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Campus Roundup

Students Advance Diversity Education, Are Elected to National Leadership Positions and Join Rural Pathway Program

May 27, 2021

UNTHSC/TCOM’s Primary Care Pathway Program Pipeline to Midland Opens in Summer

TCOM_Sparks_850pxwThis is the summer that University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth - Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC/TCOM) medical student Clarence Sparks has dreamed about—he gets to go home. Sparks isn’t taking time off from his medical school training, he’s starting rotations in his hometown of Midland as the first member of the Primary Care Pathway Program (PCPP). PCPP strives to the reverse the pathway back to Midland and address a significant problem plaguing rural communities. To renew the bonds developed at Midland College, PCPP students return to rural west Texas for their clerkship rotations during years three and four of medical school to address the lack of healthcare professionals.

“I’m really excited to go back and see some of the people that I worked with in the clinics,” Sparks said. “The desire to go back and into a role where I know I’m going to be able to help people is something special.”

The PCPP launched in October 2015 with help from a $350,000 primary care innovation grant aimed at expanding undergraduate and graduate medical education across Texas. The program is a unique partnership between Midland College, Midland Memorial Hospital, the University of North Texas in Denton and UNTHSC/TCOM. Read more about the PCPP and its students.

RVUCOM Professor LaPorta Awarded with CPEP Martha Illige Award

RVUCOM_LaPorta_850pxwRocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine (RVUCOM) would like to congratulate Anthony J. LaPorta, MD, director of RVU’s Military Medicine Program and professor of clinical surgery, on receiving the Center for Personalized Education for Physicians’ (CPEP’s) Martha Illige Award, which recognizes individuals who have helped improve the clinical skills of CPEP’s participants and, ultimately, the care of their patients.

Dr. LaPorta was recognized with the award at CPEP’s 30th anniversary celebration on April 28 for his work in the development of high-fidelity surgical simulations in collaboration with RVU and Strategic Operations, Inc. During his acceptance video, Dr. LaPorta noted that open surgery is not something taught to a high enough degree. “I’m very humbled by being able to help develop the open surgical simulator that has started to educate senior surgery residents and trauma surgeons, and allow us to evaluate their skills and return their skills.”

In addition, Dr. LaPorta was recognized for this advocacy of CPEP’s work. “[Dr. LaPorta] really put forth an incredible effort in exposing us to a number of individuals who were both locally and nationally renowned in the simulation world,” said Elizabeth S. Grace, MD, Medical Director and PROBE Program Director at CPEP. “He has enthusiasm and energy that is contagious. He just keeps giving and giving.”

Read more about Dr. LaPorta and his prestigious recognition.

WVSOM’s Diversity Efforts Aim for Greater Representation on Campus

WVSOM_Timmons_850pxwWhen Raekwon Timmons, a student in the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM)’s Class of 2023, heard about the documentary Black Men in White Coats, he felt a pang of recognition. The statistics highlighted in the film—for example, that only 2 percent of US physicians are Black men, or that fewer Black men applied to US medical schools in 2014 than in 1978—rang true to his personal experience.

“In my own experience, it has been difficult to find Black male physicians in West Virginia,” said Timmons, who is one of only three Black male students in his WVSOM class and the only Black male student in the class who hails from West Virginia, of students who self-reported their racial identity to the school. “The lack of representation in the medical field may be a reason fewer African American men are applying to medical school. It’s hard to be something you can’t see, and that’s why more diversity is needed.”

Timmons was fortunate to grow up with a health professional as a role model. He discovered at a young age that few of his schoolmates were similarly exposed to people with careers in healthcare. Read more about student doctor Raekwon Timmons and his work to advance diversity education while in medical school.

KCU-COM Student Graduates after Being Told She Wouldn’t Make It through Medical School

Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCU-COM) graduate Paola Candia, DO, listened to only one person’s advice, her mom’s, who told her she could do it. Now as a family medicine resident in Hood River, OR, she will help other immigrant families.

“They, actually, are very strong in their community outreach and they work with a lot of immigrant farmworkers in the area,” she said. “[During my interview there, the staff] told me that I remind them of the people that they serve, and those are the people that I want to help as well.”

Read more about Dr. Candia, her background and her transition to residency.

PCOM Students Elected to National Leadership Positions

PCOM_amwa-leadership-rss_600pxwPhoto (from left to right): Monali Shah (DO '23) PCOM South Georgia; Julia Burns (DO '24) PCOM; Lauren Jones (DO '23) PCOM

Recently, two students from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) and one student from PCOM South Georgia were elected to national student leadership positions in the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA). These students were part of a national application pool of both allopathic and osteopathic medical students. To be considered, candidates were required to provide a brief written biography, as well as a video or written message outlining why they feel they are qualified for the role. AMWA’s medical student members were then invited to vote for their preferred candidate.

Read more about these students, as well as a brief overview of their positions and goals for these positions.

Joint Effort Leads to PCOM Georgia Campus Vaccine Events

Photo: Adwoa D. Aduonum, PhD, MSC, associate professor and director of the Interprofessional Education program for the PCOM Georgia DO program, receives a COVID-19 vaccine from student Rebecca Collins (MS/PA ' 22).

PCOM Georgia students, faculty, staff and other community members received COVID-19 vaccinations at two events on campus. Thanks to the combined efforts of PCOM School of Pharmacy alumnus Kaleb Zhang, PharmD ’20; Pam Marquess, PharmD, co-owner of Bethelview Pharmacy; and Kim Lucier, PCOM Georgia administrative services and events manager, more than 200 students, faculty and staff at PCOM Georgia, as well as their family members, have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Rapid Response Team, a group of administrators at PCOM’s three campuses who are overseeing the college’s response to the pandemic, approved the events as part of the President’s Community Wellness Initiative. The initiative’s mission is to “create educational and health services programming and resources that support and sustain the physical, mental, nutritional and environmental wellness of the college’s surrounding communities.” Read more about the vaccination events.

ATSU-KCOM Commencement Welcomes 169 New Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine

Photo: ATSU-KCOM Dean Margaret Wilson, DO, '82, speaks during the 2021 commencement ceremony in Kirksville, MO.

The A.T. Still University of Health Sciences Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM) recently held its 2021 commencement ceremony, graduating 169 Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Graduates represented 27 states and 12 countries.

ATSU-KCOM Dean Margaret Wilson, DO, ’82, called upon graduates to reflect on their journeys throughout their careers. “Graduates, you are now ready to move into the next phase of your career. Your training has prepared you well to provide the best possible care to your patients. You will be sought out for your expertise and what you have to offer,” Dr. Wilson said. “Remember your humble roots, remember those who came before you, those who trained you, and remember you are the future of osteopathic medicine. Know where you stood at this time in history, on the front lines of healthcare, when your patients and the nation needed you most.”

ATSU-KCOM alumnus Col. Todd P. Huhn, DO, MPH, ’99, US Air Force, medical service corps, senior flight surgeon, delivered the commencement address and shared stories from his career to explain the importance of connecting with patients. Read more about the commencement and its speakers.