ST. CLOUD (WJON News) -- The CentraCare Board of Directors voted unanimously in support to build a medical school campus in St. Cloud.

The proposed medical school is a partnership between CentraCare and the University of Minnesota Medical School, with the purpose of training medical students to serve rural communities across the state.

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CentraCare President and CEO Ken Holmen says this partnership provides career development opportunities for the next generation of physicians.

The best solution to address the physician shortage in rural Minnesota is to train new physicians in the communities in which we want them to serve.

More than one third of rural providers plan to leave the workforce by 2027.

Specifics about the medical school expansion continue to be developed, but the plan calls for the campus to be open in 2025.

CentraCare says an estimated 24 students will be enrolled in the first class, with plans to enroll as many as 80 students as the program grows.

The vote comes on the heels of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents meeting last week, where the Regents voted unanimously for the two organizations to develop and oversee a comprehensive rural health program.





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