The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and Mount Carmel Health Systems announced an affiliation this summer, but the exact details of the agreement have not yet been released.
The affiliation came about in an attempt to improve the quality of healthcare in central Ohio, as well as provide increased collaboration in medical education and research.
A June 18 press release from the OSU Wexner Medical Center said the organizations will work together to strengthen “clinical care, research and medical education” for students and physicians.
While the collaboration aims to promote clinical care by “improving access, lowering costs and increasing the quality and coordination of care,” according to the release, opportunities for medical students and researchers are still being discussed.
Mount Carmel spokeswoman Bailey Cultice said the details of new opportunities for OSU medical students and researchers through Mount Carmel are not quite clear because the two health systems are not far enough along in the affiliation.
Past collaborations between the health systems, however, may give some indication of what medical students and researchers might be able to expect.
In the past, both health systems have integrated obstetrics and gynecology residency training programs, joint investment in Madison County Community Hospital, clinical rotations at Mount Carmel for OSU College of Medicine students and shared physician coverage for maternal-fetal medicine, according to the release.
Gail Marsh, OSU Wexner Medical Center senior associate vice president for health sciences and chief strategy officer, said for now, the affiliation is about increasing the number of opportunities for both organizations.
“OSU and Mount Carmel already enjoy some joint training programs and anticipate that this new partnership will lead to expanded opportunities and sites for both medical students and residency/fellowship training,” Gail Marsh, OSUWexner Medical Center senior associate vice president for health sciences and chief strategy officer, said in an email. “Mount Carmel has an expansive hospital system (Mount Carmel East, Mount Carmel West, Mount Carmel St. Ann’s and New Albany Surgical Hospital) and physician network that would be beneficial to the training programs.”
Both the Wexner Medical Center and Mount Carmel will keep their own executives, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
Marsh said medical research will also play into the new coalition.
“Research will be affected in several ways in that this partnership will likely lead to more patients from Mount Carmel gaining access to clinical trials already in place at OSU which will speed discovery and treatment options,” Marsh said.
Amber Anaya, a clinical research coordinator at the OSU Wexner Medical Center Diabetes Research Center, said new research opportunities could be beneficial because her department usually has plenty of room for clinical trials.
OSU College of Medicine Dean Charles Lockwood said he hopes the new affiliation creates new opportunities for medical students and researchers.
“The new medical school curriculum greatly increases the need for ambulatory care training sites in the first two years (in traditional curricula, such training is reserved for the last two years),” Lockwood said in an email. “I personally hope that this new affiliation enhances the availability of such resources.”
Kathryn Kelley, chief advancement officer for the OSU College of Nursing, said in an email that the OSU College of Nursing has not received word about any implications or developments for the College of Nursing or nursing students as a result of the affiliation.
Although an outline of possible opportunities for medical students, researchers and patients as a result of the affiliation has been drawn, there is still further discussion regarding the details of these opportunities to be had, Marsh said.
“This discussion is just getting started between the OSU College of Medicine and the Mount Carmel medical education leaders,” she said.