LECOM announces plans to open a new campus at Jacksonville University
LECOM will pursue national accreditation and plans to begin construction on the new facility in 2024
The first class of medical students will begin coursework in 2026
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) today announced a new partnership with Jacksonville University to create a four-year medical school in Northeast Florida that will become LECOM at Jacksonville University.
LECOM President and CEO John Ferretti, DO, stated, “Since our founding 30 years ago, LECOM has been committed to meeting the need for highly qualified physicians in the markets we serve and across the country. Partnering with Jacksonville University to create our fifth campus will train physicians and skilled health professionals to serve Northeast Florida and beyond.”
The medical school will be supported by long-term clinical agreements with the region’s leading healthcare providers, including Baptist Health, Flagler Health+ and AdventHealth.
“Jacksonville has become a world-renowned health center and will now be expanded with a four-year medical school that can provide a pipeline of talented physicians to meet the health care needs of a growing population,” said Jacksonville University President Tim Cost. “Jacksonville University is honored to partner with LECOM and our outstanding hospital partners to create the nation’s largest medical college in Northeast Florida. We believe that this will help bring our region to a leading position in the global healthcare system.”
Founded in 1992, LECOM is a leader in innovative, student-centered medical education, producing more primary care physicians than any other US medical school, recognized US News and World Report. LECOM also offers the lowest tuition among US private medical schools.
On October 12, 2022, LECOM officially submitted a formal application to the industry’s governing accreditation body, the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation, to establish its fifth campus, “LECOM at Jacksonville University.” The medical school plans to enroll its first class of approximately 75 medical students in the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) program in 2026, with the total enrollment growing to nearly 150 students per year within five years.
To support this expansion, LECOM plans to build its new educational facility at Jacksonville University Medical Center, an expanding multipurpose healthcare plaza located at the north end of the Arlington campus along University Boulevard North. In addition to the upcoming LECOM facility, the site is home to the university’s 104,000-square-foot Health Sciences Complex and the School of Orthodontics’ teaching clinic; Jacksonville University Occupational Therapy Training Center for Advanced Clinical Training; and Dolphin Pointe Health Care’s 146-bed skilled nursing facility and rehabilitation facility.
“With the addition of LECOM at Jacksonville University, we expect to become a thriving home for medical students, faculty and staff, all of whom will need a place to study, live, eat and socialize that will drive economic growth in the surrounding area,” said President Cost. “Using our network of community connections, Jacksonville University plans to play a central role in attracting private investment to build supportive housing, restaurants and other businesses and amenities for this growing area.”
As official LECOM clinical education partners at Jacksonville University, Baptist Health, Flagler Health+ and AdventHealth will host 3rd and 4th year medical students to train at their regional facilities. Additional clinical partners include Island Doctors, Wekiva Springs Center and Angel Kids Pediatrics.
“Baptist Health combines a long-term commitment to providing quality, comprehensive care at every stage of life with a vision for lifelong health,” said Michael A. Mayo, DHA, FACHE, president and chief executive officer of Baptist Health. “We see tremendous value in expanding our residency program to include more medical students from this outstanding program at JU that focuses on health promotion and disease prevention.”
Osteopathic medicine is one of the fastest growing health care professions. Built on the philosophy that physicians should treat the whole patient, not just symptoms, osteopathic medicine uses a holistic approach to health care that focuses on health promotion and disease prevention. According to the Osteopathic Medical Profession Report, the number of osteopathic physicians in the U.S. will grow to nearly 135,000 in 2021, an 80 percent increase over the past decade. Today, one in four medical students in the United States is training to become an osteopathic physician.
However, the country faces a critical medical workforce shortage. According to a report by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), only 32 percent of Florida’s population has an adequate primary care practice, and nearly half of primary care physicians are expected to retire in the next 15 to 20 years.
LECOM at Jacksonville University has four other locations across the country, including Bradenton, Florida, Elmira, New York, Greensburg, Pennsylvania, and the original site in Erie, Pennsylvania. Additionally, LECOM has developed clinical education training agreements with more than 100 hospitals and clinics in 10 states, including more than 10 existing provider agreements in Florida.