Dover’s Delaware State University and ChristianaCare are in talks to start a medical school in Delaware, Delaware Public Media reported.
DSU President Tony Allen emphasized that discussions are in their early stages and might not produce an agreement.
The university gained a presence in health care with the acquisition of Wesley College and its nursing school. The former Wesley site near downtown Dover has been designated as the DSU health care campus and has has room for expansion.
Allen said the nursing shortage and the need for a more diverse health care workforce were factors that led to the discussions.
DSU has emerged as one of the few Historically Black Colleges and Universities to see sizable gains in enrollment.
ChristianaCare operates a teaching hospital near Newark and has an affiliation with Jefferson University, which operates a medical school.
Delaware is one of a handful of states without a medical school. States with smaller populations than Delaware, including North and South Dakota, have medical schools.
The short distance between northern Delaware and Philadelphia’s medical schools has traditionally been cited as a reason for not pursuing a medical school, which can spur economic growth.
Delaware has seen rapid population growth by East Coast standards and is now approaching a population of one million.
Earlier this year, Philadlephia Federal Reserve President Patrick Harker, speaking at the University of Delaware in Newark, noted that regions wth medical schools have seen strong economic growth, pointing the “eds and meds” economy of the area around the medical school in Hershey, PA.
Harker, a former UD president, emphasized that he was not speaking in support of a UD medical school.
(Click on the headline below for a story on Harker’s comments).