Grand Valley, MSU partner to help solve physician shortage

GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Valley State and Michigan State university officials signed an agreement Monday, granting GVSU pre-medical students early assurance of admission into MSU’s osteopathic medical school.

The partnership is expected to help solve a physician shortage and fill gaps in the talent pipeline.

Maria Cimitile, provost and executive vice president for Academic and Student Affairs for Grand Valley, said more than a third of the university’s 25,000 students are being educated in health care fields.

“We are very happy to offer this opportunity to gain early entry into MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine to our students, but equally happy to help provide our communities with the health care expertise that our two great institutions offer,” she said.

Jean Nagelkerk, vice provost for health for Grand Valley, said the program targets students interested in practicing in Michigan, those planning to pursue a specialty in a physician shortage area, first-generation college students, rural and urban high school graduates, and those eligible for a federal Pell grant.

“This is important because it gives the students an opportunity in their freshman year to start getting those experiences that they need to start preparing for an application (medical school),” she said.

“The pre-medical students will get additional mentoring, advising, opportunities to do research, and opportunities to engage in clinical experiences.”

June Youatt, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs for Michigan State University, said she is pleased that MSU and Grand Valley could work collaboratively on the physician shortage that appears to be “pretty significant,” especially in and aging Michigan.

Qualified students can apply to the MSU’s College of Medicine program in early February for admission in 2020, GVSU officials say. The College of Osteopathic Medicine works to prepare students to pursue careers in numerous medical specialties.

Andrea Amalfitano, D.O., an interim dean of of MSU’s College Osteopathic Medicine, said this year Grand Valley was the fourth highest feeder university for their college. He said they welcomed 16 students into their Class of 2022.

“This is a testament to the strength of their education,” he said, noting they had 5,800 applicants for the college’s slots this year.

“They are not only book smart, they are people smart and that’s what we look for. “We don’t just treat symptoms, we treat people, and we want to prevent disease, not just treat disease.”

Nagelkerk said the agreement serves as one example of how public higher education institutions collaborate to meet the health care talent needs of residents in the state, so that Michigan has the best possible quality of health care for its citizens and communities.

“It also assists in addressing the expected shortage of positions that seems to be looming by filling a critical need in the health care talent pipeline,” she said.

The agreement reserves up to five positions for GVSU students per year., according to GVSU.

Under the agreement, MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine agreed to waive supplemental application fees for GVSU students who qualify and provide them with opportunities to network with medical students, faculty and staff members.

The signing was held at GVSU’s new $37.5 million Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall, located at 500 Lafayette Ave., which opened in May. The university is expanding its health campus to accommodate student demand.

Finklestein is a five-story, 84,000-square-foot building that includes classroom, laboratory and office space to support the College of Health Professions and Kirkhof College of Nursing.