Florida Atlantic University's decision to seek accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) for a new, independent medical school in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine is the culmination of a goal that began over a decade ago. In the late 1990s, the Florida Board of Regents, the governing body for the Florida State University System at the time, established a regional campus of the University of Miami (UM) Miller School of Medicine, a private institution, on FAU's main campus in Boca Raton.
In 1998, the Florida Legislature approved the first in a series of annual appropriations to FAU, which would total $4.4 million by fiscal year 2004-05, to build the core biomedical science program at FAU required to support the UM-FAU regional medical campus. In 1998, FAU also received a transformational gift of $15 million from the Schmidt Family Foundation, which was matched by the state of Florida to construct a 95,000-square-foot facility designed specifically for the medical education program and for FAU's master's, doctoral and certificate programs in the biomedical sciences.
In 2004, the first class of 16 students was admitted to the two-year UM regional medical campus program at FAU. In 2005, the Florida Board of Governors, which replaced the Board of Regents, authorized the expansion of the UM-FAU regional medical campus from a two-year to a four-year program, enabling UM students to complete their entire undergraduate medical education program at FAU. In 2007, the first class of 32 students began the four-year FAU regional medical campus program and the final class completed the two-year regional medical campus program. In 2008 and 2009, respectively, 48 students were admitted to the FAU regional medical campus program, resulting in a total student body of 128 students in academic year 2009-10.
In 2009, leadership from FAU and Scripps Florida began informal discussions about the feasibility of forming a partnership between FAU and Scripps. The FAU Board of Trustees determined that pursuing Florida Board of Governors' and state legislative authorization for FAU to award the M.D. degree and formalizing the FAU-Scripps partnership offered significant advantages for students, the Florida physician workforce, the Florida biotechnology research sector and FAU's biomedical science research enterprise. As a result of this partnership, FAU and Scripps agreed to offer a joint M.D./Ph.D. degree, with the M.D. degree conferred by FAU and the Ph.D. degree conferred by the Scripps Research Institute's Kellogg School of Science and Technology, pending state authorization and LCME accreditation.
On April 7, 2010, the Florida Board of Governors made a landmark decision and authorized FAU to award the M.D. degree. Legislation authorizing FAU's medical education program was passed by the Florida Legislature on April 22, 2010 and signed into law by the Governor on May 15, 2010, thereby making it an independent medical school becoming only the 134th allopathic (M.D.) medical school in North America. FAU's medical school benefitted from the strong support from the state of Florida Board of Governors and the Florida Legislature, and is fully funded for its total enrollment of 256 students.
On June 23, 2010, the FAU Board of Trustees officially renamed the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science to the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine.
In early February 2011, FAU's Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine received preliminary accreditation from the LCME, the accrediting authority for all medical education programs leading to a medical degree in U.S. and Canadian medical schools. The LCME is a joint committee of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Medical Association (AMA).
FAU's new medical school will recruit and educate a diverse student population who will live, work and serve in our communities. The new medical school will help to advance South Florida's health care communities by providing quality, affordable medical education and access to first-rate medical care among our underserved populations.
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