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Education

Wichita State, KU move forward with idea of a centralized medical educational center

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Stephan Bisaha
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Kansas News Service/File photo

A news release said it’s estimated that the combined enrollment for the center could start at more than 2,500 students.

Wichita State, WSU Tech, and the University of Kansas schools of Medicine and Pharmacy are beginning the planning stages of a shared campus.

The campus, called the WSU/KU Healthcare Sciences Educational Center (HSEC), will centralize each of the educational institutions’ programs.

“This just makes health care an attractive option for people, and if they see this city and the universities working together and collaborating together that sends a different message than what we have now,” WSU President Rick Muma said.

A location has yet to be announced for the campus. But at a faculty town hall earlier this month, Muma has said it could be in downtown Wichita.

“I think actually downtown is where you would find something like this at any city who wants to grow or is growing.”

Muma, a licensed physician assistant, said in an interview that the location won’t be announced until later next year.

The Kansas Health Foundation will pay for the architectural plans to bring the schools together with a $50,000 grant.

“You know, I always use this as an analogy: You’re not ever going to get a grant if you don’t write for it, so this is the same thing,” Muma said. “You’re never going to get anything like this unless you plan for it and tell people this is what it’s going to look like and this is what’s needed and this is what we’re going to do with it.”

Additional funding for further developments is possible with existing funds at the state and federal level, Muma said.

“The time is right to have this conversation because of SPARKS money from the federal relief funds from the federal government the state has to spend over the next couple of years," he said. "There is additional resources at the state level that could potentially be earmarked for this, and what legislators and governors want is projects that create a legacy and this definitely fits that.”

This follows an announcement earlier this week from the Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine receiving the green light to begin recruiting students for next fall. The school will be located in downtown Wichita.

“It does make sense now more than ever to develop relationships we already have, and we have already done that with the DO school,” Muma said.

A news release said it’s estimated that the combined enrollment for the center could start at more than 2,500 students.