Med school clears major hurdle

The new William Beaumont School of Medicine received preliminary accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education Tuesday.

The announcement came from President Gary Russi shortly after noon, though the news came after hours Monday.

Russi had anticipated the event at his state of the campus address Monday morning, calling the LCME approval a “transforming event.”

Russi said in the official announcement that the event is the second most momentous for Oakland University; the first being the original charter given to the university by Matilda Dodge Wilson, which created the university.

“This is tremendous news for Oakland University, our students and faculty, and the entire region,” said Russi.

In August, the medical school filed a 855-page accreditation application to the LCME, the organization whose accreditation approval is needed to teach students and grant degrees.

This application included information about the school’s proposed budget, funds and funding sources, hired faculty and a detailed description of the planned curriculum.

A partnership between OU and Beaumont Hospitals was forged in April 2007 and school of medicine dean Robert Folberg was officially appointed and approved by the board of trustees in July 2008.

“I think this is a great step forward not only for our school, but for our university. This is Oakland’s first professional school,” said Folberg. “It is built and designed to integrate into the whole fabric of OU.”

Pre-med students like sophomore biology major Ken Lewis welcome the news.

“It’s always been my plan to apply to the school,” Lewis said. “The big thing that makes me want to go there is the fact that there is a partnership with Beaumont.”

Pre-med society president Laura Justice also plans on applying to the school and looks forward to the school’s open house events, which will be open to all students and faculty.

“We were in the dark about what specializations they were going to offer and the specifics of the school,” Justice said. “Now that they can talk to us about that — it’s going to be great.”

Though the school originally hoped to garner accreditation by May or June 2009, plans were pushed back a year.

“It shows that we’re ready and able to build an innovative, knowledge-based economy for the future,” said Virinder Moudgil, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at Oakland University in a press release.

However, the LCME accreditation does not mean that the medical school has been completely approved.

The process of recruiting students for the charter class for fall 2011 will only begin if the school also receives accreditation and recognition from the North Central Association.

“The North Central Association looks at OU overall to see where the school fits in,” said Folberg. “This is a school inside Oakland.”

The NCA just finished its site visit and Folberg said he does not forsee a problem with garnering approval.

The decision is expected to come some time in April.

Ground breaking on the new Human Health Building is slated to begin April 12. It is expected to be completed come fall of 2012.

“(The school) facilitates a give and take between everybody in the university and we are looking forward to it,” Folberg said.