BUIES CREEK - A lot has happened at the construction site of Campbell University’s future School of Osteopathic Medicine since hundreds braved freezing temperatures in early December to celebrate the school’s groundbreaking.
Steel beams have been erected in the four months since, and the school - North Carolina’s first medical school in 35 years - is beginning to take shape. The 96,500-square-foot facility - located on U.S. 421 a quarter-mile west of Campbell’s Buies Creek campus - is expected to be up by May 2013, with classes set to begin the following fall.
The school has created a buzz not only in Harnett County, but throughout the state. Gov. Bev Perdue, who was on hand for the December groundbreaking ceremony, said the school represents a way North Carolina can compete in the health care field.
“We compete by having big ideas and big dreams,” Perdue said. “Campbell’s big dream will transform the town of Buies Creek, Harnett County and the state.”
Campbell’s efforts to launch a medical school will directly address the growing shortage of physicians in North Carolina, according to Dr. John Kauffman, the school’s founding dean. “Our state currently ranks 35th out of 50 in primary care physicians,” Kauffman said. “There are 20 counties without a single general surgeon and at least that many without an obstetrician. The future, however, is bright.”
Kauffman said Campbell’s osteopathic medical school will eventually graduate about 150 physicians each year, many of whom will practice in rural, under-served regions of the state. Students will spend their first two years training at the new facility and Years 3 and 4 training at community hospitals, where he expects many will live and put down roots.
The primary focus of the School of Osteopathic Medicine will be training for primary care and family medicine, general surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry and other services, with an emphasis on rural areas or regions with little or no health care options.
— Billy Liggett, Assistant Director for Publications