Shared from the 6/5/2019 The Denver Post eEdition

CU, CSU partner for program

Joint medical-school branch looks to enroll first students in 2021

Colorado State University and the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine are teaming up, drawing on each institution’s expertise to open a Fort Collins medical-school branch specializing in health care’s impacts on patients and society at large.

Organizers of the program, expected to enroll its first students in 2021, hope to draw on CU’s leading medical education and research programs along with CSU’s niche in human, animal and public health for a well-rounded approach to medicine, according to the two universities.

“At the new medical school branch, students will learn in and from the local community alongside other health professionals,” Dr. Suzanne Brandenburg, professor of medicine at the School of Medicine on CU’s Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, said in a statement.

“With this expansion, we hope to capitalize on the diverse expertise at CSU, to frame health care broadly, instilling in medical students a comprehensive view of our impact on society, considering not just the patient but also communities, populations and the planet.”

Brandenburg, who has been tasked with getting the partnership off the ground, called the collaboration the first major education partnership between the two higher education institutions, although she said the schools have a strong partnership when it comes to medical research.

“I think this is new territory,” Brandenburg said in an interview.

Students in the program would be attending class at CSU while earning medical degrees from the CU School of Medicine. Lessons would be taught by existing faculty from both universities with the understanding that new positions may be created and hired for as needed, according to a news release.

“As university leadership, we have long contemplated and discussed bringing together our two world-class medical education programs at CSU and CU,” Tony Frank, CSU president and chancellor, said in a statement. “In the last year-and-a-half, our teams have worked together on this project, and I am enormously proud of everyone who has worked so diligently to make it a reality.”

The first class in the four-year program is expected to be about a dozen students, but it could grow to as many as 48 students per year, according to a news release.

Before the program kicks off, officials needs to recruit faculty and prepare documentation required by CU’s accrediting body, which has to approve the branch before it can open.

Brandenburg has been recruiting providers in the Northern Colorado medical community “because a successful medical education program will depend on outstanding clinical learning opportunities,” according to the news release. Brandenburg described Fort Collins as a “wonderful community” full of talented clinicians that will make for a welcome place for students to “grow up” in the profession.

“As health care gets more and more complex, it’d be great if students are able to understand that it’s not just about the patient in front of them but the social implications, the climate, the planet — all these other factors impacting health care,” Brandenburg said. “That relationship is something we can nurture.”

Mark Stetter, dean of CSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, said there’s still an incredible number of details to be worked out, including building the facilities in Fort Collins, hiring people and ensuring everything is properly accredited.

The fourth floor of the CSU Health and Medical Center is being built out to accommodate classrooms and administrative offices. CU’s medical school already has begun preparing a new curriculum.

“We are stronger together,” Brandenburg said. “It’s an increasingly complex landscape in front of us, so we’re better off joining forces to bring expertise to train the next generation of health care providers.”

Elizabeth Hernandez: 303-954-1311, or


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