BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (Aug. 6, 2018) — The first class of medical students at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine-Bowling Green Campus took their first steps in their medical education by participating in the campus' inaugural White Coat Ceremony.
Thirty students participated in the event held Friday, Aug. 3 at Van Meter Hall on the campus of Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. In addition, earlier in the day, 136 students received white coats in a ceremony at the UK College of Medicine's Lexington campus at the UK Singletary Center for the Arts.
At the Bowling Green ceremony, students were welcomed to the profession by Dr. Robert S. DiPaola, dean of the UK College of Medicine; Dr. Mark F. Newman, UK executive vice president for health affairs; Dr. Todd Cheever, associate dean of the UK College of Medicine-Bowling Green Campus; Dr. Don Brown, assistant dean of the UK College of Medicine-Bowling Green Campus; Connie Smith, president and CEO of Med Center Health; and Dr. Timothy C. Caboni, president of Western Kentucky University.
Before Dean DiPaola made his remarks, he asked the students to stand and had audience members give them a round of applause for their hard work and successful admission into the program. He also asked family and friends to join them in standing and gave them a round of applause for the love and support they have provided the students on their journey to acceptance into medical school.
"You are about to begin a path to commitment, a path of education, a path of discovery and service," said Newman. "Thirty-seven years ago I sat in your place and I was excited and I was scared — excited by the opportunity and scared of the unknown. I implore you to focus on the opportunity and the positive things you can do."
One of the most critical barriers to improved health and wellness for the Commonwealth is the shortage of physicians serving in community settings across the state. To address that need strategically, the UK College of Medicine collaborated with Med Center Health and Western Kentucky University to launch the UK College of Medicine-Bowling Green Campus.
In June 2017, officials broke ground on a new facility at The Medical Center in Bowling Green, which will be used for the program and completed in a few weeks. This four-year, regional campus medical school is the first of its kind in Kentucky and is a partnership between the University of Kentucky, The Medical Center at Bowling Green and Western Kentucky University.
For students, the program in Bowling Green offers many benefits: scholarships; smaller class sizes; and the opportunity to live, work and learn in an up-and-coming Kentucky community.
The UK College of Medicine-Bowling Green Campus is a fully functioning campus, utilizing the exact curriculum and assessments as UK’s Lexington campus. Through the partnership with WKU, basic science and early didactic training will be taught in conjunction with faculty at WKU through both onsite classes and distance education methods in accordance with UK College of Medicine curricular protocols.
The onsite faculty have UK College of Medicine appointments and teach in small groups, and they will provide simulation/standardized patient experiences with lectures delivered on-site from Lexington utilizing educational technology.
Facing a shortage of physicians across the state, particularly in rural areas of Kentucky, the Bowling Green satellite campus was designed to both grow the medical school class size and increase the number of physicians in the Commonwealth, while also teaching them more specifically how to care for their own.