TAHLEQUAH — Leaders from the Cherokee Nation and Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences will break ground next week on an 80,000 square-foot OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at Cherokee Nation. 

The groundbreaking ceremony will be at 10 a.m. Monday at 19500 E. Ross St. The new, accredited medical school campus will be located on the W.W. Hastings campus. It will be the first tribe-affiliated medical school built on tribal land in the United States.

Principal Chief Bill John Baker said the project marks "a monumental achievement" for both the tribe and Indian Country. He said the school will help "produce more physicians that are tribal citizens."

“We know that Native Americans make up only 0.2 percent of medical students nationwide," Baker said. "Through our work with the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine here at the Cherokee Nation, we are taking important steps to fill that gap.”

The facility will feature state-of-the-art classrooms, lecture halls and cutting-edge technology such as computer-programmable manikins and medical simulation. The college is slated to open with 50 students in 2020 and is expected to serve 200 students when it becomes fully operational.

Kayse Shrum, D.O., OSU-CHS president and dean of the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, said the college and tribe share a "vision of populating rural and underserved Oklahoma with OSU primary care physicians." 

"The groundbreaking for this new medical school in Tahlequah marks a new day for rural and tribal health,” she said.

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