After 16 months of construction, Rocky Vista University (RVU) has officially opened its new campus in Ivins, Utah: Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine – Southern Utah (RVUCOM-SU). As the first osteopathic medical school in Utah, this is a significant achievement and will bring more physicians to the area in the future.
On July 14th, a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony was held to celebrate the completion of the RVUCOM-SU building, attended by RVU’s Board of Trustees, the Executive Advisory Council, faculty and staff from both campuses, contractors, and key officials who have been instrumental to the success of this project. Among the speakers at the event were: Larry W. Anderson, DO, Immediate Past President of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians; a video message by Governor Gary Herbert; Eduardo Illanes, AIA, of OZ Architecture; David Park, DO, FAAFP, FACOFP, Campus Dean of RVUCOM-SU; Maha Sallam, PhD, Chair of the RVU Board of Trustees; and, Scott L. Wyatt, President of Southern Utah University.
The Inaugural Class of 2021, comprised of 135 students, began their medical education on July 24th. These students came to RVUCOM-SU from 24 different states, with 55% hailing from Utah and 48% having previously graduated from a Utah-based university.
Building an osteopathic medical school in Utah has been a long-time goal of Thomas N. Told, DO, FACOFP, dist., Dean of RVUCOM: “I’m a native Utahan and spent much of my life exploring the Capitol Reef country in Wayne County. As a young boy, I promised myself I’d become a country doctor and return one day to help the small towns of Utah find and keep their doctors since so many students must leave the state to become physicians.”
Despite being among the fastest growing states in the country, Utah is facing a large shortage of physicians with 58.4 primary care physicians per 100,000 people; the national average is 79.4 physicians per 100,000 people. “With the completion of RVUCOM-SU, many of Utah’s brightest will now be able to remain in their home state for their medical education—and eventually practice medicine here, as well,” said Dr. Told.
This new campus is a state-of-the-art, 104,000 square foot building, designed to complement the surrounding Red Rock Mountains. The building features two 200-seat auditoriums, 36 small group study rooms, a clinical skills lab, a full dissection anatomy lab, a simulation center, standardized patient rooms, and a 9,000 square foot library. RVUCOM-SU will be hosting a Community Open House on August 19th, which is open to the public. There will be a local vendor fair, a photo booth, food trucks, and campus tours.