Ground Broken for First Tribe-Affiliated Medical School in Indian Country

This week, shovels dug into Earth to make way for the first Tribe-affiliated medical school in the United States built on Tribal land.

Cherokee Nation and Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences leaders broke ground on the 84,000 square-foot OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation on Monday.

The new, accredited medical school campus will be located on the W.W. Hastings campus in Tahlequah.

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“Health care in Indian Country took a major step forward today with the historic groundbreaking of the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “We believe this school will produce a new wave of medical students who will possess the medical knowledge and the mindset to reside and practice in northeast Oklahoma, positively impacting Cherokee Nation health care and other health care systems across the region.”

The facility will feature state-of-the-art classrooms, lecture halls and cutting-edge technology such as computer-programmable manikins and medical simulation.

The college is slated to open with 50 students in 2020. The medical school is expected to serve 200 students when it becomes fully operational. The first graduating class is expected to complete their medical education at the new facility in May 2024.

Cherokee Nation citizen and OSU medical school student Ryan Young recently completed his first year at OSU’s medical school in Tulsa and is excited for the opportunity future medical school students will have to receive their education close to home.

“The new medical school campus will allow future students to have an easier transition into medical school,” Young said. “They won’t be moving to a different town or area. They’ll be going to school in their hometown, which I would have loved that opportunity.”

The new medical school will include 16 full-time faculty, five part-time faculty and numerous adjunct clinical faculty, and is certified by the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation.