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Most U.S. medical schools affliated with universities

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Combining a liberal arts university with a medical college, each with its own identity and priorities, into one institution is a lengthy process, but the proposed merger of Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities is not unique in health education.

Of the 136 accredited medical schools in the country, the majority are affiliated with a university rather than standing alone, according to Dr. John Prescott, the chief academic officer of the American Association of Medical Colleges.

The partnerships are designed to eliminate duplicate programs, save money and enhance the student experience, Prescott said.

“That’s just a common model,” he said. “There are some synergies that work out well with regard to students who receive their undergraduate training and then continue on with their medical or other health professional training at the same institution.”

As ASU and GHSU appear to be headed toward a merger, they join a trend of other schools that have combined forces.

In 2006, the University of Toledo merged with the Medical University of Ohio primarily to save money on operations, create more research and improve academic programs, said Lloyd Jacobs, the president of the University of Toledo.

After the two schools combined, the former Toledo president stepped down and Jacobs, who previously led the medical school, became president of the combined university.

During the first year of the consolidation, administrators had to blend more than 500 policies, all of the individual departments and faculty.

The merger eliminated 53 jobs to save $4 million, with almost half of the positions coming from facilities, information technology and health information management departments, The Blade of Toledo reported.

“Here we were with two chiefs of police, two heads of (human resources), two heads of facilities and construction … and we had to go through each one of those and lay off one or the other or find an alternative spot in some cases,” Jacobs said, noting that many reassignments were made through attrition.

Overall, Jacobs said the merger helped create a stronger institution and garnered overwhelming support from community members and local legislators.

“The great strength of a clinical enterprise embedded in a great university is one of the most powerful tools in our country,” Jacobs said.

After the merger, enrollment at the University of Toledo increased for nine consecutive semesters, and the university created coursework for students after departments became partners, such as collaborations with the College of Engineering and the College of Medicine.

The process is still ongoing, but Jacobs said changes were smooth after the merger legislation was signed into law.

“It’s not done yet, and it’s five years down the road,” he said. “At the end of maybe four years now, we’re just now getting there.”

A more dated model some supporters of the Augusta merger point to is Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.

In 1968, liberal arts college Richmond Professional Institute was merged with nearby Medical College of Virginia as part of a “bold new development, an urban university with a substantial graduate school,” according to the Wayne Commission Report on Virginia Commonwealth’s founding.

The new school was a dual-campus university with a new president over chief academic officers on both campuses, with suggestions to consolidate similar nursing programs, as both ASU and GHSU have, into one school under a single dean, according to the report.

While some have suggested cost savings from an ASU-GHSU merger, the Virginia report notes that additional funding was needed for the Virginia Commonwealth merger. The school’s enrollment has since grown from about 12,000 students combined to more than 32,000 students.

Although it’s common to see medical schools join with other public universities, the medical world might be a niche for mergers. Edward Bouie, an associate professor for educational leadership at Mercer University, said it’s not particularly common to see liberal arts schools merge with other liberal arts campuses.

When schools do merge, however, it is usually done for one of two reasons: that they are both in financial difficulty and need to combine to survive, or that both schools are in close proximity and have duplicate services that are costing the state money.

He said that as state budgets continue to slash funding for education systems, mergers often become a frugal and sensible option.

“As we’re looking at the expenses of higher education continuing to climb … and student expenses increase, I think we’re going to see more of it,” Bouie said.

Staff Writer Tom Corwin Contributed to this article.

AUGUSTA STATE UNIVERSITY

PRESIDENT: William Bloodworth

FALL 2011 ENROLLMENT: 6,765

FACULTY: about 255

FOUNDED: 1958, when then-Augusta College became a member of the University System of Georgia

BUDGET: fiscal 2012 general and operating budget $50.9 million

Source: www.aug.edu

GEORGIA HEALTH SCIENCES UNIVERSITY

PRESIDENT: Ricardo Azziz

FALL 2011 ENROLLMENT: 2,442

FACULTY: 1,027

FOUNDED: 1828

BUDGET: fiscal 2012 operating budget $640 million; health system clinical operating budget $630 million

Source: www.georgiahealth.edu/about/

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Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/05/12 - 04:31 pm
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Sure it's good for the town

Sure it's good for the town and the university. It takes a while to complete the transition. I guarantee you ASU will benefit and GHSU will not be hurt.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/05/12 - 04:33 pm
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Here is the hard fact.

Here is the hard fact. Prospective students will decide on ASU because of it's affiliation with the med school. Trust me on this.

