Marist and Health Quest plan Poughkeepsie medical school

A new partnership announced today would train medical doctors in Poughkeepsie.

The program, a collaboration between Marist College and Health Quest, would begin in 2022 and be the only MD-granting medical school between Westchester and Albany.

Plans call for the construction of a 100,000-sq-ft new building on the Vassar Bros. Hospital campus. There will be more than 100 full-time employees at the medical school, with numerous additional part-time positions. Instruction would take place at the new building and at Marist.

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Announcing plans today, college and hospital administrators pointed to the growing need for doctors and the benefits of having a teaching hospital for local healthcare and the economy.

Upon graduation, many of these highly educated professionals and their families will remain here to be part of an academic medical center, which will strengthen the quality of healthcare in the area,” said Health Quest President and CEO Robert Friedberg. “This will also create high-paying jobs and provide local residents with greater access to top-quality healthcare professionals close to home.”

The upgrade would address the perception that one needs to travel out of the area to receive top-tier healthcare.

“Due to the highly accomplished physician faculty attracted to academic medical centers, consumers looking to make healthcare decisions often remain in their market rather than traveling to larger cities,” stated a release accompanying the announcement.

According to a study by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the U.S. may fall more than 100,000 physicians short of its projected need by 2030.

“This region needs more doctors,” said Greg Rakow, chairman of the Health Quest board of trustees. “The population is getting older and many of our existing primary care physicians and specialists are nearing retirement age. The medical school will train a new generation of providers who will make this their home and workplace and pave the way for future generations.”

David Yellen, President of Marist College, speaking earlier today. (Photo by Carlo de Jesus/Marist College)

The institutions believe the partnership will raise the prestige of both, attracting high-caliber students, faculty and physicians. There are 151 MD-granting schools of medicine in the U.S., with the nearest being Albany Medical College and New York Medical College in Valhalla.

Marist currently has physician assistant and doctor of physical therapy programs. “Embarking on a medical school is a natural next step for the college,” said Marist College President David Yellen.

The School of Medicine will seek approvals from the national accrediting body for medical education programs – the Liaison Committee on Medical Education – as well as the New York State Education Department and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. A search for the School of Medicine’s founding dean and dedicated faculty will begin immediately. Once fully staffed and accredited (plans call for that to be accomplished by July 2021), the School of Medicine will begin actively recruiting students, with the first class of 60 matriculating in July 2022. By 2028, that class size is projected to increase to 120.

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