Last Modified: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 6:34 PM
Employment opportunities for physicians and surgeons in the United States are expected to surge by 24 percent this decade, according to the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Statistics.
To meet that need, LSU has proposed opening a branch of its medical school on the Baton Rouge campus.
Quite simply, LSU’s medical education programs in New Orleans are full. About 800 students are enrolled in the New Orleans programs.
‘‘There’s a massive demand, interest from kids who want to go to medical school,’’ LSU’s Health Science Center-New Orleans Chancellor Dr. Larry Hollier told The Advocate of Baton Rouge.
He said LSU receives about 3,000 applications for 200 spots annually.
If approved by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, LSU could begin the programs in Baton Rouge next July, Hollier said. The initial step would be to offer training for between 30 and 35 third- and fourth-year medical students, then add first- and second-year med students in following years.
Hollier said a Baton Rouge program would have two distinct advantages over its New Orleans counterpart.
With 770 beds currently and plans to expand, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical is the state’s largest hospital. The facility’s size would offer LSU medical students in Baton Rouge more clinical cases than presently in New Orleans, according to Hollier.
Additionally, LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center would offer faculty and learning opportunities currently unavailable in New Orleans.
Dr. Steve Nelson, LSU’s New Orleans medical school dean, said a Baton Rouge campus would benefit medical students and LSU.
Hollier said a Baton Rouge medical school branch would not only turn out much needed doctors, but would also be cost effective.
This appears to be a classic win-win situation for medical students and Louisiana’s flagship university. Our state and its residents would also prosper from such an arrangement.
This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Mike Jones, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.