In 2006, Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine was founded as the second medical school in the state of Colorado and the first osteopathic medical school in the region. There was noted to be a clear shortage of physicians in the region, especially in primary care specialties and in under served and rural areas.

Rocky Vista University has been successful in building an outstanding pre-clinical and clinical curriculum for its students. Osteopathic medical training utilizes clinical rotation sites in the third and fourth year of education that are located in community-based hospitals and private and public clinics rather than at a major university-owned academic medical center. This is by design - if we want to train physicians to work in the community and to encourage students to enter into primary care fields, we need to train them in those locations and provide role models for them in the primary care fields.

Medical students are not done with their training when they graduate. They move on to hospitals and clinics to complete an additional 3-7 years of training in their chosen specialty. These residency and fellowship programs are generally owned and operated by hospitals and clinical entities in conjunction with medical schools as academic sponsors. Funding for these programs comes mainly from the federal government and the Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services and these programs are vital to extend the reach and quality of patient care around the nation.

Unfortunately, restrictions in federal funding for residency training have led to a looming shortage in new residency programs that has not kept up with the growth of medical schools in the nation. In order to keep our graduates in the Mountain West Region to serve the people of Colorado and the Mountain West, we need to create new postgraduate training programs.

RMOPTI strives to identify new opportunities for graduate medical education and to assist in the creation of those new programs. Once the programs are up and running, RMOPTI will continue to work with member institutions to provide academic support and oversight as well as quality improvement.