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The new CUNY School of Medicine was established with the goal of providing increased access to intensive medical education and training more physicians for underserved communities across New York State.
Located on the City College campus near 138th Street in Harlem, the medical school will partner with the Bronx-based St. Barnabas Health System. The inaugural class of 70 students will start in the fall of 2016, and upon graduation they will receive the first MD degree awarded by CUNY in its nearly 170-year history.
The accreditation of the school was announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo on July 14, 2015, following an effort by leaders at City College’s Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education in providing a low-cost option for CUNY students to become physicians. Sophie Davis offers a seven-year degree program that includes three years of undergraduate education and two years of medical school, but students had to finish up at schools outside the CUNY system.
The transformation of the Sophie Davis School into a fully accredited CUNY School of Medicine will enable CUNY to expand its efforts to serve New York’s pressing health care needs. According to a 2013 Kaiser Family Foundation study, New York State is meeting only 40 percent of its primary care needs, one of the lowest rates in the country. The school is also expected to provide students with earlier clinical experiences through a curriculum that incorporates coursework and experiential learning alongside medical training, spurring its graduates to become leaders in community care across the nation.
The CUNY School of Medicine will build on the strong recognition the Sophie Davis School has gained as a leader in educating underrepresented minorities for medical practice. Over the past five years, about 43 percent of the students graduating from the Sophie Davis School have been black or Latino. In comparison, blacks make up 6 percent of the nation’s medical school graduates while Latinos comprise 5 percent, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.