Craig Spinks
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Craig Spinks 01/05/12 - 08:06 pm
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Riverman1, You, unlike many

Riverman1,

You, unlike many of our more timid neighbors, are willing to embrace bold ventures. You realize that risk is an inherent part of life and must be managed, not avoided, if metro Augusta is to thrive in a world of lessened federal expenditures on the U.S. Army and USDOE.

wtinney
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wtinney 01/05/12 - 09:54 pm
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Restated earlier post from

Restated earlier post from previous article:

I personally think this is a very bad idea. As a former instructor of ASU and having kept somewhat in-the-know of GHSU significant problems since its inception and expansion, this kind of deal would only be a win for GHSU at ASU's cost. It was not that long ago that the nursing program was under consideration to be shelved because of the huge expense medical programs bring to any institution. Then what? Now they want to merge a very high maintenance, high liability institution like GHSU with ASU? Really? Who's rear end is being bailed out here? That is the real question no one is asking. There is no reason to meld programs into another institution that has already expressed concerns of taking a loss from such programs. Medical programs are just not self-sufficient when done correctly - therefore, it takes the support of a significantly large and diverse offering of arts and sciences programs to make up for the loss. What has ASU really got to gain by being involved with GHSU programs? I doubt nothing. If anything, because the Board of Regents and Business leaders of the area wish to hold on to the already invested money into GHSU, they'll grin and bear it for a later lump sum increase in institutional funding for ASU as a whole. This reminds me of Bank of America, which was solvent, being told by the Fed Reserve and the Treasury Department to take on Merrill Lynch (as it was going down the drain of sub-prime loans). Bank of America did not want the endless, deep pit of leveraged up responsibilities - no one knew how much toxic loans were out there. So, the Fed along with the U.S. Treasury supports BoA taking Merrill under their wings at the bargain basement price of 40 billion (later added with an additional 20 billion) to taxpayers. I believe ASU is taking the hit to expand its resources. But, as a cost saver? Not likely. Just as BoA's Merrill Lynch bid did nothing to save anyone anything... ASU will just be getting a lump sum at one time to assist in melding the institutions and then after that, take the strain of having to tow GHSU's programs (and costs) into the future.

ADDITIONALLY: Look at the student numbers and budget differences. 1) Yes. Most medical schools are affiliated to Universities. But all of those "universities" are larger than a roughly 7,000 student body ASU. Even with the added GHSU students you get, at most, 10,000 students. That is just not large enough to support sustaining these costly, high maintenance programs of GHSU 10 to 15 years down the road and IT CERTAINLY WILL NOT BE A COST SAVER AT ALL. Look at the budgetary difference between ASU (~$51 M) vs. GHSU (~$630/640 M). Who's riding who's back here? You'd probably say ASU is riding GHSU but I think it is the other way around. The state wants to justify the huge money pit known as GHSU with such a budget that only services 2,442 students??? ASU, which has expanded well, serviced successfully the Augusta area, currently enrolls almost three times more students than GHSU and ASU needs to change; to add medical programs? Folks, consider looking through the fog and see why this idea has even manifested itself. Something does not smell right here.

NrthAugustaSam
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NrthAugustaSam 01/06/12 - 09:33 am
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For ASU this will be like

For ASU this will be like having an elephant on her back.... An elephant that has a bloated budget and a bloated org chart. ASU has been holding it's own through tough budget times. GHSU has not done so well frequently having layoffs, etc. Merging means getting resources and a source of more employees to lay off. It will be like stripping a car found on the side of the road.

Dipshot
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Dipshot 01/06/12 - 03:58 pm
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This is not like you are

This is not like you are coupling a medical school to a larger state regional University. ASU is small potatoes compared to GHSU.. their budgets are not even near being in the same league . Not to mention they are completely different types of institutions.. ASU is a liberal arts community commuter college with a small campus in Summerville. It is not a research university like UGA, Tech, Georgia State or Tech. And it's curriculum is not one particularly geared towards funnelling students into a graduate level medical program, which is what GHSU is. You have to think that in this merger, ASU becomes a foot note, an after thought. And what this merger will also do is get UGA's medical program out from under the umbrella of GHSU.. and under UGA.. UGA will have what they have always wanted: their own independent medical school. Now UGA is a large research university.. it's got a built in student base to funnel into their medical program.. now just how will this new regional university in Augusta compete with that? Instead of this merger increasing state funding into Augusta.. the likely result is that you will see that diminish. This won't happen over night of course but the writing is on the wall..

