New U of U school of medicine aims to address Utah’s rural provider shortage
A groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday for the University of Utah’s (U of U) new 185,000-square-foot medical education building.
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Construction of the $185 million Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine was made possible in part by a $110 million gift from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation and the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation in 2021.
Among those on hand at the event were Utah Governor Spencer Cox and the namesake of the school, Spencer Eccles, Chairman & CEO of both gifting foundations.
“I have long believed that no state or region can become truly great without a world-class medical center at its nucleus,” Eccles said. “We hope this seminal grant—the largest ever awarded by our foundations—will help ensure the University not only provides the highest quality medical education for the doctors who serve Utah and the entire Intermountain West, but also furthers the excellence of health care for all our citizens and impacts the future of medicine through its groundbreaking research.”
“The incredible impact of the University of Utah’s health sciences program in education, research and care across the Intermountain West is a source of great pride for the entire state,” Cox said. “This new facility will make a major difference in our ability to address the growing need for top-tier doctors in the state, especially in our rural areas.”
The Utah Legislature approved the project in 2017 and has appropriated $110 million under the state’s Infrastructure and General Government budgeting to the project, $60 million of which was approved earlier this year. In addition to last year’s foundational grants, the project has received $50 million in further philanthropic pledges.
U of U says the facility is being designed to advance innovation and core medical education with spaces for research and collaboration between medical professionals, staff, and students. It will also house a Global Health Pavilion focused on the advancement of health care in less-developed countries. School officials say once the new school is completed in 2025, it will address the university’s need for more capacity to train physicians.