The University of North Carolina School of Medicine will open a Wilmington campus at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, officials said Friday.
The branch campus opens in March, when up to 24 third- and fourth-year medical students will start being based at the hospital and study internal medicine, surgery, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, neurology psychiatry and other subspecialties, according to a news release.
The hospital has routinely hosted UNC medical students filling their clinical rotation requirements, during which they get exposure to different specialties and sites around North Carolina.
While the 20-30 students a year who come through NHRMC’s rotation program typically stay only about four weeks at a time, the new medical students at the UNC’s Wilmington campus will train for the entire year, officials said.
“We have been successfully teaching UNC medical students and residents for many decades, and now we have a tremendous opportunity to further develop our relationship with the UNC School of Medicine,” said Joseph Pino, an internal medicine physician, vice president of graduate medical education at NHRMC and director of the UNC School of Medicine Wilmington Campus.
Full-time UNC medical school faculty, who are based at NHRMC and also see patients in additional to their academic roles, will lead the courses, Pino said.
“These are members of our medical staff who have received faculty appointments through UNC,” he said. "No new faculty are being added for this specific purpose.”
Pino and William Roper, dean of the UNC medical school, will hold a press conference at New Hanover Regional on Tuesday about the campus announcement. University of North Carolina Wilmington chancellor Jose Sartarelli is scheduled to join them.
UNCW is involved because it offers a physicians leadership certificate program through the Cameron School of Business that the medical students can pursue while in Wilmington.
The campus should give visiting medical students more exposure to the area and NHRMC, helping to prompt some to stay in the market after graduation, officials said.
“The benefit of having third- and fourth-year students here allows them to develop a deeper understanding of NHRMC’s culture, such as Lean methodology for quality improvement, and will offer a deeper understanding than a one-month rotation,” Pino said. “If they wish to pursue training in one of our residency programs or practice at NHRMC in the future, this makes the transition that much easier."