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First take/ISU med

I probably wasn’t alone in misreading the new from last week about the planned new osteopathic medical school at Idaho State University (in its Meridian campus operations). I thought, more or less, it was an ISU operation, period.

Not exactly.

Boise Weekly has put a spotlight on that, starting with a quote from a state Department of Commerce spokesman that “The investors are both the Rice University Foundation, and a group of private family investors, with one of the predominant families being the Burrell family.”

Investors in a state college? Again, not exactly: This won’t be a state college at all. Rather, Idaho State University would simply have an affiliation with the new osteopathic teaching facility. Rice University and several private investors figure the Intermountain West is underserved in medical education (which is probably is) and there’s some profit to be made in launching another teaching school. This one follows up on a similar effort in New Mexico.

ISU President Arthur Vailas said that “The opportunity for our health care programs to work very closely with the faculty physicians and physicians of our both rural and metropolitan areas. And, as you know, ISU has about 12 to 15 clinics throughout the state in very remote areas, treating Idahoans. And, we need to do a bigger and better job, and having this partnership gives us that ability to do so.”

Maybe so. Of Idaho’s major higher education institutions, ISU, which has teaching and pharmacy operations, is the one most aligned to medical education, and the one most logically linked to new medical operations by way of some kind of agreement. The deal looks, on its face, reasonable enough; we’ll see how it goes in time. But bear in mind what this school is and isn’t as it moves ahead. – rs

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