Minneapolis, Minn. – On Friday, October 13, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents officially approved the academic affiliation agreement between the University of Minnesota Medical School (UMMS) and CentraCare to develop a new regional campus of the U of M Medical School in St. Cloud. This marks the first expansion of the Medical School in more than 50 years, with locations currently in the Twin Cities, Duluth, and soon-to-be St. Cloud. The UMMS CentraCare regional campus in St. Cloud plans to welcome its first class of 24 medical students in the fall of 2025.

With this important approval milestone achieved, the organizations begin the application process to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). LCME is the accrediting body for all educational programs leading to the M.D. degree in the United States.

Development of the UMMS CentraCare Regional Campus – St. Cloud includes an investment in facility and construction, student housing, programs and services, research, residency programs and scholarships. CentraCare is providing an existing facility that will house this new Medical School campus and is committed to providing ongoing operational support. The Minnesota State Legislature approved $15 million in funding to begin this important work during the 2022-2023 session: $5 million for design of the facility and $10 million for support of the program. The CentraCare Foundation also kicked off a $50 million community philanthropy campaign to support the endeavor.

This expansion addresses two critical and connected issues facing residents of Greater Minnesota – a growing shortage of physicians practicing in rural communities and a lack of access to vital healthcare for rural residents throughout the state. While 20% of the U.S. population live in rural communities, only 11% of physicians practice in such areas, and 4% of incoming medical students come from these communities. The St. Cloud-based Medical School campus at CentraCare will focus on educating physicians across specialties to address the unique health care needs of rural Minnesotans and immigrant populations.

This innovative partnership between the UMMS and CentraCare brings together two organizations recognized for their healthcare excellence, specifically in rural medicine. The UMMS has a national reputation for highly ranked primary care training, as well as a No. 4 ranking for best family medicine programs. UMMS also has more than 50 years of experience preparing physicians for rural and Indigenous patient practice. CentraCare has invested more than $100 million to enhance rural health across the region through its network of nine hospitals and more than 30 clinics across Central, Southwest and West Central Minnesota. CentraCare’s St. Cloud Hospital also has been named a 100 Top HospitalÆ by Truven Health Analyticsô 11 times, more than any other hospital in Minnesota.

In December, the Board of Regents is expected to review the financial agreement between UMMS and CentraCare for the new regional campus, with action anticipated on that agreement during the Board’s February 2024 meeting.

About CentraCare

CentraCare is an integrated, not-for-profit health care organization working to improve the lives and wellbeing of those living in Central, Southwest and West Central Minnesota. CentraCare includes hospitals located in St. Cloud, Benson, Long Prairie, Melrose, Monticello, Paynesville, Redwood Falls, Sauk Centre and Willmar and provides both primary and specialty care throughout the region. With a focus on rural health, CentraCare is one of the largest health systems in Minnesota and is proud to provide expert health care locally. Learn more at centracare.com

About the University of Minnesota Medical School

The University of Minnesota Medical School is at the forefront of learning and discovery, transforming medical care and educating the next generation of physicians. Our graduates and faculty produce high-impact biomedical research and advance the practice of medicine. We acknowledge that the U of M Medical School, both the Twin Cities campus and Duluth campus, is located on traditional, ancestral and contemporary lands of the Dakota and the Ojibwe, and scores of other Indigenous people, and we affirm our commitment to tribal communities and their sovereignty as we seek to improve and strengthen our relations with Tribal Nations. Learn more at med.umn.edu.

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