Changwon National University has begun to accelerate the founding of an industry medical school. CWNU began the application for a new medical school in 1992 but failed many times. In September 2015, the 'Industrial Medical College Establishment Plan’ (a 6-year interdisciplinary course) was submitted to The Ministry of Education. However, there had been no development until now.
The Ministry of Education decided to close Seonam University last August because of the school's detrimental financial situation. Nationwide interest in the medical field has caused student entrances to rapidly increase. CWNU has also jumped into the hype to establish a medical college with the ambition to improve the poor medical conditions in Changwon City and nearby Gyeongnam Province, which are concentrated by industrial complexes.
Changwon is the only city where there are no tertiary hospitals nor medical training institutes among the 9 cities in the country with populations over 1 million. There are 4 medical schools in Gangwondo which has a population of 1.5 million, and there are 5 medical schools in Daejeon and Chungnam with a combined population of 3.4 million. But there is only one medical school in Gyeongnam which has a population of 3.3 million. Compared to the other provinces, this relatively low number of medical facilities is a very serious concern.
Changwon in particular, where the Changwon National Industrial Complex is located, is the representative industrial complex area of rea, which is the second largest in number of manufacturing workers. Also, Gyeongnam, which includes Gimhae and Geoje, has had many industrial disasters and diseases. Industrial jobs in this area have increasingly required specialized medical institutions. There has been a need for a national response through the establishment of an institute of medicine including a medical college.
For this reason, Changwon submitted the legislation to the National Assembly for the establishment of the Industrial Medical University and the Industrial Medical University Hospital in Changwon to nurture professional medical personnel to serve in the industrial medical field and actively perform treatment and rehabilitation specifically for industrial accidents.
This is a benchmark of the Japanese industrial medicine model. The six-year Japanese Institute of Industrial Medicine has 246 hours of industrial medicine as well as basic and clinical medicine, and trains professionals in industrial medicine through clinical practice at affiliated local hospitals. Graduates are obliged to work for a certain period of time in a local industry or organization after graduation on the condition that they receive support for tuition.
Choi Hae-bum, president of CWNU, said, "The fact that there is no medical school in
Changwon City is difficult to understand in any aspect, such as the medical welfare of the local people and balanced regional development. It is desirable to establish a new medical institution in Changwon, where the medical infrastructure is poor, and this university will do its best to expand its capabilities and intellectual capacity to attract medical students."
To achieve permission for the medical school founding, CWNU has a long and winding road ahead. There is a lot of competition for the medical school building so there is only a small possibility of establishing a new medical school in CWNU. The first thing that came up after the closure of Seonnam University was how to distribute the medical quota to other schools in Chonbuk where Seonnam University is located. In addition, Sunchon University and Mokpo University in Chonnam have shown great interest in pursuing the establishment of a medical school for a long time. Nevertheless, there is still a slim chance for CWNU. If the Ministry of Health decides to increase the number of medical school students or create new medical schools, Korea will still have a shortage of healthcare workers including nurses and doctors. The Ministry of Health has recently shown a positive opinion that “it is the first priority to assign the health care personnel to vulnerable areas as well as rural areas so that they can receive medical services at the right time.” If so, Changwon is likely to be considered as a vulnerable medical area.
By Sarah Park, reporter
|From the Japanese industrial medicine model, the Kyushu Sangyo University Medical College is a benchmark.
Sarah Park firstname.lastname@example.org
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