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MONROE, La. — Grambling State University reached an early admissions agreement with an osteopathic medical school that is to start up classes in July at a private campus on the grounds of another public university in Louisiana.

Dr. Ray Morrison, dean of the newEdward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine campus,said Tuesday that he’s working on early admissions agreements with some other schools.

Grambling’s agreement would provide early admission for five Grambling sophomores a year to the Edward Via campus at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Morrison said the 100,000-square-foot (9,300-square meter) building is the first private campus at a public university in Louisiana. He added in an interview Tuesday that the arrangements took a lot of effort to work out.

The four-year medical college is hiring and expects to have about 150 students and 100 faculty and staff members when classes begin in July. Morrison said about 20 faculty and staff members are already at work. The building was completed in December but some interior fittings, such as desks and auditorium seats, are being installed, he said.

Morrison said the precise opening date hasn’t been set because four campuses must be coordinated. The school’s other campuses are at Auburn University in Alabama, Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, and in South Carolina at a private campus developed with a regional hospital in Spartanburg.

The college’s collaborative partnership with Louisiana-Monroe lets medical school students use university resources such as the athletic center and student union, and join athletics and other university activities, Morrison said. The agreement also allows faculty resource sharing and collaboration on education and research.

“The need for exceptional doctors in medically under-served and rural communities like North Louisiana has been on a steady increase for many years. That’s a gap that our students can fill,” said Connie Walton, Grambling’s vice president of academic affairs and provost.

“This agreement is one of the many ways that Grambling State is equipping our students for the nation’s most in-demand career fields,” her statement continued.

The early admission program at the osteopathic medicine college will seek to bring medical training to more people from rural areas and diverse backgrounds.

Grambling students would apply and interview for the Rocovich Scholars Early Admission Program during the spring of their sophomore year. They would need to have completed all required pre-medical coursework, have at least a 3.5 GPA, and have completed a required number of community service and health care volunteer hours.

Morrison said doctors of osteopathy get the same training as other medical students, along with an additional 200 hours in ways to manipulate the body for diagnosis and treatment.

His school will be the fourth four-year medical school in Louisiana. Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center has medical schools in New Orleans and Shreveport, and Tulane University has one in New Orleans. In addition, students from Australia’s University of Queensland spend their third and fourth years at UQ’s Ochsner Clinical School just outside New Orleans.

The Associated Press

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