AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, or VCOM, broke ground on its third location Thursday in the Auburn Research Park.
"We right now are among the leaders in the preparation of primary care physicians. Last year, two-thirds of our graduates selected primary care. There are students expected to go out into rural and under served areas and spend their lifetime delivering healthcare to those most in need," explains John Rocovich, VCOM Chairman of the Board of Directors.
In 2012, VCOM, the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation and Auburn University signed a collaboration agreement to work together to bring VCOM to Alabama.
The four story, 90,000 square foot building adjacent to AU's campus will hold research programs with AU and programs for the current VCOM students training in hospitals within Alabama.
"There is not a sector with Auburn University and our land grant mission that cannot participate in some kind of partnership or collaboration with VCOM," says Jimmy Sanford of AU's Board of Trustees.
AU believes adding another medical college in Alabama will help aid medical care in the state and its need for more doctors.
"Our specific mission is to meet the unmet need for physicians in rule and under served areas in the southern Appalachian region. 61 of Alabama's counties are under served," explains Rocovich.
AU graduate and VCOM student Grant Nelson says VCOM has allowed him to follow his dream and now with the partnership of his undergraduate university and medical school, he is excited to one day serve people back on the plains.
"I want to come back to Alabama to practice. It's given me a great opportunity to come back here to practice," says Nelson.
State funds will not be required for construction or operations of VCOM, resulting in no cost to taxpayers.
VCOM is applying for accreditation, and when approvals are complete, the college hopes to welcome its first 150 students in the fall of 2015.