New medical school on track for 2017 opening

This architectural rendering shows the final appearance of the new Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Southern Utah branch. Construction of the university is on track for a planned July 2017 opening, Ivins, Utah, Nov. 22, 2016 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Construction on a new medical school in Ivins is on track for the school’s opening date in July 2017, and applications are being taken for prospective doctors.

The Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Southern Utah branch, will be the second medical school in Utah, the first being the University of Utah School of Medicine.

“We are currently accepting student applications and we’re interviewing students,” Rocky Vista Admissions and Marketing Coordinator Tommy Gugino said.

The school has started accepting students to fill the 125 open seats for the first class. Rocky Vista will be a four-year program. However, only two years will be spent on campus.

“We’ll never have more than around 250 on campus at once,” Gugino said.

After the second year, students will be assigned to rotations in a hospital or medical office.

“The students are really excited, especially the ones from Utah. They’re excited to have another option here in the state,” Gugino said.

“Not as many students will have to leave the state in order to pursue medical education.”

In January, Rocky Vista will start hiring for teaching positions as well as accounting and administration positions, Gugino said.

Osteopathic physicians are medical doctors with more specialized training in osteopathic manipulation, similar to what chiropractors do, he said.

“They take a much more holistic approach. So when you come in complaining about a pain, they not only look at the pain but then they look at the overall patient,” Gugino said, “and they sort of look at your life, your lifestyle, and they care about you holistically.”

Construction on the 104,000-square-foot medical school with adjacent student housing is progressing quickly, Gugino said.

The school is located at the northeast corner of the intersection of Center Street and 200 East on 30 acres adjacent to the Southern Utah Veterans Home.

The first class of medical students is expected to begin in mid-July 2017. The university also purchased the former Snow Canyon Clinic building across the street from the new medical school to use for administrative offices and clinical practice.

Rocky Vista is expected to have regionwide benefits by providing opportunities for local students to attend and then practice medicine in Southern Utah. In addition, students, faculty and visiting family members will benefit the region economically.

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1 Comment

  • .... November 23, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    This is absolutely fantastic news and I’m sure this will result in a positive reaction from the community and all those involved. Praise the Lord

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