The Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences recently announced that it plans to open a campus in Joplin, enrolling up to 150 students per class. The move will potentially turn the Missouri university into one of the largest medical schools in the nation.
Enrollment as KCU has been steadily growing over the past decade. This school year, its total enrollment for the four-year medical degree program was just over 1,000 students. Set to open in 2017, KCU’s new Joplin campus is aimed at turning out large numbers of primary-care doctors that will practice in typically underserved rural areas.
Key to the new agreement was Mercy Hospital’s offer to put the new medical school campus in a 150,000-square-foot building constructed as a temporary facility after its Joplin location was destroyed by a tornado in May 2011. Another deciding factor was KCU’s longstanding relationship with another hospital in southwest Missouri, Freeman Health System. Freeman operates hospitals and healthcare facilities in Joplin, and has provided clinical training to third- and fourth-year students from the university.