The nation’s largest medical school announced Tuesday it is making a 10-year commitment to expand new physician education and training opportunities at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.
The announcement was made at a news conference hosted by Richard Terry, D.O., M.B.A., the associate dean of academic affairs at the Elmira campus of the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), and Memorial President and CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo.
The medical school and medical center have been academic affiliates since 2009.
“LECOM, which has more enrolled students than any other medical school and is the most applied to medical school in the United States, will be making a substantial 10-year commitment to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center,” Ruffolo said. “This investment will enable Memorial to virtually double the number medical students we host annually, serve as a magnet for attracting and retaining physicians to the region, and greatly enhance our status as a catalyst for training health care professionals to serve the greater Niagara Region and beyond.”
Ruffolo said the medical school’s generous support over the next 10 years will help Memorial “further define and enhance our reputation as the very definition of workforce development: Building and growing the Niagara Medical Corridor that 10th Street has become and expanding opportunities not only for medical education, but for the training needed for other well-paying professional health care careers.”
"With the first class soon to begin at LECOM at Elmira in July of 2020, the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine is steadfastly committed to developing an ever-increasing number of clinical training sites for its students in medically underserved regions of New York state, such as in Niagara County,” Perry said. “On behalf of LECOM President and CEO Dr. John Ferretti, and Provost, Senior Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Silvia Ferretti, LECOM is proud to collaborate with Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center to further expand clinical medical education opportunities for our scholars.”
“Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center is an outstanding training facility and its partnership with LECOM – a superlative leader in medical education – will further enhance the ability of the Medical Center to ‘train and retain’ local students from Niagara County and from the surrounding region," Terry added.
Niagara County’s only teaching hospital, Memorial has a successful 40-year history of educating and training new doctors and has graduated more than 150 physicians from its family practice residency program. Many of those graduates subsequently enjoyed careers as practicing physicians in Western New York and specifically in the Niagara Region.
Accredited by the American Osteopathic Association and the American College of Osteopathic Family Practice, Memorial’s residency program is so well regarded that it currently has more than 950 applicants for the four openings it anticipates having next year. In addition, many LECOM students spend time at Memorial completing clinical rotations as part of their graduate medical education.
“Medical education and graduate medical education are in our DNA, as witnessed not only by our affiliation with LECOM but by our pharmacy residency program, our RN-to-BSN program with Niagara University, and the collaborative educational relationships we enjoy with Niagara County Community College, D’Youville College, University at Buffalo, Orleans-Niagara BOCES and many other schools across Western New York,” Ruffolo said.
Tuesday’s announcement included special recognition of Dr. Melvin Dyster, a 65-year member of Memorial’s medical staff and the founder of its family practice residency program. Forty years after laying the foundation for that program, Dyster still serves as its director emeritus.