Jacksonville University (JU) announced plans to open Northeast Florida’s first four-year medical school by 2026 in partnership with the country’s largest medical school, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM). The inaugural class will be made up of 75 students, but is expected to grow to 150 students per year by 2030.
The Jacksonville region is known for its leading health care landscape, consisting of one of only three Mayo Clinics, one of six Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Centers, the UF Proton Therapy Institute and cutting-edge medical companies including Medtronic, McKesson, Availity, Forcura and many others.
The opening of LECOM at Jacksonville University will provide a pipeline of physicians into the industry, which has seen a national staffing shortage, as more students in the area will be able to pursue a doctor of osteopathic (DO) degree and remain in the region. The school will also complement JU’s strengthened efforts in applied health sciences, orthodontics and nursing, including its 12-month accelerated nursing program, which launches at the university’s Palm Coast satellite campus in Flagler County in January 2023.
Regional hospitals including Baptist Health, HCA Florida Memorial Hospital, Brooks Rehabilitation, Flagler Health+ and others are supporting the future medical school by entering into long-term clinical education agreements with the university. Students in their third and fourth year of the program will train under physicians in the area to work in an actual health care setting and gain real-world experience.
The health and biomedical industry is expected to be the largest driver of growth in the nation’s economy throughout the next decade. As osteopathic medicine is one of the fastest-growing health care professions, LECOM at Jacksonville University will provide ample opportunities to prepare local talent to care for Northeast Floridians and beyond.