USC School of Medicine-Greenville

USC School of Medicine-Greenville gets green light to move forward 

Oct. 5, 2011

The University of South Carolina School of Medicine-Greenville has been awarded preliminary accreditation, getting the green light to recruit students and open its doors in fall 2012.

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the definitive accrediting body for medical schools in the United States, notified USC and Greenville Health System (GHS) officials of their decision on the expanded medical education program Tuesday, Oct. 4. Preliminary accreditation is the first step in the accrediting process, which takes about four years.

USC President Harris Pastides said the announcement is a milestone for health care and education in the Palmetto State.

 “This plan has been scrutinized at every level, and I am delighted that it has passed scrutiny with the true experts, the LCME,” Pastides said. “Expanding medical education in Greenville is the right thing to do because it will increase the supply of physicians and advance efforts to retain physicians in the Upstate and the state at large.”

Pastides said the fact that GHS officials approached USC about the expansion is recognition of the USC medical school’s strong record of educating physicians who remain in the state and USC and GHS’ longstanding partnership to offer clinical training to medical students in Greenville.

In 1991, the USC School of Medicine expanded its third and fourth years of medical training to GHS. The number of USC students who have completed their training at GHS is 271. Currently, 35 third-year students and 31 fourth-year students are doing their clinical training at GHS. 

Founding Dean Jerry Youkey said the expansion will impact how healthcare is delivered in the Upstate.  

“A day doesn’t go by when I don’t hear from interested students about whether the medical education program will get the go-ahead from the LCME,” said Youkey, who also is GHS’ vice president of medical and academic services. “I’m thrilled to finally say that the USC School of Medicine-Greenville is accepting applications. This program will significantly impact the way healthcare is delivered in our area. We are gratified for the confidence and support that has been provided to us from the citizens of South Carolina, the business community and our legislators.”

USCSOM-Greenville will begin recruiting students and faculty immediately and expects to accept 50 first-year students for fall, Youkey said. Plans call for gradual expansion of each first-year class, with a goal of 100 students in the fourth entering class.

Dr. Jay Moskowitz, president and CEO of Health Sciences South Carolina, said the expanded program will advance healthcare, education and research.

“Every man, woman, and child in South Carolina and its adjoining regions will benefit tremendously from the expanded medical education program in Greenville,” Moskowitz said. “It brings new opportunities for quality care, research and advanced education to our state. We are excited about this new addition in South Carolina for collaboration, care coordination and alignment of resources for clinical effectiveness.”

Youkey said the USCSOM-Greenville curriculum will emphasize collaborative learning, early integration of direct patient care throughout all four years of training, interdisciplinary team-based care, interpersonal skills with an emphasis on communication, integration of research with real-world concerns and life-long learning.

Youkey said plans call for recruiting 22 to 24 basic sciences faculty. GHS has approximately 300 clinical faculty members.

Most of the classes will take place in the Health Sciences Education Building, a state-of-the-art, 90,000-square-foot education facility that will include interactive team-focused “smart” classrooms and simulated patient clinical space where doctors in training will learn and practice patient-interaction skills.  The building is on the Greenville Memorial Medical Campus close to GHS’ flagship regional referral center, Greenville Memorial Hospital.

The USCSOM-Greenville is the 136th medical education program in the United States and the only one that was accredited this year by the LCME.

Pastides said the fact that the program is not funded with public dollars made the arrangement particularly attractive. “We have an airtight agreement with GHS that this program will not rely on any state funds. To turn down a proposal to expand medical school education without state funds would not have been a wise decision for the people of our state.”