Marist College in Dutchess County, New York, is teaming up with a healthcare group in the Mid-Hudson Valley to create a school of medicine. The plan is to transform the traditional medical school model and health care delivery in the region.
Marist College and Health Quest — a family of nonprofit hospitals and healthcare providers in the Mid-Hudson Valley and northwestern Connecticut — are partnering to create The Marist Health Quest School of Medicine, at the Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie. Health Quest President and CEO Robert Friedberg:
“It’s a 100,000 square foot or so building that will have everything from faculty offices to laboratory space to classrooms, all the things that you would traditionally expect to have in a medical college,” Friedberg says. “With the expectation is that we’ll have this up and running for the first class, and the first class is 2022.”
David Yellen is president of Marist College.
“This is a great time for an endeavor like this. There’s significant national and regional demand for more physicians, and our medical school will help meet this demand,” Yellen says. “In fact, this medical school will be the only MD-degree-granting medical school between Westchester County and Albany.”
He says there are 151 MD-degree granting schools of medicine in the U.S.
“Artificial intelligence is going to reshape medical care. It’s already beginning,” says Yellen. “And we plan to train a generation of physicians that learn that technology from day one.”
Yellen says he was on the job for about two weeks some two years ago when Rob Dyson summoned him to a meeting that was the first step in the process. Here’s Dyson in a video about the collaboration.
“Both institutions are financially health and exceedingly well run,” Dyson says. “Putting the two together enables both strong institutions to create a strong medical school.”
Dyson sits on both the Health Quest and Marist College boards. Again, Friedberg:
“By launching into undergraduate medical education to medical students, it fundamentally transforms the way we think about how health care is going to be provided in our region,” Friedberg says. “It makes us all do better. It makes us think about how we’re going to not only take care of patients but now have the responsibility and the privilege of teaching.”
Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison applauds the partnership to train future doctors.
“And to hopefully keep many of these doctors here in our health care system, with a brand new hospital being built right there, right next to where the college will be,” Rolison says. “And it shows, to me, and to all of us here in the city, that we’re a great city to invest in and also invest in the future of health care."
He speaks to a new building under construction at Vassar Brothers Medical Center — a Patient Pavilion featuring private rooms and new Emergency Department to open in 2019. Ron Hicks is assistant Dutchess County executive and coordinates the Think Dutchess Alliance for Business.
“Health care and education are two of the fastest growing sectors in our economy. And this partnership between two of the region’s top employers create, among other things, a true pipeline to jobs,” Hicks says. “And I’d say the economic impact of this project will be one of the most significant and enduring in the region and the state.”
Yellen says a search for the School of Medicine’s founding dean and faculty will begin immediately.
“The Marist Health Quest School of Medicine will also create more than 100 full-time jobs and many more part-time opportunities,” Yellen says. “This potentially is a real game changer for our region and we’re really excited to get to work on it.”
Meantime, Hicks sees benefits to Dutchess County beyond the immediate school.
“We’re going to see this institution draw in a population, a very diverse population, from millennials to those who are already, been existing in the work force for some time,” Hicks says. “It will provide construction jobs. It’ll provide jobs to the small businesses, to the people who come to this school, who teach at this school. And it will just be an attraction tool for us.”
The Marist College Board of Trustees will oversee academic governance matters, while the Health Quest Board of Trustees will oversee matters related to clinical governance. Marist and Health Quest will also convene a Marist Health Quest School of Medicine Joint Board of Overseers. Officials expect the school to be fully staffed and accredited by July 2021.