Governor Cuomo Announces Accreditation for New Medical School at CUNY

Governor Cuomo announced the accreditation for the CUNY School of Medicine, located on the City College campus in Harlem. The new medical school will increase access to an academically intensive medical education and train physicians for underserved communities across the state.

"This action increases employment, research and learning opportunities for students and faculty members at CUNY School of Medicine in Harlem and will help our next generation of healthcare workers serve communities across New York State,” Governor Cuomo said. “This new school is another step toward making medical care more accessible for all New Yorkers.”

The CUNY School of Medicine will launch its inaugural class in 2016 in partnership with St. Barnabas Health System in the South Bronx.

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education, a U.S. Department of Education recognized accreditor of medical education programs leading to the MD degree, has approved the new school following an extensive review of its academic program, teaching facilities and clinical partnership.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, New York State and the nation face a critical shortage of doctors. By 2025, it is estimated that the demand for physicians will exceed supply by a range of 46,000 to 90,000. For primary care physicians, the shortfall is expected to be between 12,500 and 31,000 doctors. According to a 2013 Kaiser Family Foundation study, New York State is meeting only 40 percent of its primary care needs, one of the lowest rates in the country.

Chancellor James B. Milliken said, "We thank Governor Cuomo and state and city leaders for their support of CUNY's historic commitment of access to high quality health care education for underrepresented constituencies in New York. The new medical school is a logical and necessary expansion of the college’s prestigious 40-year old biomedical program that has gained recognition as a leader in educating underrepresented minorities for medical practice. CUNY and City College will award the MD degree for the first time in its nearly 170-year history."

Chancellor Milliken also expressed appreciation to City College President Lisa S. Coico, Dr. Maurizio Trevisan, MD, Provost and Dean of the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, and their team for “outstanding work toward making possible establishment of the CUNY School of Medicine at City College.”

President Coico said, “Since its founding in 1847, City College has provided a high-quality, affordable education for New Yorkers who might otherwise not attend college. The new CUNY School of Medicine at City College is a natural extension of our bold founding mission that will open doors to underrepresented students and train caring physicians for underserved communities across our city and state. Our unique academic program infuses an ethos of service and social justice. Whether our graduates serve as primary care physicians, pediatricians or plastic surgeons, all are expected to have a deep commitment to serving underserved communities.”

Scott Cooper, MD, president and CEO of SBH Health System, which includes St. Barnabas Hospital, praised the partnership with CCNY, stating, “Like CUNY, we have a congruent mission to provide quality care to underserved communities. With our combined resources and commitment, those facing health disparities will have more than good reason to hope.”

The CUNY School of Medicine received “Accredited – Preliminary Status” designation from LCMD on June 10. Preliminary status accreditation is a major milestone for the new medical school and is the outgrowth of an intensive, voluntary, peer-review process of quality assurance that determines whether the program meets established standards. This process also fosters institutional and program improvement.

The first CUNY School of Medicine class of 70 students will begin in the fall 2016. A campaign is underway to raise $20 million in interest-free loans for those students.

Congressman Charles B. Rangel said, “With the establishment of the CUNY School of Medicine, residents in the immediate vicinity of the school as well as all across the city will now have increased access to primary care. For too long, communities across the city and across the state have suffered due to a critical shortage of medical professionals. Now, with the CUNY School of Medicine, we are now able to provide desperately needed medical care in underserving communities and also work towards closing the shortage of medical professionals not only in New York but also throughout the country.”

Senator Adriano Espaillat said, “The validation of the Sophie Davis School as a fully accredited CUNY School of Medicine is a momentous occasion for some of our most ambitious students who are pursuing promising medical careers in a number of underserved communities throughout the state. This program combines a thorough academic curriculum with the hands-on experience necessary to pave the way for students to become the doctors and nurses we so desperately need to support patients across the state.”

Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright said, "With the launch of the CUNY School of Medicine, students can continue their medical education and careers right here in our backyard. We're helping to resolve the troubling shortage of medical professionals in New York State while improving primary care options for our communities that suffer from restricted access to the necessary care. I am elated to welcome the new CUNY School of Medicine to Harlem and look forward to a great partnership between our community and the University."

Councilmember Inez E. Dickens said “With the accreditation of the Sophie Davis School as a CUNY School of Medicine, patients in underserved communities can begin to breathe easier knowing that homegrown doctors and nurses are on the way, beginning with the class of 2016. This medical school acts not only as a beacon of hope to families in need, but gives our students an opportunity to chase their professional goals at one of the most exceptional physician training programs in the nation.”

The CUNY School of Medicine at City College builds on the strong record of achievement of the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. Founded in 1973 with the generous support from college benefactors and alumni Leonard and Sophie Davis, the Sophie Davis School has placed a special focus on patient/doctor relationships so that its graduates, regardless of specialty, treat their patients with a unique patient-centered, culturally sensitive approach.

The Sophie Davis School has gained recognition as a leader in educating underrepresented minorities for medical practice. After five years of education at the Sophie Davis School, students have transferred to other, fully accredited medical schools for the last two years of clinical education. Due to increased demand for transfer slots, CUNY was faced with the decision of either closing its medical education program or developing a full program. To continue to serve the population of students at CUNY and the communities who depend on its graduates, the choice was clear. Over the past five years, about 43 percent of the students graduating from the Sophie Davis School have been black or Latino. In comparison, blacks comprise 6 percent of the nation’s medical school graduates. Latinos are 5 percent of the nation’s medical school graduates, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The transformation of the Sophie Davis School into a fully accredited CUNY School of Medicine will enable CUNY to expand its efforts to serve New York’s pressing health care needs by providing a unique medical education pathway for competent, caring physicians.

In its more than 40 years of educating students for medical practice, the Sophie Davis School developed the most unique physician training program in the nation, partnering with medical schools across New York and other states.

Moreover, the majority of Sophie Davis graduates are licensed to practice medicine in New York State, many in primary care, with most serving in physician shortage areas or serving a patient base that is underserved. The CUNY School of Medicine is also expected to provide its students with earlier clinical experiences through a curriculum incorporating coursework and experiential learning alongside the medical training to become leaders in community care across the nation.