The ongoing debate that surrounds the health care challenges in the United States continues. One crucial factor in the quest for solutions is often overlooked. In the United States, there is a great need for the next generation of physicians to be socially conscious, community based and expertly trained. That's precisely the mission of the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University.
As The New York Times recently reported, there is an imbalance in American medicine that has been growing for a quarter century. Many bright students are forced to attend offshore medical schools. Others, failing to get into qualified medical schools, have given up hope entirely and gone on to professions and jobs where they cannot serve the greater good.
The FIU College of Medicine is already beginning to reverse these trends with an innovative curriculum. We are working boldly to create not just great physicians, but community leaders who think holistically, globally and locally.
Our commitment to community is real as evidenced by our innovative Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELP™(Health Education Learning Program) which puts medical students in teams with students of other disciplines to address the complex medical, social and ethical issues experienced by medically underserved families in South Florida. This is not theory. This is practice. And it's happening now. Our students and our community are better for it.
Somewhat remarkably, our young college is also making significant progress in research and translational science - taking discoveries out of the laboratory to the next level, the clinical setting, in order to help people in our communities.
In the United States, we're facing a growing population, the aging of the health-conscious baby-boom generation, and the retirement of as many as a third of current physicians. Additionally, changes in health care policy may bring hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of new patients into our health care system. To meet these challenges, our country will need many more great physicians who are culturally sensitive and dedicated to improving the quality and access to health care. At the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, we are proud to be doing our part.
John A. Rock, M.D.
Founding Dean of the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Florida International University