AUC Celebrates New UK-Track with Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
AUC Celebrates Launch of New UK-Track Program with Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
In the hours after Hurricane Irma struck and devastated the island of Sint Maarten, administrative leaders at AUC began the monumental task of finding a venue to temporarily relocate and carry out the rest of the September 2017 semester.
After several dead ends and at the suggestion of a clinical affiliate in Lancashire, UK, AUC reached out to the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), a public university some 4,000 miles away.
“They must have thought we were kidding at first,” said Dr. Julie Taylor, Chief Academic Officer and Senior Associate Dean of Student and Academic Affairs at AUC. “But we were quickly in contact with really dynamic, thoughtful and caring leaders at UCLan who agreed to take on this project.”
AUC and UCLan immediately got to work. In just nine days the two universities organized the relocation of more than 650 AUC students and staff, a feat that included securing housing, obtaining student visas, and designing course schedules with little interference to UCLan’s own programs.
That act of kindness set into motion a much bigger plan. As UCLan worked with AUC to salvage the university’s September 2017 semester, conversations started shifting from the immediate scope to the potential for a longer-term partnership.
“We shared values, we had a similar approach to education, and our cultures were very compatible,” said Dr. Heidi Chumley, Executive Dean at AUC. “We knew from early on that together we could find opportunities to do more than either one of us could do alone.”
In February 2019, after more than a year of conversations, the universities announced plans to begin a blended education program based out of UCLan’s campus in the UK. The AUC-UCLan UK Track, which officially launched in September, offers students a postgraduate diploma in International Medical Sciences (PGIMS) from UCLan with the chance to earn a doctor of medicine (MD) degree from AUC.
“The doctor shortage is an urgent global workforce problem, affecting not just the U.S. and Canada, but so many countries around the world,” said Dr. Chumley. “We are proud to offer this historic program focused on bringing more doctors to countries and communities in need. The opportunity to train in multiple countries, including the U.S. and U.K., also provides a unique opportunity for aspiring physicians to develop a global perspective.”
Leaders from AUC and UCLan held a special ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 17 to formally recognize the start of the UK Track and celebrate the inaugural class. Students, who hold citizenship in 15 different countries across five continents, are now midway through their first semester of AUC’s MD curriculum.
“The official opening of an AUC School of Medicine base here at UCLan is truly symbolic of a new era in our joint strategy for medical education,” said David Taylor, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of UCLan’s University Board, at the ceremony. “Our region will benefit from a constant supply of very high caliber professionals who could work in our local hospitals adding their energy, enthusiasm and expertise to help patients and service users as well as playing a vital role in supporting our health economy.”