A medical school on the Caribbean island of Dominica will temporarily relocate to East Tennessee in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
More than 1,400 students and faculty from The Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) will move to facilities owned and operated by Lincoln Memorial University in West Knoxville early next year.
"While the island of Dominica continues to rebuild, we are pleased to have forged this arrangement with an outstanding university like LMU," said Dr. William F. Owen, Dean and chancellor of RUSM. "The continuity of our students' education and their academic programming is our highest priority, and we are pleased to work with LMU to make these extraordinary facilities available."
The students are finishing their fall classes aboard a cruise ship off the island of St. Kitts.
RUSM will use its own curriculum and faculty while using LMU's teaching and office facilities, including an anatomy lab.
"Lincoln Memorial University is proud to be able to assist Ross University School of Medicine under these extreme circumstances. As an institution with a strong commitment to combating health care strategies in Appalachia and beyond, there is a synergy in providing the students and faculty of RUSM a home way from home while they rebuild from this fall's devastating hurricanes," said LMU Chairman Pete DeBusk.
LMU, which is based in Harrogate, offers three extended learning sites in the Knoxville area, including the LMU-Duncan School of Law, nursing at Physicians Regional Medical Center, and business, education and nursing at the LMU Cedar Bluff Extended Learning Site.
The school recently purchased the property in West Knoxville that RUSM will be using, according to DeBusk, and leaders are developing plans to further expand their offerings in Knoxville.
"In the meantime, we're pleased to accommodate RUSM with an excellent facility that is well-sited in size and scale to meet the needs of a medical school curriculum," said DeBusk.