Wisconsinites lead effort to start new med school

Associated Press

July 24, 2014

JEFFERSON, Wis.  Two former University of Wisconsin Foundation executives have teamed up to create an alternative medical school in Jefferson.

Mark Lefebvre and Jennifer Kidon DeKrey each spent about two decades raising money for UW-Madison through the foundation. Now, they're forging a new effort to establish an osteopathic school after a separate group's proposal fell through, The Wisconsin State Journal reported.

"We're trying to bring more primary care to underserved areas," Lefebvre said.

Osteopathic Medical College of Wisconsin's $125 million project would be funded through donations, gifts and grants. It would enroll about 150 students the first year and eventually about 600 annually.

Lefebvre and DeKrey said their proposed Osteopathic Medical College of Wisconsin could keep more medical practitioners in the state. Because there are only two medical schools in Wisconsin, UW School of Medicine and Public Health and Medical College of Wisconsin, many students are forced to move if they don't get into one of the two programs.

"This is a tide that raises all boats," DeKrey said. "We're not in any way trying to threaten the two existing medical schools."

It's projected that Wisconsin will hit a shortage of nearly 2,200 doctors by 2030, according to a 2011 report by the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

The mayor of Jefferson, Dale Opperman, supports the proposal and said the city could gift some land to the school if it successfully moves forward.

Osteopathic doctors focus on disease prevention and sometimes do hands-on manipulations, often in rural areas.