Five-year pact extends OMC relationship with WVU Health Sciences

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Oman Medical College (OMC), which trains physicians, pharmacists and other health professionals on two campuses in the Sultanate of Oman, has extended its relationship with the West Virginia University Health Sciences Center.

“The work that we do together as academic partners benefits not only the students who attend Oman Medical College but also has a profound, lasting, and positive effect on West Virginia University, our faculty and students,” Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., chancellor for health sciences at WVU, said.

Dr. Colenda added that a recent review of the relationship found not only that it was productive for the University but clearly in line with WVU’s Strategic Plan goal to advance international activity and global engagement.

“The contributions of West Virginia University to OMC have been tremendous,” said Dr. P. Mohamed Ali, a member of the college’s Board of Directors and chairman of the Governing council. “Our partnership has brought many people from Oman and West Virginia together, and strengthened the bonds between the two countries.” 

Dr. Mohamed Ali said the school and its leaders are very appreciative of the efforts WVU faculty and staff have devoted to building the college in the past decade. “The commitment of the University and many professors to travel long distances, to teach, and to provide assistance from Morgantown has been crucial to our success.”

The five-year agreement commits both schools to cooperation on academic matters, quality appraisal, curriculum review, faculty and student exchanges, research and student training. OMC covers the full cost of the services provided to its students and administration by WVU.

OMC, the first private medical school to open in the country, was formed in academic partnership with WVU in 2001. Classes are taught in English, and the school follows the U.S. model for medical and pharmacy education. The first pharmacy class graduated in 2007 and the first medical school class in 2008.

A series of WVU faculty and administrators have travelled to Oman to help establish and operate the school; more than a dozen have taught there. WVU faculty fill important administrative and faculty posts in Oman, and OMC faculty and students participate in classes and other academic activities in Morgantown.

Diana Beattie, Ph.D., former chair of the Department of Biochemistry in the WVU School of Medicine, is the dean of the Pharmacy and Premedical Campus at Muscat. In addition, Patricia Chase, Ph.D., dean of the WVU School of Pharmacy, and Chris J. Martin, M.D. M.Sc., of the WVU School of Medicine, serve on OMC’s Governing Council.

Medical students spend three years on the undergraduate campus and four years on a separate medical campus – with an affiliated government regional hospital – in Sohar.

The school has about 800 students on its two campuses.

While the school was established to assist Oman in developing medical and pharmacy resources for its own people, it has an international focus. The students represent 25 countries, primarily in the Middle East, and the faculty also includes physicians, pharmacists and academics from the U.S. and Canada, Europe and South Asia.

In addition to WVU’s participation, OMC has enjoyed strong support from a group of Omani physicians and citizens. The national government sponsors a large number of Omani students, provided free land and designated the Sohar Regional Hospital as the school’s teaching hospital.

Colenda plans to travel to Oman to participate in commencement ceremonies for the 2011 class of physicians and pharmacists on Dec. 17.

For more information: Amy Johns, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
bc: 12-05-11