College of Osteopathic Medicine receives new grant

Courtesy of SLAM Collaborative Architects | A groundbreaking ceremony for the proposed school will be held on March 1.

by Luke Henne | sports editor

Feb. 3, 2022

What Duquesne envisions for its proposed College of Osteopathic Medicine, set to open in the fall of 2024, is progressively gaining both momentum and monetary resources.

The university announced this past week that it received a $3 million grant for the osteopathic medicine school from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation, the largest it’s ever received from the foundation.

“I want to express our deep appreciation for the Henry L. Hillman Foundation for this important gift, which will prepare our future medical students with the tools and knowledge to provide the highest level of care to patients, including those most in need,” President Ken Gormley said in a news release.

“As we’ve seen with the Covid-19 pandemic, primary care doctors play a crucial role in keeping the public safe and healthy,” Gormley said. “With the help of this key Henry L. Hillman Foundation grant, physicians from our college of medicine will deliver essential help to vulnerable populations, both in urban and rural communities, furthering Duquesne’s long legacy of promoting health equity in this region and elsewhere.”

The foundation’s website states that it “supports great ideas and timely initiatives that are designed to take advantage of an emerging opportunity to improve the quality of life in Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania.”

According to the release, the funding will be allocated toward “state-of-the art” medical training equipment, including advanced simulation technologies, augmented reality anatomy labs and maker space.

Dr. John Kauffman, who was selected as the dean of the proposed osteopathic medicine school in 2019, feels that the grant is an essential step for the medical college’s future students.

“This grant will help ensure that our students receive exceptional training that will prepare them to provide compassionate, holistic care to underserved communities in Pittsburgh and beyond,” Kauffman said in the release. “With Duquesne’s expertise in nursing, pharmacy, health sciences and other disciplines, we are well positioned to educate the next generation of physicians.”

According to an August 2019 news release, the osteopathic medicine school will become “the second medical school in Pittsburgh and the first Catholic osteopathic medicine school in Pennsylvania.”

The osteopathic medicine school is expected to bring in an initial class of 75 students before expanding enrollment to a total of 600 students when it reaches full development.

Kauffman knows that such a grant is pivotal for bringing the best students to town.

“By providing our students with technologically advanced facilities and equipment, we will be able to provide a medical education experience not available at most other medical schools,” Kauffman said. “We believe that this will help us recruit the best and brightest students to train here at Duquesne.”

The building that houses the osteopathic medicine school will be located directly across Forbes Avenue from the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse, which reopened its doors to full-capacity crowds in 2021 after multiple years of renovations.

Bill Generett, the university’s senior vice president of civic engagement and external relations, is eager to see how the location of both the medical college and the fieldhouse will help build the identity of Pittsburgh’s Uptown neighborhood.

“We are excited to be part of the revitalization of the Uptown area,” Generett said in a news release. “The new building and surrounding area will spur economic growth and technological advancement, which will further benefit the community at large.”

In a time where Covid continues to take a toll on individuals abroad and the healthcare system as a whole, Duquesne repeatedly emphasizes the importance of health equity.

The university previously received a $2 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, according to a July 2021 news release, which “[would help] build the foundation for a new medical college and for health care equity in underserved rural and urban areas.”

Following July’s grant, Gormley said that the osteopathic medicine school “will be one of the most forward-looking medical schools in the country,” wherein future physicians will learn how to “serve communities, both urban and rural, that are in dire need of primary care doctors – including those that suffer disproportionately from poverty, low employment levels and other negative health determinants.”

There will be a groundbreaking ceremony to help pave the way for construction of the osteopathic medicine school, which is set to begin later this year, on March 1.