they studied for work, so Southern Colorado could see an increase in physicians looking for jobs. He also said practicing physicans are attracted to areas with medical schools.

Shockley-Zalaback is excited about the benefit this will have on UCCS. She said it will generate an educational atmosphere where students and teachers will work more closely with health care professionals. She said it will generate interest in UCCS.

"I do know that we will be attracting people who want to have part of their education in this community and that's good," said Shockley-Zalabak.

The first class of medical students is expected to start in 2016.

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