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CMU College of Medicine awarded $297,000 technology grant

Video conferencing key for medical students' 6-month clerkships

Contact: CMU News

Interactive video will ensure Central Michigan University College of Medicine students remain in touch with faculty, staff and each other while they complete clerkships in remote rural and underserved locations across the state.

A grant of $297,671 was awarded to the College of Medicine as part of the United States Department of Agriculture Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant program. It will play a key role in the Comprehensive Community Clerkship program for third-year medical students.

The CCC program places students with physician mentors for six months in rural and underserved clinics and hospitals in Michigan for a firsthand view of medical care and patient-doctor relationships as they present cases and participate in simulations. The CMU College of Medicine was founded with a mission to provide quality physicians in underserved areas of the state and region.

“We need to be able to virtually connect these multiple regions throughout Michigan in real time,” said John Rathje, assistant dean of technology. “This grant allows us to continue to deliver educational content as well as allow students to share the clinical experiences with each other.”

Rathje worked with Dr. Steven Vance, associate dean for the distributed campus in the College of Medicine, to secure the grant.

The grant is a slice of the $10 million in 65 grants the USDA awarded nationally to improve access to health care in rural areas. The grant program has been in place since 1994, and the annual awards range from $50,000 to $500,000.

The CMU College of Medicine is the nation’s 137th medical school, created to address an anticipated shortage of 4,000 to 6,000 physicians in Michigan by 2020.

Students spend their first two years of study on CMU’s main campus in a state-of-the-art 60,000-square-foot facility. The third and fourth years will be spent in clinical training at a number of medical facilities across central and northern Michigan, including Covenant HealthCare and St. Mary’s of Michigan in Saginaw.

A $25 million, 46,000-square-foot College of Medicine educational facility is under construction on the Covenant HealthCare campus in Saginaw. Construction will be complete by May 2015, in time for the inaugural students’ third year of study. In September, the CMU Board of Trustees approved a $12 million construction/renovation plan on the St. Mary’s of Michigan campus to provide more clinical space.

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