Inauguration of the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in Great Falls

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John Goodnow, CEO of Benefis Health System, said Wednesday was a “very big day” for Great Falls.

And he was right.

About 100 people gathered at the corner of 18th Avenue South and 26th Street South late Wednesday morning for a historic groundbreaking ceremony for what will be the city’s first medical school.

The Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine is a non-profit medical school that will accommodate 500 students. The school is expected to welcome its first class of students to Great Falls in 2023.

City leaders have said the school will transform Great Falls as it attracts new and diverse people who will contribute to the community and support the economy. Health care experts said the school will also tackle the doctor shortage plaguing rural Montana communities.

“It’s really, really important,” Goodnow said. “I couldn’t be happier today.”

John Goodnow, CEO of Benefis Health System, discusses the partnership with Touro College and University Systems at a groundbreaking ceremony for the college's new medical school campus, Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, which will be located in Great Falls at 18th Avenue South and 26th Street South.

Touro’s college and university system serves 19,000 students in 35 schools in four countries. Founded in 1970 to support the Jewish community, Touro strives to serve underrepresented communities and make educational opportunities more accessible.

Great Falls Mayor Bob Kelly said he looks forward to welcoming the students and their families to the community.

“We are here to welcome the people you bring to us – your staff, your teachers, your administrators, their families and the students who come here. Great Falls is nothing but the most welcoming community in all. Montana, and we want to prove it to you, “he said.

Dignitaries conduct a soil shoveling ceremony on Wednesday at the grand opening of Touro College and University System's new medical school campus, Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, located in Great Falls on 18th Avenue South and 26th Street South.

Brett Doney, president and CEO of Great Falls Development Authority, said Touro was a “perfect partner” for Great Falls.

“They are really committed to their mission, which fits perfectly,” he said. “What we have seen is that we are sending students to Washington University Medical School, but the vast majority of them are not coming back. We hope (Touro) will attract students who want to live and work in Montana and surrounding communities and states. ”

Dr Alan Kadish, president of Touro College and University System, revealed he had a personal connection to Great Falls. His daughter and son-in-law own a family home in Great Falls and he has visited them for the past two summers.

Dr Alan Kadish, President of Touro College and University System, delivers remarks at the dedication ceremony for the new campus of the System's Faculty of Medicine, Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, which will be located in Great Falls on 18th South Avenue and South 26th Street.

When Goodnow approached Kadish about a business in Great Falls, Kadish said he felt “the stars were aligned.”

“We are celebrating a partnership that we believe will mean big things for the city, for the state, for the hospital systems here and a lot for Touro,” he said.

Nora Mabie covers can be contacted at [email protected] Follow her on Facebook @NoraMabieJournalist or on Twitter @NoraMabie.

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