New medical school slated to open in Utah County

PROVO, Utah – Provo will soon be home to a new medical school.

The Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine will open in 2021 with a class of 150 students. Wasatch Educational came up with the concept for the for-profit school. They announced Tuesday that the Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation donated $50 million. They are the founders of the Utah-based software company, Novell.

“We believe that the medical school will inspire and motivate local students to pursue a career in medicine while improving the quality of life for the people of Utah,” said Dr. Michael Skurja, president of Wasatch Educational.

With a real shortage of primary care physicians in Utah, Skurja says adding a third medical school in the state could help reverse the trend.

“Utah Medical Association reported in 2015 that there’s going to be about 375 physician shortages due to aging population, population growth, due to physician retirement,” Skurja said.

Osteopathic physicians undergo the same training as other medical doctors. But they focus more on the whole patient, not just symptoms. Students in Utah can also train at another for-profit osteopathic school in Ivins, Utah called, Rocky Vista University.

Utah county leaders are eager to bring in the new development.

“A medical school is not something that is announced every day. Having that be a proposal for Provo City we’re very excited about it,” said Dixon Holmes, Provo Deputy Mayor Economic Development.

Not everyone is as welcoming. Golfers are upset that the new medical center would move three holes at East Bay Golf Course.

“Our intent is not to do anything that would other than make that facility better not only for us and East Bay but also the residents of Utah County and Provo,” said Skurja.

Holmes says this isn’t the first proposal that has been made on the golf course. He believes there are accommodations for the new school.

The Provo City Council has yet to approve the sit. They’ll meet Tuesday evening and then listen to concerns from the public at a hearing scheduled for December 5.