Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Community celebrates expansion of KU Wichita Campus

WICHITA, KAN. – The University of Kansas, along with state, university, and local leaders, will celebrate the expansion of the KU School of Medicine and the KU School of Pharmacy on the Wichita Campus at a dedication ceremony from 4 to 6 p.m., Sept. 15, at 1010 N. Kansas.

The ceremony will highlight the new first-year classes in both schools, as well as recognize those who helped establish and expand the university’s Wichita Campus as KU works to meet the needs of the state.

“There is a serious shortage of doctors and pharmacists in Kansas, particularly in rural areas. Through this expansion of our presence in Wichita, KU will help close those gaps,” said KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, PhD. “We’ve received tremendous support from state and local leaders, and those partnerships will benefit Kansans and build healthy communities around the state."

Ninety of 105 Kansas counties are medically underserved. In addition, six Kansas counties have no pharmacy and another 30 have only one.

“For almost 40 years, we’ve provided hands-on, clinical training for third- and fourth-year medical students in Wichita,” said KU School of Medicine–Wichita Dean H. David Wilson, MD. “KU will now be educating even more doctors for Kansas by expanding the total class size with an expansion here in Wichita, and the medical community couldn’t be happier.”

The School of Medicine–Wichita is collaborating with the School of Pharmacy, Wichita State University, and Newman University to share resources, including a cadaver lab and several faculty members to avoid duplication and increase efficiency. By 2015, the KU Wichita Campus is projected to have an $80 million annual economic impact on the Wichita area.

The first four years of the KU School of Medicine–Wichita expansion are being funded by tuition and philanthropy. The expansion of the School of Pharmacy was made possible thanks to support from the state, which also included the construction of a new building in Lawrence.

“The expansion to Wichita and the new building in Lawrence allowed us to increase the number of incoming pharmacy students from 105 two years ago to 170 this year,” said KU School of Pharmacy Dean Ken Audus, PhD. “We’re confident that investment will pay dividends to the people of Kansas for generations to come.”

“Our Wichita Campus has been extremely successful, serving as a model for other medical schools nationwide. Thanks to our community partners and so many gracious donors, we have been able to build on this success,” said Barbara Atkinson, MD, KU Medical Center executive vice chancellor and KU School of Medicine executive dean. “Our goal of having a full, four-year medical school campus in Wichita is now a reality.”

Construction was completed in May for the 26,047-square-foot, second-floor addition designed by GLMV Architecture and constructed by Walz Harmon Huffman Construction and Hahner Foreman & Harness Inc.

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