PROPOSED CNMI MEDICAL SCHOOL WANTS QUICK OK

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By Moneth G. Deposa

SAIPAN, CNMI (Mariana Variety, Oct. 18) - The chairman and chief executive officer of the newly registered Loyola University yesterday requested the simultaneous approval of two licenses for the medical, pharmacy and nursing schools he wants to open on Saipan.

Dr. Johnny Fong made a presentation to the administration, and to the medical licensing and nursing boards regarding his company’s plans for the institution.

Fong said delays in the issuance of the licenses for their curriculum is disrupting plans for the construction of the new school’s facilities.

The administration, through the Department of Public Lands, approved a lease agreement for an 8,000-square meter tract of land on Navy Hill for the construction of the facility that will cost an estimated US$40 million and will include laboratories, dormitories, and a 2,000-seat auditorium.

Fong said the medical, pharmacy, and nursing schools will cater to students from the U.S., the Pacific and the CNMI, while their business school will mostly serve Asian and local students.

His university will have a four-year medical school, a four-year pharmacy school, a two-year nursing school, and an undergraduate business school.

The CNMI licensing board, which is also the board of Northern Marianas College, has received Loyola’s application, according to acting chairwoman Eloise Furey.

"We are aware of Loyola’s application but the board still needs to review it and deliberate on this matter as soon as we convene in our next meeting," she said.

Finance Secretary Eloy Inos and Governor Benigno Fitial yesterday expressed concern that the ratification of the legislative initiative creating a new licensing board may "detour" the process.

Fitial asked the nursing and NMC boards to schedule a meeting before the November 3 election.

Fong said they would be willing to post a "bond" for conditional approval by the licensing board.

"We know that we are qualified and if the only concern is the anticipated approval of the legislative initiative, we can post a bond to ensure that requirements are met under the conditional license," Fong said.

He said their nursing school will not compete with NMC’s nursing program but will complement it.

Loyola’s license applications were presented yesterday to the NMC and nursing boards along with its 2,000-page curriculum.

Fong said the University of Loyola has been given US$500,000 by the Loyola Medical College Foundation.

Besides a scholarship program, the new university will also have a study now-pay-later scheme to help low-income students who want to pursue medical and nursing careers.

Public Health Secretary Joseph Kevin Villagomez said the new university will be of great help to the Commonwealth Health Center.

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