July 12, 2022
Building the Next Generation of Expert Care Close to Home: Meritus Pursues Opening Medical School
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The Proposed Meritus School of Osteopathic Medicine will address community health needs
HAGERSTOWN, Md. – Meritus Health is officially moving forward with the accreditation and licensure process in order to open a four-year medical school in Hagerstown.
“Our mission is to improve health in the region,” explained Meritus Health President and CEO Maulik Joshi. “As an anchor organization for this community, it is our privilege and obligation to positively impact the lives of over 200,000 people in our region. The proposed Meritus School of Osteopathic Medicine will do that. It will change the game for the health, education and economy for everyone.”
The decision comes after thorough due diligence on behalf of Joshi’s senior executive team and the Meritus Health Board of Directors. Joshi explained, faced with a shortage of over 50 physicians this presents an opportunity to address that need.
“The needs for our community, and communities like us throughout Maryland and the United States, centers on having access to great physicians. That is the foundation and a huge need in Washington County. The proposed Meritus School of Osteopathic Medicine gives us the opportunity to train physicians in an environment like ours; focused on the health of the community. Physicians who train in our community will be more likely to practice in our community.”
Additionally, Joshi pointed out the school will bring economic benefit to the region.
“Independent impact analysis shows that the proposed school will contribute over $100 million a year of economic benefit for the community and state,” he explained. “But most of all, it will allow the area to reduce the gap in current and future physician shortages. Physicians are essential to access, which is essential to meeting the health needs of the community.”
Meritus Health is planning for the matriculation of the first class in the fall of 2025. The school’s almost 200,000 square foot, state-of-the-art academic building will be constructed on the Meritus Medical Center campus, and student housing will be built adjacent to the campus.
To support Meritus in the pursuit of accreditation, Paula Gregory, DO, MBA, FACOFP has been hired as the inaugural dean for the proposed Meritus School of Osteopathic Medicine.
“I am thrilled to be supporting this vision,” she said. “Currently, there are so many promising candidates who wish to become physicians that struggle to find the right educational opportunity. It is our hope that we will provide access to education, and in turn, expand access to healthcare in the region.”
Dr. Gregory brings to the organization and the community tremendous experience and expertise as a physician, educator and leader. She received her undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Georgia and her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.
Among her many achievements, Dr. Gregory served as Assistant Dean and Chair of Clinical Education at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine - Georgia campus, where she started a free clinic in association with the Pilgrim Cathedral Church. Dr. Gregory was also the founding Dean and Chief Administrative Officer of the Kansas City University School of Medicine and Bioscience – Joplin campus.
Dr. Gregory is joining Meritus from California Health Sciences University where she served as the Chair of Primary Care.
Dr. Gregory has taught clinical education for more than three decades and also serves as the current Associate Editor of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physician's peer-reviewed journal, Osteopathic Family Medicine.