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LSU takes step to create Baton Rouge medical school - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

LSU takes step to create Baton Rouge medical school

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LSU is taking steps toward creating a new medical school branch in Baton Rouge. 
According to Baton Rouge-based newspaper The Advocate, LSU is asking a national accrediting agency to allow it to operate a branch of its New Orleans medical school there.
 
This comes on the heels of a near shut down of the Shreveport medical school this spring as it awaited a funding transfusion.
 
Just two months ago the state legislature finally got full-funding for Shreveport's medical school for the next fiscal year.
 
If you rewind to early May, Chancellor Robert Barish and Vice Chancellor Hugh Mighty were pleading with the senate finance committee for more money after finding out the medical school was $42 million short in the budget.
 
Despite the state's tight finances, it seems Baton Rouge is still aiming for a medical school. 

But the question remains, where will they get the money to back it?

This was the headline echoing through Baton Rouge this weekend: LSU seeks medical school expansion in Baton Rouge.

The report said senior medical students from LSU's New Orleans medical school could be phased into Baton Rouge as early as July.
 
New Orleans Chancellor Larry Hollier told The Advocate, "We could start a medical school program in Baton Rouge that's cost-effective and produces a whole new group of medical students."

But can the state support three medical schools?

Reporter Jessica Crandall called up Dr. Phillip Rozeman, a former graduate of the Shreveport medical school, to find out what he thinks of the new developments.

"I haven't heard of any direct plans in my travels to Baton Rouge for various organizations, but certainly there's been thought about it for a long time," said Rozeman.

He said the budget has to come first.
 
"When we make decisions about a new medical school, we also have to think about the impact on other areas. The budget is important, especially in the area of higher education," said Rozeman.

LSU's Shreveport campus had to be propped up last spring with $42 million from the state-run hospital. The hospital is about to be taken over by a non-profit board that has said such bailouts won't be possible.

Jessica tried to contact Chancellor Hollier Wednesday and was told his schedule was too tight for an interview. She also reached out to several of our local legislators and has yet to get a response.

Dr. Rozeman suggested if Baton Rouge wants a medical school they could follow Austin, Texas and tax themselves to pay for it.

Six months ago we reported on a proposal made by the Pennington Biomedical Research Center to create a new medical school in Baton Rouge.
 
The director of the center, Dr. Steven Heymsfield, said he and his colleagues were discussing a two-year, research-based medical program that would act as a satellite for other medical schools in the state.
 
He denied that any proposals were made to the state legislature.

Heymsfield said he understood how strapped the state was for cash and hoped to rely on private donors to fund the program.

"The donors could be philanthropists or they could be industry as well. There are companies that would be interested in creating a name branch medical school," said Heymsfield.

Heymsfield has since been replaced as director by William Cefalu. 

 

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