Plans were announced recently that would allow the long-vacant Horton Hospital complex in Middletown, NY, to be reborn as a regional medical and educational center anchored by Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM), an affiliate of New York City-based Touro College and University System. The final approval process for the new school is presently under way.
When fully operational, the new medical school would enroll more than 500 students and occupy up to 110,000 square feet of space in the complex. In addition to the medical school, a portion of the space may be devoted to other health-science-related schools.
Touro would enter into a long-term lease with the property’s owner, The Danza Leser Group, and would invest $24 million to renovate the facility. Boosted by $1 million from the State of New York’s Regional Council Program, the initiative would create some 800 jobs.
“Expanding Touro’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in the former Horton Hospital site would offer a rare opportunity to meaningfully improve the healthcare and educational systems and provide an economic boost to an underserved area of New York State,” said Dr. Alan Kadish, president and CEO of Touro College and University System. “This planned extension of TouroCOM’s main campus would help ensure that the Hudson Valley and Catskill regions have sufficient physicians to meet the growing needs in the coming decades.”
Currently located on Harlem’s 125th Street, TouroCOM would offer a four-year degree program for physicians at the new campus, the school’s largest-ever expansion. TouroCOM is also considering the inclusion of training physical and occupational therapists, nurses, and pharmacists.
“We pursued this property because we understand the increasing need for medical services in this area,” said Tony Danza, a partner in The Danza Leser Group. Danza said the company had been working on a medical-school concept for this location since 2008.
In addition to the TouroCOM expansion, Danza Leser would develop 250 units of housing for students and faculty. The developer is also in discussions to include a 200-student school operated by Allied Health and an assisted-living facility in the complex. The project would be projected to generate $275 million in economic activity.
“Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine would provide our residents with quality health options while adding much-needed jobs to our region,” said Orange County Executive Edward A. Diana. “I welcome them to our county and look forward to their success in our community.”
“The health indicators for our region are as bad as the worst places in the United States,” said Dr. Ron Israelski, a prominent physician in Orange County who helped make this medical school possible. “So in addition to the national trend that we need more doctors for an aging population, we need more schools for doctors. With TouroCOM, we address local needs of good health and quality higher education while giving a boost to the region’s economy.”
“Our approach to medical education is strongly connected to community service and community engagement,” said TouroCOM Dean Dr. Robert Goldberg. “We look forward to working in close cooperation with a broad spectrum of local constituencies to make long-term improvements in health outcomes throughout the region.”
“Osteopathic medicine places special emphasis on teaching and learning in the areas of primary care, and adopts a holistic approach to the patient,” said Dr. Jay Sexter, CEO of TouroCOM. “Medical students nationwide are increasingly turning to osteopathic medicine because of its capacity to enhance the healing process. The Hudson Valley region would reap the benefits.”
Middletown Mayor Joseph DeStefano said the project would have a huge impact on the Hudson Valley. “They would be bringing a very significant project to our city,” DeStefano said. “This would be one of the largest projects in this region in decades. Just like the rest of the nation, our community has struggled for years. This project would transform the area.”
Touro College and University System is one of the largest health-care educational systems in the nation and offers a wide array of degree programs in medical and health sciences fields. In addition to colleges of osteopathic medicine in New York City and the one being announced in Middletown, the Touro system also includes colleges of osteopathic medicine in Nevada and California. Touro has colleges of pharmacy in both New York and California, as well as graduate and undergraduate schools of health sciences on Long Island, in Manhattan, and in Nevada and California. Together with New York Medical College, Touro College and University System educates approximately 5,300 health-sciences students annually. For further information, visit www.touro.edu. v