Two state foundations pledge $2 million each toward state-of-the-art simulation lab
BUIES CREEK - Campbell University announced two partnerships Wednesday that have resulted in $4 million toward the School of Osteopathic Medicine, the largest foundation gifts in the University’s 125-year history.
Campbell has been granted $2 million from both the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and the Golden LEAF Foundation. The money will be used for the medical school’s state-of-the-art simulation lab, anatomy labs and clinical examination area, all of which will bear the name of both groups.
The University celebrated the announcement Wednesday with a ceremony and bus tour of the under-construction 96,500-square-foot facility that will house the medical school beginning in August 2013.
“Today is a momentous occasion,” said Dr. John Kauffman, founding dean of the medical school. “We’re in a time when our nation is facing a severe physician shortage, and many in North Carolina currently lack access to prenatal care or must drive considerable distances for primary care. We’re so thankful for the generosity of our donors … we look forward to multiplying these generous gifts and giving back to the world.”
Nearly 100 trustees, alumni, members of the Medical School Founders Board, faculty and guests were on hand for the ceremony, held at the John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center. Speakers included Dunn Mayor Oscar N. Harris, a Campbell alumnus and member of both the University’s Board of Trustees and Medical School Founders Board; Karen McNeil-Miller of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust; Dan Gerlach and Thomas Taft of the Golden LEAF Foundation; Joann Anderson, president and CEO of the Southeastern Regional Medical Center; and William Pully, president of the North Carolina Hospital Association.
McNeil-Miller addressed the crowd Wednesday with a declaration of love for her job as president of Kate B. Reynolds.
“Is there any doubt why?” she asked. “More than being proud of making this $2 million gift, the truth of the matter is we were obligated to make it. One of the most important things we can do to move us along in our vision of a healthy North Carolina is to ensure that every resident here, particularly those of financial need living in rural areas, have access to quality medical care. Central to that care is primary physicians, of which we do not have enough of in our state. Campbell University is ready to do something about that.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that the physician supply in the U.S. will increase by just 7 percent in the next 10 years, while one-third of practicing physicians are expected to retire. In that same span, the number of Americans 65 and older is projected to grow by 36 percent.
North Carolina is ranked 34th in the U.S. in primary care providers, meaning the state would be hit harder by projected physician shortages.
Campbell University’s medical school will eventually graduate about 150 students a year, many of whom will practice in rural and underserved regions of the state. According to Kauffman, the simulation lab made possible by these grants will include the latest in hi-tech robotics and will help train students to deliver babies and resuscitate sick children and adults in an ICU or ER setting.
“Our decision to make this gift … this is what they call a ‘no-brainer,’” McNeil-Miller added. “This is absolutely, without a doubt, one of the best investments we’ve ever made. The real celebration will come when hundreds of osteopathic physicians are spread out across North Carolina, especially in our rural areas, making us a healthier state.”
Pully, an alumnus of Campbell Law School, said North Carolina has relied on out-of-state recruiting to fill its need for physicians, despite already having quality medical schools.
“We’ve been unable to increase enrollment to meet the demands of North Carolina’s population, which has doubled in the last 20 years,” he said. “Campbell University’s medical school is badly needed and is welcome news to health care leaders all over the state.”
Representing Golden LEAF, President Dan Gerlach said part of being the steward of other people’s money is poring over whether or not these grants are the right decisions. Echoing McNeil-Miller, Gerlach praised Campbell’s track record of grant usage in the past.
“We have great confidence in Campbell University,” he said. “From its college of pharmacy to its law school; from the new physician assistant program to now the medical school, we are confident this will be a great addition to our grant list.”
“This grant today is exactly what Golden LEAF is about,” added Taft, a Golden LEAF board member. “Our foundation is about strengthening rural communities and making life better for everyone in North Carolina.”
According to Harris, in less than a year, Campbell has topped $24 million in commitments made to the medical school.
“Campbell has proven its worth over and over and over again,” Harris said. “Opening North Carolina’s first medical school in 35 years may be its biggest project ever.”
Campbell President Dr. Jerry Wallace noted that in just under a year, medical students will arrive in Buies Creek to start writing the school’s legacy.
“Today, we’re gathered to say ‘thank you’ to two North Carolina foundations for their generous support for making our big dream in little Buies Creek a reality,” Wallace said.
"These grants are among the largest ever awarded by these foundations; and we appreciate their investment and vision for medical education at Campbell University."
- Britt Davis, Campbell Vice President for Institutional Advancement
“A lot has happened at Campbell University in recent years … It’s been one exciting announcement after another, it seems. But the news of the School of Osteopathic Medicine may top them all. It’s been over 35 years since a new medical school has opened in North Carolina. I’m proud to say Campbell will lead the way in training our state’s next generation of primary care physicians.”
- Benjamin Thompson, Chairman, Campbell University Board of Trustees
“[The medical school] will mean access to better health care; it will mean wellness and preventative programs and monitoring chronic illnesses … all of which improve the wellness of a community.”
- Joann Anderson, President & CEO, Southeastern Regional Medical Center
Also learn more about: One year to go: An update on Campbell’s medical school
Photos by Billy Liggett | Story by Billy Liggett