FAU opens its own medical school

FEATURE

 

After more than five years in the works, the Schmidt College of Medicine became FAU’s 10th college last year.

It started in 2004 as a Boca-based branch of the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, according to an FAU representative. Medical courses were offered on FAU’s Boca campus, but students received their M.D. degree from UM and paid tuition to UM, explained College of Medicine Dean Michael Friedland.

That all changed last year, however. Now FAU is on track to have its own medical school up and running soon.

In January, the Board of Trustees — FAU’s 13 highest-ranking decision-makers — voted unanimously to end the partnership with UM. In February, they voted unanimously to open FAU’s own independent medical school.

On May 15, Governor Charlie Crist seconded their vote by passing a bill that established FAU’s doctor of medicine degree program, meaning that students could receive an M.D. from FAU.

“It’s a game-changer for FAU,” senior microbiology major Trevor Raborn said. “It’s better than any stadium being built.”

In addition to an M.D., students could also receive a dual M.D./Ph.D. degree, Friedland said. After completing the requirements for an M.D., students who take advantage of this option would then earn their Ph.D. from FAU or from the Scripps Research Institute, located on the Jupiter campus.

First, however, the college must become accredited. It’s currently being reviewed by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the national organization that accredits M.D. programs in the U.S. and Canada, according to FAU officials. They expect to hear their status from the LCME by next month.

Although it’s too early for FAU to announce when the medical school will officially open, the Board of Trustees has already decided on its price tag.

In December, they voted to charge in-state students a total of $27,040.04 per semester.

According to the dean, that’s about $3,000 less than students used to pay UM to attend their medical school satellite on FAU’s Boca campus.

According to the Sun Sentinel, however, that’s a lot more than medical school at the University of Central Florida ($23,771) and Florida State University ($19,841).

To learn more about the college, visit its new website, med.fau.edu/medicine