University of South Carolina

New medical school in Greenville welcomes charter class

Contact Wes Hickman, whickman@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-3478

Three years ago, when the University of South Carolina and the Greenville Hospital System were discussing plans for a new medical school in the Upstate, USC President Harris Pastides issued a challenge to “make this medical school different and special.”

USC and GHS took a giant step in fulfilling that promise Tuesday (July 31, 2012) when they welcomed the charter class of the new USC School of Medicine Greenville located on the campus of GHS’s Greenville Memorial Hospital campus.

Dr. Jerry Youkey, the dean of USC School of Medicine Greenville, said the vision of the new medical school is to create a different type of physician capable of leading and participating in the transformation of America’s health care delivery system. “We coined the phrase ‘A new school of thought’ as it reflects our commitment to preparing doctors who will connect with communities, patients, colleagues and technology in new, more progressive ways,” Youkey said.

The new medical school is the first in South Carolina’s Upstate. It joins the USC School of Medicine in Columbia and the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

According to Pastides, the USC School of Medicine Greenville comes at a critical juncture for the state and nation. The United States is in the midst of a growing physician shortage, and with an aging population and millions of Americans expected to receive health insurance as a result of healthcare reform, the current delivery system will have to change to meet demand. The nation also must add capacity to educate and train physicians.

“You don’t have to go any further than news headlines to see that we need more qualified doctors and we need them quickly. This is particularly true in South Carolina, where nearly every county has too few primary care doctors and some specialties like neurology are in critically low supply. Not increasing our capacity to educate the next generation of physicians is, quite simply, not an option. We must do it now,” Pastides said.

Looking at the new medical school’s admissions numbers, there is pent-up demand for medical education in South Carolina. Some 1,445 people applied for admission, nearly 300 interviews were conducted and 53 were accepted. Seventy-seven percent of those accepted are from South Carolina. The male-to-female ratio is nearly evenly split, with 28 women and 25 men. The charter class includes eight under-represented minorities (African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans). Plans call to increase enrollment to 100 first-year students by 2015.

Students at the new medical school will receive clinical training across their four years of medical school, breaking from traditional curriculums that have two years of lecture followed by two years of clinical training. Clinical training will take place at the Greenville Hospital System, the 13th largest in the country, and include educational experiences in its state-of-the art simulation center and its simulated patient care center.

In addition, the medical school requires its students to become certified emergency medical technicians (EMT), a process that will occupy their first six weeks of medical school. USC School of Medicine Greenville is one of only a two in the country to require 200 hours of EMT training. (The other is Hofstra University.) Youkey explained that the experience will instill students with basic medical skills, teach them to work as part of a healthcare team and expose them to the living and working environments of patients.

“Patients don’t live in textbooks,” Youkey said. “Patients are people in our community whose circumstances are widely different. Future physicians must become ever more prepared to adapt how they care for people in accord with patient-specific needs.”

The new medical school also seeks to “hard wire” students for an increasingly IT-dependent healthcare delivery system. The students will learn to leverage the Internet and enablers such as tablets and smart phone to access patient records, order prescriptions and tests, and research the latest treatments. The students will train alongside pharmacy and nursing (CRNA) students, an approach that fosters collaboration and recognizes no one person or profession has all of the answers. Better communication between caregivers and between caregivers and patients will ultimately lead to better patient care and better outcomes.

And that, Youkey said, is the ultimate goal of the USC School of Medicine Greenville.

USC Is Home to Two Medical Schools
USC School of Medicine Columbia, which welcomed its first class in 1977.

USC School of Medicine Greenville, which welcomed its first class in 2012.

USC School of Medicine Greenville Milestones

1991    Third and fourth-year students from USC School of Medicine Columbia begin training at GHS

2010    The USC and GHS Boards formally approve the expansion from a branch regional campus for third and fourth-year students to a separately accredited four-year medical school.

2011    LCME provisional accreditation received.

2012    First class of 53 medical students welcomed


USC School of Medicine Greenville Charter Class Profile

1,445 Applicants

53 Accepted Students

75% from South Carolina, 25% Out-of-State

28 Females, 25 Males

8 Under-Represented Minorities

Median Age of 23

Majority are from Clemson and Carolina, but many other SC colleges and universities are represented

Posted: 07/31/12 @ 5:00 PM | Updated: 07/31/12 @ 6:22 PM | Permalink