Mercyhurst College and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) today announced a partnership that will create new educational and health care opportunities for both institutions while fostering their collaboration on a variety of research projects. This agreement brings LECOMphysicians to the Mercyhurst campus to provide clinical care for all students, team doctors for the ‘Hurst athletic department, and medical education and clinical experiences for students in Mercyhurst’s Department of Sportsmedicine.
LECOM and Mercyhurst officials offered details of the three-part agreement during a press conference on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at the John M. & Silvia Ferretti Medical Fitness and Wellness Center at W. 54th and Peach Streets.
Effective immediately, LECOM physicians will deliver medical education and clinical experiences for sports medicine students, specifically teaching a course called “Medical Education Laboratory II” and serving as guest lecturers throughout the academic year.
“With the challenges of health care that we now face, it’s important to bring medical education to a broader group of students than just those at LECOM,” said President John M. Ferretti, D.O. “The first goal of the osteopathic philosophy is preventive medicine through healthy lifestyles, and we see these young sports medicine students at Mercyhurst being able to address those challenges. By working alongside our physicians and fitness trainers, these students should learn how to bring the message of fitness and wellness to the young athletes and non-athletes that they will train.”
“We envision this new alliance as two local institutions pursuing areas of mutual interest to our collective benefit and that of our respective constituencies,” said Mercyhurst College President Dr. Thomas J. Gamble. “We look forward to a fruitful and productive relationship that will result in long-term synergy and strategic planning between our two institutions.”
As part of the agreement, athletic training majors, pre-physical therapy students as well as pre-med and health fitness promotion students will observe and shadow health specialists at the LECOM Wellness Center and its affiliated Millcreek Community Hospital.
“Adding this very large wellness and medical facility into the total clinical experience that we offer our sports medicine students provides an even greater opportunity for them to observe and learn from allied health care professionals,” said Mercyhurst Sportsmedicine department chair Bradley Jacobson. “We are very excited about the possibilities, especially joint research ventures and regional sports medicine symposiums.”
The possibilities, Gamble said, also include a proposed new graduate program in sports medicine, which would take the college’s complement of master’s degree programs to seven.
“A central piece of that proposal involves research and the availability of graduate assistantships and that is where we believe our new partnership with LECOM will be particularly advantageous,” Gamble said.
Meanwhile, under the new partnership, LECOM, through Medical Associates of Erie, will provide physician services for the college’s Cohen Student Health Center. The college will continue to operate the facility and maintain its current staff of nurses and office personnel, but Mercyhurst students will benefit from increased on-site visits by LECOM doctors.
Physicians’ assistants and nurse practitioners will be available on an as-needed basis. Students requiring care beyond what the infirmary can handle will be referred to Medical Associates of Erie, which is part of the LECOM system.
Finally, the LECOM sports medicine physicians will become the medical care provider for Mercyhurst athletes, delivering a multitude of services, including team physicals, physician coverage at athletic contests, rehabilitation services at LECOM’s Wellness Center and oversight of protocols in Mercyhurst’s athletic training rooms.