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Medical school hopes to start classes in ’15
College receives pre-accreditation
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Dr. Noel T. Boaz stands with a drawing of the College of Henricopolis School of Medicine planned for uptown Martinsville. (Bulletin file photo)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

By BEN R. WILLIAMS - Bulletin Staff Writer

If the accreditation process goes smoothly, the College of Henricopolis School of Medicine will begin offering Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) classes in fall 2015, according to Dr. Noel T. Boaz.

The college will be on the corner of Fayette and Moss streets in uptown Martinsville in a building donated by Dr. Mervyn and Virginia King.

By April 1, Boaz said, the college will have submitted its final paperwork to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), which grants accreditation to medical schools. LCME has pre-accredited the college, he said, making it one of only four pre-accredited medical schools in the country.

“If we make that (deadline), and we fully expect to, they will then make a decision on our application by June,” Boaz said.

Boaz said a medical school must have accreditation for a full year before starting classes, making fall 2015 the earliest that M.D. classes could be offered at the college.

Additionally, he said, the college has made its fourth submission to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, which would approve the college’s actual M.D. curriculum. A decision from the organization is expected as early as this month, he said.

In preparation for the accreditation, Boaz said, the college has tapped “an eminent medical school dean” to serve as dean of the college, although an official announcement will not be made until February or March.

Also, two faculty members are “beginning to make plans to transition here fully” in the coming months, Boaz said. Over the next two months, he added, the college hopes to double its board membership due to regulatory requirements.

Although it may be a while before the College of Henricopolis opens its doors to M.D. students, the nonprofit Integrative Centers for Science and Medicine (ICSM) has had two productive years of establishing educational, research and clinical programs to support the college and prepare students to attend it, and will continue to expand its offerings this year, Boaz said.

Last year, he said, ICSM offered a variety of medical courses, such as “Clinical Gross Anatomy,” an intensive eight-week lecture and dissection summer course; “Human Gross Anatomy,” a two-semester lab course cooperatively operated with Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) that began in the fall and will continue this year; and “Workshop in Anatomical Ultrasonography of Soft-Embalmed (Thiel-Method) Cadavers.”

The latter course, Boaz said, is a first for the area, allowing students to work with cadavers that have been embalmed using a new process that leaves no formaldehyde odor, preserves color and maintains body flexibility.

“It gives us great opportunities to do a lot of things with teaching,” Boaz said, as the cadavers more closely resemble living bodies than do cadavers preserved with the traditional formaldehyde method.

ICSM and the College of Henricopolis are “already getting a reputation for innovation in medical education,” he said.

As another example, he said plans are in place to renovate the college’s Fayette Street building with the goal of making it the first “green” (environmentally friendly) medical education building in Virginia.

The renovations will require a total redesign, he said, including a solar panel array on the roof to provide electricity, with the hope of achieving the highest level of qualification offered by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Boaz fully expects 2014 to be a year of advancements for the school of medicine.

“We have a lot of balls in the air here,” he said. “We’re looking forward to making those announcements.”

 

 
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