Ponce Health Sciences University, Mercy Health System, and AMOpportunities partner to support underserved communities
AMOpportunities, a Chicago-based company that provides medical students and graduates with clinical training across the United States, today announced a partnership with Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU), an LCME-accredited medical school, and Missouri-based Mercy Hospital System to develop Mercy Hospital St. Louis into a clinical training site for PHSU’s MD program for medical students attending the new St. Louis campus.
PHSU has a proven track record of identifying candidates from underrepresented groups and developing them into primary care doctors. This partnership enables young people from the St. Louis area to both have a chance at becoming a doctor and serve their local communities.
PHSU engaged AMO as a consultant to identify the ideal health system that fit their criteria, vetting 100+ hospitals within a five-state radius of the greater St. Louis area. After identifying Mercy Health System as that system, AMO forged a partnership and managed the relationship through LCME approval. AMO will now assist Ponce in implementing and managing the clinical training for their students.
Mercy Health System focuses on treating patients in rural areas. This partnership will now help provide the system’s patients with better access to healthcare.
“AMO successfully forged a relationship between PHSU and Mercy, which represents the marriage of a school that is the best at developing doctors from disadvantaged medical school areas and pairing that with a system that critically needs physicians from those groups,” says Kyle Swinsky, CEO, AMOpportunities. “We’re working with PHSU and Mercy in this endeavor to provide training to underserved groups of students who can help solve the healthcare access problem and elevate trainees who deserve a chance as much as students that come from affluent backgrounds.”
The partnership was announced during an event at the St. Louis campus on Tuesday, Aug. 24. Speakers included Dr. David Lenihan, JD, PhD, CEO of Tiber Health and president of Ponce Health Sciences University, Jose Torres-Ruiz, PhD, and John R. (Jay) Ashcroft, Missouri’s Secretary of State. Rep. Jim Murphy of Missouri also attended.
PHSU is slated to welcome their first cohort of MD students to begin classes at the St. Louis campus in August 2022. It’s the first time in history a non-mainland LCME school has opened a campus within the 50 United States.
AMO’s work is foundational in connecting PHSU and their students with local teaching sites with the hope that if they train locally, they will choose to work locally, a matter of critical importance due to the impending physician shortage and current Covid-19 pandemic.
By 2033, the U.S. could see a shortage of between 54,000 and 139,000 physicians, according to the AAMC. In Missouri, that number is estimated to reach 3,100. This shortage primarily takes place in rural, underserved communities.
“AMOpportunities was and continues to be a critical piece of our MD program’s expansion into St. Loui. By identifying an opportunity at Mercy and building the relationship between our leadership teams, they played a key role in forging our flagship partnership with Mercy St. Louis” says Dr. David Lenihan, JD, PhD, CEO of Tiber Health and president of Ponce Health Sciences University. “We look forward to working with them as we build a program that we believe will make a huge impact on this community.”