Op-Ed Archive

Robert L. Barchi, MD, PhD

Robert L. Barchi, MD, PhD
President, Thomas Jefferson University
Thomas Jefferson University Campus
for Healthcare Education

Vital Support for Delaware's Healthcare
and Business Interests

In the next two decades our nation will face a growing shortage of healthcare personnel, particularly in rural areas like southern Delaware. At the same time, the healthcare sector will be a major engine for growth as our economy recovers. However, Delaware, like the rest of the country, is facing a recession that will limit the state's resources available for the costly task of educating healthcare personnel.

For more than 30 years, Thomas Jefferson University has helped Delaware address its healthcare needs by serving as the state's official school of medicine. We plan to build on this relationship by creating a new Campus for Healthcare Education in Delaware that will arm the first state against a shortfall of health professionals and position the state to participate fully in the growing healthcare economy.

Jefferson will establish the new Campus in partnership with the Delaware Institute of Medical Education and Research (DIMER) and the University of Delaware. Located on or near the University of Delaware in Newark, the Campus will house classrooms equipped with video conferencing technology, study halls, and a new residential facility. This campus will accommodate students from Jefferson Medical College and the Jefferson Schools of Pharmacy, Population Health, Nursing and Health Professions who wish to carry out all or part of their clinical training in Delaware. The campus will strengthen the relationship between Jefferson and the First State, support Delaware's existing superb clinical care entities and provide further leverage for Delaware's precious healthcare education dollars.

The new Campus will benefit Delaware residents by:

  • Meeting the increasing need for healthcare practitioners - Statistics show that more than half of all physicians practice in the state where they complete their medical training. The new campus will allow Jefferson to increase the total number of medical students who receive training in Delaware well beyond the number currently accepted into the medical college through DIMER, and to expand this training to pharmacists, nurses and other health professionals.
  • Creating opportunities for advanced educational programs between the University of Delaware and Jefferson - New joint programs such as the MD-MBA and MPH-MBA located at the new campus will further attract the best and brightest students working at critical interfaces in healthcare to the Delaware experience.
  • Supporting Delaware's economy by creating jobs and increasing traffic to local retail establishments - Even after construction, the new campus will continue to provide jobs by requiring the hire of support and administrative personnel. In addition, the added student population will positively impact local businesses.
  • Stimulating the influx of young professionals who will establish roots in Delaware, raise families, and contribute to the economy.
  • An increasing demand for quality healthcare services, combined with an aging population and projected shortages of healthcare workers, makes it imperative to expand healthcare education in Delaware. Working in partnership with leading Delaware institutions, Jefferson is uniquely positioned to fill this critical need.