Joe Conaway, chairman of the Sussex Economic Development Action Committee, is pleased to announce that SEDAC is spearheading a study to determine the feasibility of establishing an osteopathic medical school in Sussex County. 

Pointing to the reason SEDAC has taken the lead, Chairman Conaway said, “Delaware is one of three states without a medical school. With a severe, long-term shortage of primary care physicians to serve the people of Sussex County, officially designated as an underserved area, we have decided we need to grow our own. We have talked about this problem and now the talking is over. We intend to find out, once and for all, if a medical school is doable in Sussex County. We thank our stakeholders and funding partners for having the courage to stand with us as we move forward in this great endeavor.” 

SEDAC has engaged Tripp Umbach ( to conduct the study. The firm is a national leader in medical education consulting and is already familiar with Sussex County. Tripp Umbach will determine the feasibility, the healthcare benefits, and the economic impact of – a new osteopathic medical school. Faculty and students at osteopathic medical schools focus on family medicine and primary care, the practice areas most needed in Sussex County. 

According to the American Medical Association, each physician in Delaware creates, on average, 11 direct jobs. Further, each physician generates $2.1 million in total economic impact to the state’s economy annually. In addition to the economic impact, each primary care physician is responsible for $3.6 million in healthcare cost savings by avoiding the overuse of emergency room services and improving the population’s health status. 

Bayhealth, Beebe Healthcare and TidalHealth Nanticoke, the three healthcare systems with major facilities in Sussex County, are key stakeholders. They are joined by the Sussex County Council in fully supporting the study initiative. 

SEDAC’s additional funding partners for the study are Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware, the Carl M. Freeman Foundation, The Christian and Julie Hudson Family Foundation, Chesapeake Utilities, Delaware Electric Cooperative and Fulton Bank. 

In awarding SEDAC a “BluePrints for Community” grant, Nick Moriello, president of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware said, “As the need grows for healthcare professionals, creating opportunities to attract, train and retain physicians in Delaware is crucial to keeping our state healthy. We appreciate the Sussex Economic Development Action Committee leading a feasibility study for a Sussex County medical school as we collectively seek solutions to our healthcare workforce shortage.” 

SEDAC’s economic development and healthcare subcommittee, with leadership from Chair Chris Weeks and Co-Chair George Beckerman, will oversee the study, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.