The Liaison Committee for Medical Educators has denied accreditation to the University of the Virgin Islands’ proposed medical school, UVI President David Hall told the university’s board of trustees Saturday.
The decision means the school will not open as planned in 2016. It also creates difficulties going forward.
Hall delivered the word to the board of trustees Saturday at its meeting on the St. Croix campus.
The Liaison Committee’s denial means the university can not apply for another year, making it “very clear,” in Hall’s words, that a medical school will not open in 2016.
The denial complicates a loan the university received from First Bank for $30 million, and a gift endowment of the same amount. Both the loan and the gift commitment were made on the understanding that UVI would establish a medical school.
Hall told reporters in the Great Hall after the trustees’ executive session, that if necessary the loan could be returned. But he emphasized that the board of trustees has authorized him to pursue other options, to not give up on the medical school.
“I feel positive and committed to this project,” Hall told reporters.
The committee’s denial was based on two factors, Hall said. UVI’s plan to master the University of Central Florida curriculum was not sufficient; and UVI did not show headway in lowering the cost of medical school.
Hall said he believed the first reason was the real challenge that needed to be addressed by UVI.
After his report to the trustees, Hall said, the board authorized him to get input from stakeholders on the potential for a medical school. Stakeholders include legislators, the governor and donors, including Chirinjeev Kathuria.
Kathuria is the donor who would be responsible to make the payments on the $30 million loan obtained by UVI from First Bank and whose pledge of funds two years ago kicked off the project.
In April 2014 the university announced it was had received a $30 million gift from Kathuria and his Chicago-based company, New Generation Power. Later it developed that Kathuria proposed to make the payments on a loan to be obtained by UVI rather than write a big check to UVI.
The goal was to have the first class enrolled in the 2016-17 school year.
In July 2014, UVI hired Dr. Benjamin Sachs to be the interim dean of the school; he was charged with helping prepare the documentation to submit to LCME for accreditation. The trustees approved that paperwork in November 2014.
The plan included affiliation agreements between UVI and four other entities:
– University of Central Florida for curriculum, assessment tools, faculty development, licensure and payment schedule;
– University of Southern Florida, for clinical training rotations and for professional advisory and training services, management and development simulation center, academic affiliation agreement;
– Schneider Regional Medical Center, for clinical training; and
– Juan F. Luis Memorial Hospital, for clinical training
In February the trustees authorized UVI to take a loan of up to $21 million from the U.S. Department of Education’s Historically Black College and University Capital Financing Program to help pay for construction costs.
In July 2014, UVI hired Dr. Benjamin Sachs to be the interim dean of the school; he was charged with helping prepare the documentation to submit to LCME for accreditation.
No payment of Kathuria’s $30 million pledge has materialized so far. Hall said that was not a problem because the gift was contingent on UVI establishing a medical school, which has been delayed by the Liaison Committee’s decision.
Saturday, Hall said word of the accreditation denial came the previous week.