Noorda-COM granted pre-accreditation status 02

In this file photo, Dr. John Dougherty, founding dean and chief academic officer, points to a model showing what the finished Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine will look like in Provo on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

The Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine announced this week that it received $135.9 million in bond funding, which is set to provide the remaining capital needed for the university to expand from where it is and into new educational facilities.

The academic building for the school, which is estimated to be finished in the fall of 2022, is just one of the areas where the bonds will help along with funding the total costs of the college.

Through the bond funds, the medical school is now completely funded, including all of the construction mentioned, the internal costs, and the salaries of the staff and faculty.

“We kind of celebrated that day, the funding, as probably the most historic day,” said Dr. Richard P. Nielsen, founding president and CEO of Noorda-COM. “Not that the admission of the students is not important, not that getting accreditation status wasn’t important, but none of that would have really been able to move forward without getting this funding. This is probably the final step in us being able to move forward now without any further restrictions.”

With regards to the students, Nielsen added that the funding and new campus will more fully enhance the educational opportunities students will have down the road, while students attending the school this upcoming year will still get a quality education. He continued, saying students can now know that Noorda-COM is “the real deal.”

With the inaugural class of 90 students being welcomed in August, Nielsen said that the bonds act as some reassurance for those students stepping into a brand new institution.

The process of receiving the bonds has lasted just over two years, with those involved at Noorda-COM not knowing what the outcome of it would be. A lot was riding on the bonding, and while not getting the funds would have impaired the progressions, Nielsen said there were other routes the school could have gone.

“To know we don’t have to do that now is a huge sigh of relief for us,” Nielsen said. “It’s a large burden off the shoulders of all of the executives of Noorda-COM, as well as the investors and others who have been actively involved in this process for the last two-plus years.”

Noorda-COM will now be able to move ahead, offering students another place to get medical education in the state of Utah.

Along with the school, Nielsen brought up that the school is hoping to be a solution to the physician shortage in the state, a shortage that has Utah ranked 44th out of 50 states for the overall physician to population ratio, according to Nielsen.

“It will just open up the gates for many, many wonderful ways that the access to care in the state of Utah is now going to take on a different dimension,” Nielsen said. “We’re going to be able to provide a solution to that huge problem, and it is a huge problem in Utah particularly. We’re losing about 350 to 400 physicians every year in Utah to either retirement, switching to academic opportunities, or research, but every year we are digging ourselves into a bigger and bigger hole.”

The biggest takeaway for Nielsen was the incredible team effort that went into the vetting and bonding process, which he said saw Noorda-COM come out unscathed. He said it is a testament to the quality of the organization.