Dipshot
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Dipshot 01/06/12 - 05:20 pm
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well stated wtinney.

well stated wtinney.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/06/12 - 05:28 pm
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What y'all are missing is

What y'all are missing is that although ASU is a smallish type community college and most medical schools are not affiliated with smaller colleges, this will give ASU enormous prestige. Most colleges would kill for affiliation with a medical school. Look at how hard UGA worked to get the med school up there. Read the article about the University of Toledo experience. This will change ASU tremendously for the better.

It's a done deal in any case, so let's all work to make it a good thing and cheer them on as they take this historic step. Both schools are set to experience tremendous growth.

Dipshot
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Dipshot 01/06/12 - 05:56 pm
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Riverman.. that is one

Riverman.. that is one possibility but the more likely scenario is that this will diminish the stature of GHSU.. not elevate ASU, especially considering that UGA will also have its own medical school.. And btw, the state is planning having satellite medical school throughout the state.. Augusta will no longer be unique in the respective of having the only public state medical school. Now students will have a multitude of options.. with UGA being one of them. Augusta will still have a medical school, but instead of being the state flasgship public medical school it will be relegated to just the "Augusta" campus.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/06/12 - 06:06 pm
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Dipshot, realize the other

Dipshot, realize the other GHSU satellite campuses require work through GHSU Augusta. UGA is a complete medical school only paying lip service to GHSU.

But we are really off into two separate discussions here. I agree with you that there is going to be eventual ultimate challenge fighting between UGA and GHSU (whatever the new name). However, we have the prestige and facilities for decades here in Augusta.

What is unique now, and I readily admit it is a big jump because of the small size of ASU, is this merger that will enhance ASU tremendously and won't harm GHSU in any way.

slikki
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slikki 01/06/12 - 08:16 pm
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The moral of the story: this

The moral of the story: this town, in general, is afraid of change.

Dipshot
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Dipshot 01/06/12 - 11:57 pm
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yes, Augusta's resistance to

yes, Augusta's resistance to change has resulted in this.. GHSU will be diminished as well as ASU. Not all change is good.. this is one example.

prov227
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prov227 01/07/12 - 12:08 pm
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My understanding of the

My understanding of the "medical school" at UGA-Athens is that it is a satellite program for training family docs. Has it already morphed into training sub-specialists, allied health professionals, dentists, providing hospital services, etc.? UGA doesn't own a teaching hospital. Calling UGA a medical school is a big jump from a program that trains FPs.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/07/12 - 12:13 pm
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Prov227, you are mistaken.

Prov227, you are mistaken. It's a complete 4 year medical school in Athens with faculty and students. They are still using the affiliation with GHSU for accreditation, but their students never come here to Augusta during the 4 years they are in medical school.

prov227
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prov227 01/08/12 - 12:06 pm
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Riverman1, thanks for the

Riverman1, thanks for the information. I stand corrected.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/08/12 - 12:16 pm
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Prov227, thanks for the

Prov227, thanks for the thanks...a rarity around these parts.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 01/08/12 - 12:17 pm
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Why is riverman so right so

Why is riverman so right so many times????

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/08/12 - 12:28 pm
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SeenItB4 asked, "Why is

SeenItB4 asked, "Why is riverman so right so many times????"

SeenIt, when I make your check out how many dependents do you want to claim on your W-4 Form?

RocketPride
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RocketPride 01/10/12 - 11:18 am
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I wish this article had taken

I wish this article had taken a more skeptical look at the University of Toledo situation. Obviously UT President Lloyd Jacobs has a number of positive things to say about the merger; his reputation as an effective administrator depends on its success. However, the sense of the faculty and staff at the original UT is that the former Medical College of Ohio forcibly attached itself to the university in order to right a sinking ship. While Jacobs seems to run a decent hospital, he has no idea how to preside over an academic institution. The academic mission of the University of Toledo has taken a hit in the five years since it was merged with the medical school, alumni donations are floundering, and enrollment has at best been flat in recent semesters.

yabbadabba
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yabbadabba 01/13/12 - 11:53 am
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I don't see how this is a bad

I don't see how this is a bad thing. If they TAKE THEIR TIME and do this right. Don't rush into consolidation over the 18 month period, then things will work out well. Have a 4-5 year plan on slowly making this work. There are too many "back in my day" folks in Augusta. Go out and play golf and leave the hard decisions up to folks who want progressive change.

Also, call it the University of Augusta! It is OUR university. Let's embrace it!!!

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