The University of Utah will ask lawmakers next year for enough money to not only restore its medical school class size but expand it by another 20 seats over the next two years.
U. officials have calculated the annual cost of such an expansion, a potential increase of 40 students in each class of the four-year program, at $12.2 million. In a “cost-sharing” proposal, the university will ask the state to cover $9.6 million, which would bring Utah more in line with levels of state support enjoyed by most public medical schools, said Vivian Lee, the U.’s senior vice president for health sciences.
“That’s 160 extra bodies to be trained at any given moment. The physicians feel it is the right thing to do. We have a physician shortage coming. We have a great curriculum. It’s the perfect time to get more kids in the pipeline so they’ll be physicians when we need them,” said Lee, who is midway through her first year at the helm of the university’s $2 billion medical enterprise.
She also expects to seek approval to act on a $30 million pledge from an anonymous donor to establish a school of dentistry at the U.