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CentraCare Board of Directors Unanimously Supports Medical School Campus in St. Cloud

Published in Media Releases

Today, the CentraCare Board of Directors voted unanimously in support of the proposal to build a medical school campus in St. Cloud. The proposal — a partnership between CentraCare and the University of Minnesota Medical School — would expand the University’s medical school footprint to Central Minnesota for the purpose of training medical students to ultimately serve rural communities across the state.

The proposed medical school campus is a remedy for the looming physician shortage that is predicted to hit rural communities hardest. More than one third of rural providers plan to leave the workforce by 2027, so this expansion of training and education will help fill this gap, which many communities are already experiencing.

“The best solution to address the physician shortage in rural Minnesota is to train new physicians in the communities in which we want them to serve,” said Ken Holmen, MD, President and CEO, CentraCare. “This partnership will establish the educational, professional and career development opportunities for the next generation of rural health care physicians.”

Specifics about the medical school campus expansion continue to be developed, but the plan calls for the campus to open in 2025. An estimated 24 medical students will be enrolled in the first class, and once the program reaches maturity, approximately 80 students will be enrolled.

“Minnesotans deserve access to high-quality care, regardless of where they live,” said Steve Laraway, CentraCare Board of Directors Chair. “We’re excited about the opportunity to train future medical professionals in St. Cloud to support the health of people living in our rural communities. This investment in the future will extend beyond health care to improve the economic base of our rural communities.”

The collaboration between CentraCare and the University of Minnesota Medical School builds on an already strong relationship that includes a family medicine residency program that dates back more than 25 years, an orthopedics practice, and a training track for health care resource services and administration in Willmar.

The CentraCare Board of Directors vote comes on the heels of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents meeting on Friday, Feb. 10, where the Regents voted unanimously to support a statement of interest outlining intentions for the two organizations to jointly develop and oversee a comprehensive rural health program.

In addition to having full support of the CentraCare Board of Directors and the University of Minnesota Regents, this proposal has also attracted endorsements from more than 150 Minnesota businesses and organizations, including Land O’ Lakes, Cargill, Xcel Energy, and many others.

More information about the proposed medical school campus expansion project is available at

About CentraCare

CentraCare is an integrated, not-for-profit health care organization working to improve the lives and wellbeing of those living in Central, Southwest and West Central Minnesota. CentraCare includes hospitals located in St. Cloud, Benson, Long Prairie, Melrose, Monticello, Paynesville, Redwood Falls, Sauk Centre and Willmar and provides both primary and specialty care throughout the region. With a focus on rural health, CentraCare is one of the largest health systems in Minnesota and is proud to provide expert health care locally. Learn more at

About the University of Minnesota Medical School

The University of Minnesota Medical School is at the forefront of learning and discovery, transforming medical care and educating the next generation of physicians. Our graduates and faculty produce high-impact biomedical research and advance the practice of medicine. We acknowledge that the U of M Medical School, both the Twin Cities campus and Duluth campus, is located on traditional, ancestral and contemporary lands of the Dakota and the Ojibwe, and scores of other Indigenous people, and we affirm our commitment to tribal communities and their sovereignty as we seek to improve and strengthen our relations with Tribal Nations. Learn more at