Who's Behind the Proposed Idaho-Based Medical School? 

"The investors are both the Rice University Foundation, and a group of private family investors, with one of the predominant families being the Burrell family."

The Houston, Texas-based Rice University Foundation is an investor in the newly announced four-year, for-profit, osteopathic medical school affiliation at Idaho State University's Meridian campus.

"The investors are both the Rice University Foundation, and a group of private family investors, with one of the predominant families being the Burrell family," said Idaho Department of Commerce Director Megan Ronk, moments before the Idaho State Board of Education gave its blessing to the proposal.

Ronk said the investment group would have, "somewhere around a $110 million investment in the region and would spend approximately $30 million to build a medical school on leased land on Meridian campus."

Projected construction costs of the Idaho school are pegged at $32 million, with construction expected to begin in February 2017.

"We're happy to be a long-term partner with them," said ISU President Arthur Vailas. "We've never had an opportunity, as we're growing in our mission, to have this close of an affiliation to a medical school."

Similar to the New Mexico model, the ISU-Meridian deal won't technically be an ISU project, but would be an "affiliate."

"Following the successful launch of the Burrell school in New Mexico, the partners behind that effort started exploring the Intermountain West, including Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming and Idaho for a possible second location for an osteopathic school," said Ronk. "I know there are many efforts under way to expand medical education and residencies throughout [Idaho]. But this is a tremendous opportunity for us to leverage a private investment."

Vailas described the deal as, "The opportunity for our health care programs to work very closely with the faculty physicians and physicians of our both rural and metropolitan areas. And, as you know, ISU has about 12 to 15 clinics throughout the state in very remote areas, treating Idahoans. And, we need to do a bigger and better job, and having this partnership gives us that ability to do so."

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