WCU College of Osteopathic Medicine reaches out to local students

Published 8:59 pm Sunday, December 19, 2021

When the William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine (WCUCOM) was founded a decade ago, it had one major focus – create primary care physicians to work in under-served areas of Mississippi and the Southeast U.S.

“If your community has a good family doctor, a good internal medicine doctor, and a good pediatrician, you’ve got a stronger community. When people have access to medical care, you realize that prevention of problems like diabetes and obesity can begin at the primary care level,” said Dr. Italo Subbarao, dean of the WCU College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Getting an early start

WCUCOM is reaching out now to Pine Belt school districts and students who want to become doctors.

Dr. Veronica Scott, director of WCUCOM’s Office of Diversity, said medical school faculty can advise students what steps to take to make themselves competitive as they apply to medical schools.

“That conversation doesn’t start when they finish college and they’re about to apply to a medical school. We need to reach out early to students who are in high school and junior high. They need to think ahead about what courses to take. They need to be prepared for the Medical College Admission Test. They need high grade point averages in science courses,” Scott said.

“Students who don’t receive guidance can find they’re already behind when they apply to medical school. This is important, especially when you talk about diversity because we want to increase the number of students in our medical school from populations that are under-represented in medicine.”

Two-way campus visits

WCUCOM can also help by partnering with health science programs at high schools.

William Carey students can visit classrooms to talk about their journey to medical school and what life is like as a medical student. High school students can tour WCU’s medical school and see what it’s like to run an emergency room procedure on a medical mannequin in one of the simulation labs. They can observe osteopathic manipulation therapy or see the anatomy lab.

“We really want to create pathway programs for interested students, and the College of Osteopathic Medicine can tailor its assistance to the needs of individual schools. We want to invest in the students in our community,” Scott said.

In November, WCUCOM asked school superintendents and city leaders to help get the word out about these partnership opportunities during a half-day Medical School Open House. Attendees included school superintendents from Hattiesburg, Laurel, Petal, Lamar County, and Forrest County, and city leaders from Hattiesburg and Laurel.

For more information, contact Dr. Veronica Scott at (601) 318-6043 or email vscott@wmcarey.edu.