The Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU) said Friday that it plans to open a campus in Joplin, Mo., with the capacity to graduate 150 doctors a year.
The development comes through a collaboration between KCU, located at 1750 Independence Ave., Mercy Hospital Joplin, Freeman Health System, the city of Joplin and philanthropic leadership from Joplin area, according to a news release.
The KCU Joplin campus will be the first new medical school location to open in Missouri in 44 years, according to the release. Officials expect the campus to admit its first class in 2017.
Mercy, the fifth largest Catholic health care system in the United States, plans to donate the property for the campus along with a 150,000-square-foot, $100 million facility that served as its temporary hospital from 2012 until the opening of the new Mercy Hospital Joplin last weekend.
Mercy is awaiting final approval of the donation from the Vatican, the release said.
A key focus of the new campus is providing doctors for rural areas, officials said.
Roughly 40 percent of KCU’s graduates practice in rural areas, according to Dr. Marc B. Hahn, president and chief executive officer of KCU.
“This important investment by KCU will further strengthen Joplin’s two major hospitals and bolster the city’s position as a hub for health services and innovation for the four-state region,” Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said in the release. “I applaud KCU for making this forward-looking investment and congratulate the City of Joplin on achieving another significant milestone that will improve the region’s health and economy for years to come.”
The Joplin community and its medical providers through the Joplin Regional Medical School Alliance have pledged $30 million to assist in the development of the Joplin campus. Freeman Health System has also pledged a multi-million dollar gift for the establishment of the campus.
In addition, Freeman Health System has made a commitment to provide residency and training opportunities for KCU Joplin students.