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In 2010, SHSU established a School of Nursing to respond to the regional and national nursing shortage. Growing workforce demands in other healthcare professions precipitated the consolidation of all health-related and allied health programs into the College of Health Sciences in 2013.

After three years of research and analysis, SHSU made the strategic decision to establish a College of Osteopathic Medicine in order to help meet the state’s critical healthcare needs, in particular, targeting the medically underserved region of East Texas. An in-depth survey of the community, economic projections and future healthcare needs was conducted as well as an independent, third-party review of national trends and regional capacity.

Additionally, numerous studies show medical school enrollment and resident positions are not projected to be sufficient to create a supply that can meet the projected demand for physicians in Texas. The shortage of primary care physicians is expected to grow from 2,002 full-time equivalents (FTEs) in 2017 to 3,375 in 2020, an increase of 67 percent. In July 2018, Texas Health and Human Services reported that, “Current Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board projections in medical school enrollment and resident positions are not projected to be sufficient to create a supply that can meet projected demand.”

Osteopathic medicine was selected because in general, DO graduates have a propensity to practice in more rural and underserved areas across the nation. More than half (57 percent) of doctors of osteopathic medicine practice primary care, and they account for 10 percent of all primary care physicians.

Over 80% of counties in Texas are designated as medically underserved.

Texas ranks:

  • 47th for primary care
  • 48th for general surgeons
  • 42nd for active physicians
  • 36th in medical school enrollment

In September 2019, SHSU College of Osteopathic Medicine (SHSU-COM) received Pre-Accreditation from their national accrediting body, the COCA contingent upon a Spring 2020 site visit.