URI Kingston RI

Rhode Island Senate Establishes Commission to Explore Creation of Medical School at URI

The Rhode Island Senate has approved a resolution establishing a 21-member commission to investigate and address the state’s healthcare workforce, focusing on the education and retention of primary care physicians. The commission will also explore the feasibility of creating a medical school at the University of Rhode Island.

Senator V. Susan Sosnowski (D – Dist. 37, South Kingstown), who sponsored the resolution (2024-S 3165), emphasized the urgency of the situation. “Rhode Island is headed for a crisis in primary care,” Sosnowski stated. “This year, we made significant strides with the Senate’s healthcare package, including funding for primary care training sites and tuition assistance, but more needs to be done. We must explore all possible solutions to ensure Rhode Islanders have access to the care they need.”

The resolution highlights the state’s ongoing struggle with a net loss of primary care clinicians, a trend expected to worsen. The shortage has led many residents to rely on community health centers and urgent care facilities, which adds strain to the healthcare system.

Despite having a private medical school, Rhode Island has not established a new medical school since 1972. “Rhode Island struggles to retain primary care physicians after graduation and to attract new physicians to the state,” the resolution notes. “The establishment of a college of medicine is crucial to train and retain the next generation of primary care physicians.”

The resolution is co-sponsored by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D – Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence), and Senators Pamela J. Lauria (D – Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence), and Alana M. DiMario (D – Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown, New Shoreham).

The commission is tasked with developing and presenting its recommendations to the Senate by December 20, 2025.




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