Medical College of Wisconsin Contemplates Adding New Programs, Campuses to Meet Workforce Needs

In an effort to more effectively meet health care workforce needs in Wisconsin, officials from the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) are discussing the possibility of adding new programs at its Wauwatosa campus.

If implemented, the new programs could include a physician assistant master’s program and a master’s degree in genetic counseling, which would help address the increasing demand for genetic counselors following the surge of personalized medicine.

“We recognize that the physician workforce is only one small component of overall health care delivery and that MCW has an obligation to meet the workforce needs of our partners here in the region — both the main partners of the VA, Children’s (Hospital of Wisconsin) and Froedtert — but also our partners across the state,” Dr. John Raymond, president and chief executive officer of MCW told the Milwaukee Business News. “And that will involve new programs.”

Increasing its program offerings at the campus would allow the college to match other successful health sciences institutions that provide a larger variety of health-related disciplines, including social work, dentistry, nursing and public health programs, Raymond said.

There is also plans for a potentially new PA program that would separate itself from existing programs by permitting students to specialize in certain areas like pediatrics, genomic medicine, behavioral health or cancer, Raymond added.

“As we move into the era of precision medicine or genomic medicine, personalized medicine, we’re going to need more genetic counselors that can help the physicians and other clinicians talk to their patients about the significance of their genome, or their microbiome, and what that means for their families and what their treatment options are,” Raymond said.

Both programs are still in the planning phase and would need board approval.

The possibility of adding new campuses to MCW is “always on the table”, however, Raymond said. One potential location for a new campus could include southwestern Wisconsin, an area that would resemble MCW’s regional campuses in Green Bay and Wausau.

Southeastern Wisconsin’s I-94 North-South corridor is another area that MCW officials are looking as a possible location for a new campus. A campus that region would reflect the tech-oriented environment in development there, Raymond said.

“That’s a high-tech growth corridor,” he said. “We would probably focus a regional campus there on engineering, technology innovation and being comfortable in the health care environment of the future and being comfortable being innovators and entrepreneurs.”

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