BUIES CREEK – Dr. P.K. Vyas, founder of the Eastern Carolina Medical Center in Benson, N.C., has established a $1 million challenge fund at Campbell University to support its School of Osteopathic Medicine, Campbell President Jerry M. Wallace announced Thursday. The school opens this August with a charter class of 162 students.
Through the P.K. Vyas $1 Million Challenge, Vyas will match any gift made to Campbell’s medical school dollar for dollar, up to $1 million, before Sept. 19.
He said he established the fund because he wanted to encourage Campbell alumni and friends to join him in advancing the School of Osteopathic Medicine’s efforts to meet the health care needs of North Carolinians.
“As the opening of Campbell University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine approaches, it’s imperative that the medical school continues to receive financial support to ensure that faculty and students get the resources they need to fulfill the university’s vision to address the shortage of primary care physicians in North Carolina,” Vyas said. “I hope others will join me in supporting this critical endeavor.”
Vyas’ challenge will help Campbell finish strongly in reaching its $30 million fundraising goal for the medical school, Wallace said. Nearly $28 million has been raised to date. Gifts at this stage will go toward topping off the 96,500-square-foot building that houses the medical school – the Leon Levine Hall of Medical Science – with distinguishing details. That includes helping cover the cost for the equipment and technology in the medical school’s simulation and anatomy labs. The state-of-the-art anatomy lab will be named in honor of Dr. Vyas.
“We are extremely grateful that Dr. Vyas has established this challenge fund and that he believes in our School of Osteopathic Medicine and shares our vision to help people,” Wallace said. “His gift, as well as those that other alumni and friends give in support of his challenge, will go a long way in helping Campbell educate and train health care professionals and expand access to quality health care.”
When Campbell’s School of Osteopathic Medicine holds its first classes on Aug. 5, it will be the first medical school to open in North Carolina in over 35 years. Campbell’s mission is to train students in primary care and family medicine, general surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry and other services, with an emphasis on producing graduates who work in rural areas or regions with little or no health care options.
The medical school received nearly 4,000 applications for its inaugural class, and expects to graduate 162 doctors in 2017. When fully operational in four years, Campbell expects to have an annual enrollment of more than 600 medical students, making it the second largest medical education program in North Carolina. Independent studies project that the medical school will help create 1,100 jobs and have a total economic impact of about $300 million over its first 10 years of operation.
“We are opening the School of Osteopathic Medicine because our mission is to serve others, and there are far too many individuals in the state of North Carolina who do not have access to even basic health care, especially in rural areas,” Wallace said. “Because of the support of private donors like Dr. Vyas, we’ve been able to make reality our dream of establishing a medical school that makes a real and tangible difference in the lives of North Carolinians.”
Vyas began practicing medicine in Benson in 1986 and founded the Eastern Carolina Medical Center in February 1987 with just two staff members. Today, his practice has 50 staff members. A graduate of M.S. University in India, he trained at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Ill., and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, the American Board of Physician Specialties in geriatric medicine and the American Board of Urgent Care Medicine. He’s also a member of the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians and the American Society of Internal Medicine.
In addition to his support for Campbell’s School of Osteopathic Medicine, Vyas has made sizable contributions to local organizations, schools and towns in Harnett and Johnston counties. A recreation center in Dunn, N.C., is named in his honor; and he has donated ultrasound equipment to the Johnston County Community College.