Group photo, from left: IUP Council of Trustees Chairman Sam Smith; Senator Joe Pittman, IUP President Dr. Michael Driscoll, Founding Dean, IUP proposed college of osteopathic medicine Dr. Miko Rose; Rep. Jim Struzzi; Rep. Brian Smith

INDIANA, Pa. – During a public reception welcoming Dr. Miko Rose, the founding dean of Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s proposed college of osteopathic medicine, Senator Joe Pittman announced that as part of the 2023-2024 state budget which was just completed in December, $2 million was set aside for IUP’s new college of osteopathic medicine.

These new dollars are an investment above and beyond what IUP receives in the budget, the Senator said. This funding will be used largely to support the operations at the start of the medical school.

“Today is tremendously exciting for IUP, our region and the future of rural healthcare,” Senator Pittman said. “I am proud to have worked in collaboration with Rep. Jim Struzzi and Rep. Brian Smith to advocate for this substantial investment, which will help to advance the long-term goals of this dynamic new medical school. There is a real opportunity for this region to become the hub of rural healthcare delivery for the state, and to also serve as a model for the whole country.”

“Our area is primed for this osteopathic school and combined with the work IRMC has done with their residency program, as well as likely partnership between Punxsutawney Hospital and Armstrong County Memorial Hospital, there is a very unique opportunity for the program to stand out among others in the state. This funding will not only play a key role in the expansion of rural healthcare but also help to foster greater economic opportunity as we welcome a new student body, university employees and visitors, focusing on improving quality of life to the region,” Pittman concluded.

“IUP’s proposed college of osteopathic medicine will be life changing, not only for the future patients of IUP trained physicians, but also for IUP and this region,” IUP Council of Trustees Chairman Sam Smith said.

“As we began discussions about how a college of osteopathic medicine at IUP could help address the critical need for health care in the rural communities of the commonwealth, it became clear that we needed widespread support of the IUP family and, especially, the support of Senator Pittman and Representatives Smith and Struzzi,” Trustee Smith said.

“Senator Pittman’s leadership in securing this funding demonstrates both his commitment to the citizens of Pennsylvania and his confidence in IUP’s ability to educate the next generation of physicians that rural Pennsylvania so desperately needs and deserves,” Trustee Smith said. “On behalf of IUP and the Council of Trustees, I thank Senator Pittman and his team for their work and for their continued support of IUP.”

“IUP is incredibly fortunate to be represented by legislators who advocate for our university and our students, and support IUP’s commitment to serving our community and our commonwealth,” IUP President Dr. Michael Driscoll said. “I join Trustee Smith in our sincere appreciation to Senator Pittman, and to all of our legislators, for their help in moving this important project forward.”

Close to 100 people attended tonight’s event held at IUP’s Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex to meet Dr. Rose, a board-certified physician in psychiatry and neurology who is nationally known for wellness programming.

“I’ve been welcomed so warmly,” Dr. Rose said. “It is very clear that this university community – including the extended community of alumni, legislators, and other government officials – have the will to do what is necessary to make this proposed college of osteopathic medicine a reality. There is a great deal of very hard work in front of us, but everyone that I talk to understands that the need is so great, and that this project has the potential to change the health care landscape for generations to come.”

“Serving as the founding dean for the first college of osteopathic medicine at a public university is both an honor and a privilege, but this is a team effort. I join Trustee Smith and President Driscoll in thanking Senator Pittman, Rep. Struzzi, Rep. Smith and all of the donors who are supporting this project for their commitment and belief in IUP and in the proposed college of osteopathic medicine,” Dr. Rose said.

Representatives Struzzi and Smith also made remarks during the event.

Foundation for IUP President Regina Stover offered a welcome to Dr. Rose on behalf of the Foundation for IUP and pledged the continued support from FIUP for both the project and Dr. Rose, calling her “a visionary.”

Stover, from Pittsburgh, is a 1975 graduate of IUP and a 1999 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient who retired from a career at BNY Mellon.

“It is truly an exciting time for higher education in the state of Pennsylvania,” Stover said. “FIUP is proud to be part of the team who will take the IUP college of osteopathic medicine from a plan on a piece of paper to a reality.

“Members of the foundation board and staff have been engaged with the college of osteopathic medicine since the beginning of the planning phases,” Stover said. “We will continue to support Dr. Rose, Dr. Driscoll and their teams with our time, talent and personal gifts and a foundation gift as Dr. Rose moves forward. We are all excited for the future of IUP. The college of medicine will truly be transformational.”

The Foundation for IUP is an independent, nonprofit, charitable organization organized to promote and support the educational purposes of IUP.

Stover also spoke on behalf of IUP Alumni Association Board of Directors President Leslie Purser. Earlier this month, the Alumni Association Board of Directors announced a donation of $500,000 to IUP’s proposed college of osteopathic medicine project.

The IUP Alumni Association is an independent, nonprofit corporation governed by an elected board of directors.

The Alumni Association gift follows a $1 million pledge for the project announced in May 2023 from Rich Caruso and a $40,000 gift announced in July 2023 from IUP graduates Nick Jacobs and Mary Ann Hoysan Jacobs.

Caruso is a 1983 accounting graduate from Meadow Lands and is a 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. He is a former president of the Foundation for IUP.

Nick Jacobs is a 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient who has a 1969 bachelor’s degree in education and a 1972 master’s degree in music education; Mary Ann Jacobs has a 1968 bachelor’s degree in music education and a 1993 master’s degree in adult and community education.

IUP’s Council of Trustees endorsed the exploration of a possible development of a college of osteopathic medicine at IUP in December 2022. The university chose to explore a proposed college of osteopathic medicine based on several factors, including the critical need for rural health care; there are not enough trained physicians to provide care to Pennsylvania’s citizens: the ratio of patients to available primary care physicians is 1,367 to 1, according to the United Health Foundation.

There are only three colleges of osteopathic medicine in Pennsylvania, all at private universities; IUP’s proposed college of osteopathic medicine would be the only college of osteopathic medicine at a public university in Pennsylvania.

National studies show that osteopathic medicine graduates are more likely to pursue primary care in rural and underserved areas – 57 percent of all doctors of osteopathic medicine practice as general practitioners, and more than 20 percent of DO graduates practice in rural areas. Demand is high for osteopathic medicine training: in 2021, 22,708 applicants competed for 8,280 seats at schools of osteopathic medicine.

Dr. Rose’s appointment was announced during the Second Annual Pennsylvania Mountains Rural Health Conference on Nov. 17, 2023. The conference was co-sponsored by IUP and Indiana Regional Medical Center and hosted by IUP to mark National Rural Health Day.

Dr. Rose comes to IUP from Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine, where she is Associate Professor and Chief of the Division of Psychiatry in the Department of Clinical Medicine and Assistant Dean for Clinical Education.

She is also an Associate Professor and Program Director of the Joy Initiative Wellness Program at Michigan State University. She founded and started the Joy Initiative at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and College of Osteopathic Medicine schools. She completed her medical training at Michigan State.

The hiring of a founding dean for IUP’s proposed college of osteopathic medicine is one of the first steps to establishing the college. With this selection complete, IUP will start the process of seeking accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA), a three- to five-year process that includes submission of self-studies and a feasibility study, along with site visits.

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