MERIDIAN — The bar is set high for 162 students who are the first class at a new medical school, the first of it’s kind in Idaho. Students started classes at the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM) on Aug. 20.
The eye-catching building is next to the West Ada School District building off Interstate 84 in Meridian. The $34 million, three-story building took 13-months to build.
“It’s about offering modern medical education in Idaho,” said Robert Hasty, ICOM’s founding dean and chief academic officer.
The exterior features large glass windows, an outside courtyard and two infinity fountains. But the building aims for more than a visual wow factor. It’s designed to train future doctors.
“The staff and I want to make a big impact on students,” Hasty said. “We want students to have all the resources they need.”
Scattered throughout the building are lounges and 24 study areas that include TVs and whiteboards for students to work alone or in groups. Other building features include:
- Two lecture halls, each with 250 seats
- State-of-the-art clinical simulation room
- Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine lab
- 12 clinical exam rooms
- Spiritual room
- Mothers room
Among other features, lectures can be video-recorded, converted from voice to text, and searched by keyword. The interior showcases artwork from artists across the nation.
The class of 2022 represents 41 students from Idaho and others from California, Oregon, Utah, Washington and across the nation.
Students will spend the first two years of didactic training on campus. Afterward, they’ll spend the third and fourth years of their education doing clinical rotations at affiliated hospital systems throughout five states. ICOM has established partnerships with more than 35 hospital and health systems in the region.
School officials hope graduates from ICOM will help to fill the critical doctor shortage in Idaho, which ranks 49th for the number of physicians and 50th for primary care physicians per capita in the nation, according to Hasty.
ICOM will add 162 students each year until the first class graduates, reaching an enrollment of 648 students. Nearly 2,900 students have applied to enroll in the class of 2023. Admissions priority will be given to Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming students.