New Catholic medical school seeks to restore a culture of life

New Catholic medical school seeks to restore a culture of life

The Saint Padre Pio Institute for the Relief of Suffering and the Benedictine College sign a collaboration agreement.

The deaths of millions of unborn children by abortion in the United States would not have been possible without the “ready, willing and active participation of physicians”, says a doctor who leads a new medical school at a Catholic college in the heart from America.

George Mychaskiw II, DO, is developing the school, which is expected to be located on the Benedictine College campus in Atchison, Kansas (pictured above). Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis and Catholic Healthcare International Founder and President Jere D. Palazzolo signed a Collaborative Affiliation Agreement on September 8 to begin the process of creating the Saint Padre Pio Institute offered for the relief of suffering, Benedictine College School of Osteopathic Medicine. . The agreement was signed at the annual meeting of the Catholic Medical Association in Denver, Colorado.

The school would be an independent institution, separately licensed, governed, funded and accredited. But for the organizers, it is important that it is on the basis of what they say is a “faithful” Catholic institution of higher learning.

In an interview, Mychaskiw said planners only considered colleges and universities listed in a guide to colleges published by the Cardinal Newman Society, which has long criticized many Catholic colleges and universities for straying from the teachings of the Catholic Church. ‘Church. All of the ones listed in the guide looked promising, Mychaskiw said, but Benedictine “worked really well.” The college has shown enthusiasm for the project, he said, and President Minnis has a “strategic vision to reclaim culture by incorporating more Catholicism into STEM education.”

According to a press release from Benedictine, the college’s new strategic plan, “Transforming Culture in America,” calls on the college to advance its Catholic mission “through science and health care by training students extensively in bioethics and promoting external relations”.

“So we fit very well into their strategic plan,” Mychaskiw said. “All the necessary bases lined up.”

Catholic Bioethics

Mychaskiw, a pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist based in Shreveport, Louisiana, has developed other medical schools in the past, but all of them have been centuries-old projects.

“I’ve always felt the need for a faithful Catholic medical school,” he said. “I thought there should be a medical school that truly embraces the fundamental tenets of Catholic bioethics that represents life, that represents the disabled, that represents men and women as God created them.”

A few years ago he heard of Catholic Healthcare International, an organization that wants to build an American version of the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, or House for the Relief of Suffering, built by Saint Pio of Pietrelcina in San Giovanni Rotondo, in Italy. Plans include a hospital, a brain injury home and a medical school. “So I wrote to them and said, ‘Hey, I see you’re going to medical school. I go to medical school. Maybe we can talk,” Mychaskiw said.

He found that he was “very philosophically aligned” with Palazzolo regarding the needs of a faithful Catholic medical school.

Nuts and bolts

The project is expected to cost $120 million, and once enough money has been raised – around $5 million – the school will begin hiring a dean and staff, and constructing a 100,000-foot building. squares will begin.

“It’s going to be a very contemporary, state-of-the-art medical school, incorporating things like high-fidelity simulation,” Mychaskiw said. “There will be multiple rooms that will have these talking, blinking, and breathing mannequins, and students interact with them as they learn basic patient care skills. There will be a clinic where people come from the community, and they are like actors: they can be a combative patient or a patient who does not speak English, or a patient who tries to explain symptoms. It helps students learn their bedside manner and humanistic skills for medicine.

The building will also contain a large laboratory where students will learn osteopathic manipulation techniques.

“Osteopathic physicians believe that touch can heal,” explains WebMD. “All DOs are trained in osteopathic manipulative treatment, sometimes called manual manipulation or OMT. It is a hands-on method to help diagnose and treat disease.

The new medical school also plans research on topics such as the ethical development of stem cells, the ethical development of pharmaceuticals, the diagnosis and management of patients in states of minimal consciousness, and the resuscitation of brain injuries.

The school will lease land from Benedictine College and purchase student services from it, such as health and counseling services and meal plans. The medical school will provide payment to Benedictine for affiliation and for a co-branding of St. Padre Pio Institute for the Relief of Suffering/Benedictine College School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Students will spend two years in the facility’s classrooms and then two years working with “faithful Catholic and Christian physicians and faithful Catholic health facilities,” Mychaskiw said. He said the Franciscan Alliance in Indiana and Illinois “will probably be one of our main clinical training sites because they are a faithful Catholic health care system and they have a relationship as well. pre-existing relationship with Catholic Healthcare International”.

Being armored to fight a culture of death

Training with faithful Catholic physicians and in faithful Catholic health facilities could help young doctors who now regularly struggle when faced with moral dilemmas in their residencies. Residents have been reported to have little choice about whether or not to participate in abortions and other morally wrong procedures.

But even the new medical school itself will work to “armor these doctors with stalwart Catholic truth so they have the knowledge and the courage to stand up to this stuff,” Mychaskiw said.

“As part of the medical school accreditation process, we are responsible for creating residency training programs,” he said. “So we plan to create faithful Catholic residency training programs in areas such as obstetrics, pediatrics, psychiatry, and family medicine. Also, while we are still working on the program, we know that there will be a lot of Catholic bioethics and some theology in the program, so that students better understand the Catholic perspective on these issues. We don’t know yet what it will look like. We believe that students will either have an additional degree, certification, or credential in Catholic bioethics at the same time they graduate from medical school because of this.

Additionally, the medical school will offer a spiritual leadership program to give students “a spiritual foundation, a foundation, to be better equipped to go out and be leaders in the medical community by standing up for life and supporting the patients and other physicians who defend life,” Mychaskiw said. “It’s very intimidating to be a medical student and to be asked to participate in some kind of procedure or therapy that violates your conscience. very difficult for students to do this; they are in a very vulnerable position, which is why our clinical training network will be in faithful Catholic institutions, and any doctor who welcomes our students as auxiliaries – any doctor preceptor – during those third and fourth years must agree to uphold Catholic teaching bioethical principles in their teaching and their encounters with the student, and to indemnify the student and protect him r against being required to participate in procedures or therapies that would violate our principles.

Subject to accreditation approvals, Mychaskiw said the school could open by fall 2026. Ultimately, the school hopes to graduate about 150 new physicians each year. Mychaskiw sees it as a “multiplier effect” – sowing a new culture of life in a profession that he and his colleagues believe has contributed to a culture of death.

“Doctors brought us to this culture of death, and it’s time for us to say no and take the culture back,” he said.

“It is vital to train future physicians in a place like Benedictine College that understands the essential role of faith and morality in science,” Minnis said in a press release. “The campus culture of community, faith and scholarship that we have worked so hard to create will be the perfect home for the proposed Padre Pio School of Medicine at Benedictine College.”


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