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Fundraising well under way for School of Medicine-Wichita expansion

In less than four months, donors have contributed $2.7 million for expansion of the School of Medicine-Wichita. The lead gift of $800,000 was given by the Kansas Health Foundation.

The donations, to be used exclusively in Wichita, will enable the school to offer four years of medical education in Wichita and increase class sizes. Currently, the Wichita branch serves only students in their third and fourth years of medical education.

H. David Wilson, dean of the School of Medicine-Wichita, praised the Kansas Health Foundation for establishing momentum in the fundraising campaign.

“This transformational gift, along with the leadership gifts from visionaries in the medical and business community, pushes us more than halfway toward our goal of raising $5 million, which will cover the first four years of the expansion in Wichita,” Wilson said. “The medical expertise here and throughout the state will blossom because of the generosity of our donors. They can all rest assured knowing they helped change Wichita and Kansas for the better.”

The first four-year Wichita-based medical students will begin their studies in fall 2011. The expansion represents the School of Medicine’s plan to address the state’s shortage of physicians. Of the 105 counties in Kansas, 90 are medically underserved. The physician shortage affects five of six major geographic regions and is most critical in the southwest and southeast corners of the state. The problem is expected to worsen in the next decade as Kansas physicians, about a third of whom are 56 or older, begin to retire.

“The expansion of the KU School of Medicine-Wichita is a major step toward eliminating the physician shortage that has been present in Kansas for so long,” said Steve Coen, president and CEO of the Kansas Health Foundation. “We are honored to partner with the university on this expansion, as it contributes greatly to the foundation's mission to improve the health of all Kansans.”

Wilson said classrooms and offices for the expanded medical school will be housed in the new 30,000-square-foot addition that includes space for KU’s new Wichita-based pharmacy program.

“There are no plans to build any additional buildings for our expanded medical school program,” said Wilson.

The Kansas Health Foundation is a private philanthropy dedicated to improving the health of all Kansans. For more information about the Kansas Health Foundation, visit kansashealth.org.

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Carey Novak, director of business relations and development, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies
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