NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- Construction is underway on the state's third medical school at Quinnipiac University in North Haven.
While the Frank H. Netter School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University doesn't look like much now, much like its namesake, a renowned medical illustrator, school officials view it as a palette for change.
"We will train medical students with nursing students, physician assistant students because healthcare more and more is a team activity," said Dr. Bruce Koeppen, Dean, Frank H. Netter School of Medicine.
And more and more in need of primary care doctors.
"If you look at the needs of CT and in fact, the country, there is a physician shortage in general," said Koeppen, "but a severe shortage for primary care physicians."
That's where the medical school, which will be the third medical school in the state, sees its role in the future of healthcare. Its focus will be on training medical students to enter the primary care field.
"Right now if you look at the national statistics about 15 percent of current medical students are planning a career in primary care," said Koeppen. "We hope that 50 percent or more of our graduates will go into primary care."
Studies in the medical field indicate lower salaries and less control over work hours in primary care practice play a role in steering med students to specialized fields.
Yet, Koeppen says there is no better time to grow the field of primary care than now, especially since the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, which supports more preventative health care.
"Absolutely, you've got the uninsured who will have insurance," Koeppen said. "Estimates are 30 plus million. You also have the baby boomers that are entering the Medicare system and there you've got 80 million plus, so there will be a huge influx of patients into the health care system."
He says perspective students interested in primary care will be given preference in the admissions process.
The medical school will start recruiting students in the Fall. The dean says they have 60 spots to fill; eventually they plan to have 125 students in each class.
The first class will start in August 2013.
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