MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — Sunday, Aug. 4 marked a ceremony welcoming Central Michigan University’s first group of medical students to its new College of Medicine. The “white coat ceremony” in McGuirk Arena welcomed the 64 new students to the start of the school’s four-year program.
The first two years of the students’ education will occur on the school’s Mount Pleasant campus. The third and fourth years will take place in various medical facilities in Saginaw, including a Central Michigan University campus and education sites associated with Covenant HealthCare and St. Mary’s of Michigan.
Of the 64 students, 37, 57 are from Michigan and 11 are graduates of Central Michigan’s undergraduate program. These students were selected from a competitive pool of 2,700 applicants for the 2013-2014 academic year.
While the initial goal was to admit 80 percent Michigan natives, the actual total came out to 89 percent for this year. Central Michigan plans to admit 104 students for the 2014-2015 academic school year. More students will be admitted each year as the program progresses, eventually capping the total at 400 students.
The application committee focused on students who were committed to communities in Michigan lacking medical resources. “As the only medical school in Michigan training doctors to address the needs of residents and families living in more rural regions, we selected students with a passion for medically underserved communities,” Dean Ernie Yoder said in a recent statement.
Predictions from 2008 of future shortages of doctors trained in the United States spurred the planning stage for the introduction of the new medical school at Central Michigan. The University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University were the only schools in Michigan that included medical schools at the time of the forecasts. Since 2008, Western Michigan University and Oakland University have begun medical schools in additional to Central Michigan.
The opening of the College of Medicine marks a big step for the university, which began in 1892 as the Central Michigan Normal School and Business College.