Plans for Lower Eastern Shore's First Medical School Take Shape - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Plans for Lower Eastern Shore's First Medical School Take Shape

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md.- Filling a void, while benefiting the community. That is the goal of an exciting partnership to bring a medical school to Delmarva. Peninsula Regional Medical Center has teamed up with Salisbury University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in hopes of starting the lower Eastern Shore's very first medical school.

PRMC CEO and President Dr. Peggy Naleppa said there is a significant shortage of physicians here on Delmarva. The goal of filling that need is what got the ball rolling on proposing the new medical school. The proposal means instead of crossing the bridge to Baltimore, patients on Delmarva could get healthcare from physicians trained in their own backyard.

"It's an exciting time," Naleppa said. "The project stands with a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Maryland and I have signed that, University of Maryland Eastern Shore Dr. Juliette Bell and Salisbury University, Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach, and the memorandum of understanding is to proceed with the feasibility and the development, first, of a residency program, and then to move forward with a medical school."

Salisbury University President Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach said SU already has an outstanding health sciences program, making this partnership a good fit.

"Salisbury University will likely offer many of the courses at an introductory level that will get students into the medical school," she explained.

The same is true for UMES, which boasts a new pharmacy program and will offer a physician's assistant master's degree program this fall.

"Having a joint effort with the other partners in this endeavor will allow us to expand our offerings and to attract students to the region who can help support the regional economic development for the lower eastern shore," noted UMES President Juliette Bell.

It may be a long way off, but a medical school here on the Lower Eastern Shore could come with huge benefits.

"The goal is really two-fold," explained Dudley-Eshbach. "It is to bring more doctors to the shore and to promote a healthier populace, really. And the other thing is, economically, in terms of where this might lead and the influx of new residents and resources, it's a really exciting initiative in that regard as well."

According to Naleppa, the feasibility study will be conducted over the next several months to determine where exactly the new medical school might go, although it could take a while to gain funding and get it built. However, she said PRMC is working closely with the University of Maryland to get a residency program started as soon as possible.

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