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William Carey breaks ground on College...

William Carey breaks ground on College of Osteopathic Medicine Institute for Primary Care

By: Jeremy Pittari - December 8, 2023

William Carey administrators, faculty, and trustees join elected officials and members of state-level medical organizations during an official ground-breaking for the WCU College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Institute for Primary Care. Submitted photo

A $20 million infrastructure grant through AccelerateMS will help bring the new 60,000 sq. ft. facility to life.

This week, William Carey University (WCU) in Hattiesburg broke ground on a new facility that will be for the College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Institute for Primary Care.

On Tuesday, representatives with the university and area elected officials gathered at the site of the new facility to mark the occasion.

The 60,000-square-foot facility is supported by a $20 million infrastructure grant through AccelerateMS, the state’s workforce development office, funded by the Legislature, according to a release from WCU.

State Rep. Missy McGee (R-HD 102) said it was a very exciting day for Hattiesburg and the state of Mississippi.

“I am very pleased that the Legislature was able to provide $20 million of ARPA funds for this expansion with the intention of increasing the number of primary care physicians in Mississippi,” Rep. McGee told Magnolia Tribune. “We know access to healthcare is a major issue in our state for many of our citizens. I am optimistic that the Institute for Primary Care will allow us to educate more primary care doctors who will then go out and provide services to the underserved and rural areas of our state where the need is the greatest.”

The facility, slated to be completed in the winter of 2025, will include medical labs, conference spaces and immersive classrooms similar to simulation rooms. According to WCU, the facility will include the largest osteopathic manipulative medicine lab in the south, an innovative simulation lab for obstetrics and pediatric training, clinical rooms for meeting with patients, and a conference center that is expected to play host to members of the health care industry where they can share ideas. The facility will also include two large modular classrooms.

A second phase of this project is planned in the future to expand two existing lecture halls, a WCU spokesperson added.

Each year, WCU has about 800 students enrolled in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, which is a substantial increase from about 10 years ago, the spokesperson said. 

“This represents a singular investment that will have generational benefit for all Mississippians. It’s an investment in healthcare that acknowledges the need for training and keeping more primary care physicians and healthcare providers in Mississippi. That’s key to better healthcare. It’s an investment that will touch and improve the lives of Mississippians throughout the state,” said Dean of WCU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine Dr. Italo Subbarao in a statement. 

Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker, a former legislator, said the ground-breaking was the culmination of a series of great attempts that started with the founding of the College of Osteopathic Medicine.

“William Carey swings for the fences. And we, as a community with a pesky habit of punching above our weight, with a legacy of going after big things and getting them, proudly celebrate this day with you,” Barker said in a statement.

About the Author(s)
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Jeremy Pittari

Jeremy Pittari is a lifelong resident of the Gulf Coast. Born and raised in Slidell, La., he moved to South Mississippi in the early 90s. Jeremy earned an associate in arts from Pearl River Community College and went on to attend the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned a bachelor's of arts in journalism. A week after Hurricane Katrina, he started an internship as a reporter with the community newspaper in Pearl River County. After graduation, he accepted a full-time position at that news outlet where he covered the recovery process post Katrina in Pearl River and Hancock Counties. For nearly 17 years he wrote about local government, education, law enforcement, crime, business and a variety of other topics.