TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) — The Cherokee Nation and Oklahoma State University have announced intentions to start a medical school on tribal land in eastern Oklahoma in a move both entities say will be the first of its kind.
Principal Chief Bill John Baker joined university officials Wednesday to give an overview of the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation. Cherokee and OSU officials say it will be the first tribally affiliated medical school in the U.S. and that it will help address a shortage of primary care doctors in rural Oklahoma.
The school will be housed in the Cherokee Nation’s existing W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah. Renovations are expected to start in 2019, with the inaugural class of 50 students enrolling for their first classes in 2020.