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Allegheny Health Network and Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine Announce Plans for New Academic Affiliation

Monday, December 8, 2014

Allegheny Health Network and Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) today announced plans to establish an academic affiliation at Forbes Hospital that intends to help address the critical shortage of physicians in western Pennsylvania by educating and retaining highly qualified doctors to serve the region.
Based in Erie, LECOM is the nation’s largest medical college and ranks among the top five medical schools in the United States graduating physicians who enter the primary care field.
“Allegheny Health Network has a longstanding tradition of excellence in medical education,” said Tony Farah, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Allegheny Health Network. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to the education of a greater number of students through this partnership with LECOM and look forward bringing a new generation of well-trained physicians to western Pennsylvania to help meet our region’s future needs.”
A provider of medical education for more than a century, Allegheny Health Network currently enjoys well-established teaching relationships with both Temple University School of Medicine and Drexel University College of Medicine. Students from LECOM currently also receive training at AHN’s Saint Vincent Hospital in Erie.
“At LECOM we are continually looking for ways to enhance and expand the experience and educational opportunities that are available to our students. This exciting new venture with Allegheny Health Network aligns with that mission and will greatly advance our primary goals of offering an exceptional, affordable education in osteopathic medicine and improving our society’s overall health by training future primary care physicians,” said John Ferretti, DO, FACOI, President and Chief Executive Officer, LECOM.
Beginning in June 2015, Forbes will host 26 third year students from LECOM for their clinical rotations, providing an opportunity for students from western Pennsylvania to complete their training closer to home. In June 2016, the number of students will increase to a total of 52 as the first group of students completes their fourth year clinical work at Forbes and a new class of third year students arrives.
Classroom spaces and a new student lounge are being prepared at Forbes to accommodate the program and Steven Wolfe, DO, Director of Medical Student Education for Allegheny Health Network, has been named Dean of the Forbes Hospital Clinical Site.
The establishment of a LECOM clinical campus at Forbes Hospital also dovetails with efforts already in place by Highmark Health to bolster the physician base in our region.
In 2013, Highmark Inc. established a program to provide $500,000 in scholarships to aid LECOM students in their four years of medical school with the intention to help ultimately increase the supply and improve the retention of physicians in rural areas of Pennsylvania. Scholarship recipients upon graduation will practice medicine at a Highmark-approved site located in an area of need for each year that they receive scholarship funding.
“Pennsylvania is ranked as having the third-largest rural population in the country,” said David Holmberg, President and Chief Executive Officer, Highmark, Inc. “With many physicians who currently practice in rural communities considering retirement, the education of new primary care physicians with ties to our community is critical to the future of healthcare and the quality of life for those who live in our region.”
The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) is the nation's largest medical college and with Millcreek Community Hospital and the Clinical Practices of LECOM forms the only osteopathic Academic Health Center in the United States. LECOM is at the core of this highly innovative medical education system and strives to add to the quality of life of our neighbors by bringing total health care to the community. LECOM is preparing the next generation of physicians, dentists and pharmacists at campuses in Erie and Greensburg, Pa. and in Bradenton, Fla.
About Forbes Hospital
Part of the Allegheny Health Network, Forbes Hospital is a 349-bed facility in Monroeville, serving as the leading provider of quality health care for residents of Pittsburgh’s eastern suburbs. Forbes annually admits more than 15,000 patients and logs more than 50,000 visits to its emergency department. Forbes provides a complete array of surgical, medical, rehabilitative and clinical support services, including orthopedics, neurosurgery, oncology, stroke care, endocrinology, in-patient and outpatient behavioral health and obstetrics. The hospital houses a Cardiovascular Institute, the Women’s and Infants’ Care Center, a Joint and Spine Center, and a Breast Care Center. Forbes also is a Level II trauma center.