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Osteopathy and Indiana Wesleyan

January 15, 2010

The Indiana Osteopathic Association passed over a virtually certain $75 million in startup funding to choose Marian University for its new osteopathic college.

Indiana Wesleyan University’s board had settled on at least two routes to raise the entire budget in a near instant, says Dr. Burt Webb, the Indiana Wesleyan associate dean who drove the idea.

As IBJ reporter J.K. Wall wrote today, Marian, the small Catholic school in Indianapolis, has a commitment for $30 million of the desired $75 million, and plans to launch an initial class of 150 students.

Indiana Wesleyan also planned to offer the first year or two of instruction at its home base in Marion and then allow students to complete remaining years off-site. Shifting students to satellite locations, mostly in small towns, would have helped the place general practitioners in areas where they’re needed most.

Working against Indiana Wesleyan was the lack of a teaching hospital in Marion, which is between Muncie and Fort Wayne. It also didn’t have Westview Hospital, the 68-bed facility on the west side of Indianapolis that is the state’s only osteopathic hospital.

Osteopaths are trained in using their hands to move muscles and joints to diagnose, treat and prevent illnesses and injuries. Otherwise, their training is virtually identical to doctors of medicine.

Webb said he and the university wish Marian well in the venture, and that Indiana Wesleyan has no plans to launch its own program.

What are your thoughts? Marian President Dan Elsener has a track record of raising money. But the money isn’t in pocket, and this isn’t the easiest time to persuade wealthy people to open their checkbooks.

Did the Indiana Osteopathic Association choose the right institution?

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