I’ve just spent the past three days with my new classmates at the newest med school in the country: The Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine. More informally: VCOM…and my second home for the next four years .
While the physical plant is one of the finest and we’ll look out over the Blue Ridge from our anatomy lab, I’m most impressed by the people here. Yesterday, our advisors individually introduced us to our class and faculty…the depth, diversity of experience and personal background, compassion and humor of these MS-1’s (not to mention the humor of the faculty !) was/is enormous. Introducing the students took 3+ hours! Later on, the faculty introduced themselves and, let me tell ya, they make all of us look like we’ve been standing still! One would expect med school professors to have earned “terminal” degrees (i.e. DO, MD, PhD) and professional “feathers-in-their-caps”, such as published research and awards. The faculty has all that — a LOT of it. It’s the depth of their accomplishments, degree of service to patients and populations, etc. that blew me away. This is a faculty that is upbeat and excited. (Being the only class, we’ve got them all to ourselves until next year when the new MS-1’s join us!).
When I applied and interviewed here, one of my concerns was “who is the faculty going to be?”/“how are they hiring faculty?” (i.e. critieria). I asked those questions in my interviews and was pleased with the responses. (Frankly, my concern was the possibility that the school might wind up with other med schools’ cast-offs…not the case).
Dr. Dixie Tooke-Rawlins, Dean of VCOM, has accomplished a med school magic hat trick of sorts by getting great doctors to leave great jobs, move their families here and start this school. And many of the faculty also have “professor of the year” awards from their previous med students, so we’ll probably have a tough time choosing at the end of this year !
Today was the school’s dedication day and roughly 500-600 people were there…faculty and administration, students, family and friends, Virginia Tech and AOA officials, state officials, and others. Impressive as can be. More impressive if you know that two years ago there was nothing but weeds where the school now stands, that the faculty needed to be hired, the school accredited, students interviewed, etc.
BTW, we’re fully accredited…100% right off the bat.
Ted went to all the spouse/SO events during orientation. Many students are married (or are “SO’ed”), have children, etc. We were told several times that ANY non-academic event at the school is open to our family. “Treat it like it’s your school too.”
If you’re applying soon, take a look (www.evvcom.org). I’ll try to post things here when I can. The mission statement is heavily “rural, primary care” oriented. The greater region is greatly in need of that, yet there’s room for specializing as well.
Good luck to everyone taking the MCAT this weekend! (One quick year ago, I was in your shoes…). Many of you will be accepted, so chin up for your next hurry up and wait!
VCOM occupies most of the front page of the Roanoke Times this morning…with a full page article on the inside. More briefly:
…check it out!
I’m especially pleased when I look around the room at my class. We’re going to have a great time learning together!
Great article !!! It's always exciting being in a brand new school!!!
Best of luck in your studies
I think I’ve said this before, but I’m pretty excited that there’s a DO school in Virginia now! Actually, I’m thrilled that there are now 4 medical schools in VA (3 MD and 1 DO). As someone who is interested in the DO route, I’d love to go there someday. But, of course, the other VA schools aren’t too shabby either
Keep us posted on your orientation and classes. I love reading about your experiences.
|QUOTE (StartingOver @ Aug 18 2003, 03:55 PM)|
|Keep us posted on your orientation and classes. I love reading about your experiences. |
Started classes today:
We took the plunge and started with 8 am biochem this morning. Then Immunology and Epidemiology/Preventive Medicine and Public Health. Very cool! Tomorrow we add Principles of Primary Care and OMM. The first year lecture hall has good accoustics and great AV. My classmates are terrific and study groups are forming. In general, we have our afternoons off to study, exercise, take care of outside concerns, etc. (Today, we got our sons to the peds for school physicals, then registered at their schools...tonight, I hit the books again).
We're all concerned about getting our note taking "down". And we're starting a scribe service. I think the faculty did a first-rate job of choosing texts...all books are very clinically related and tests will be multi-choice, board format.
The demographics of the class are interesting: 52% male/48% female, 21-45 yrs old (avg 26 yrs old), diverse ethnically, we've got ~ 30 people with a previous master's degree, one PhD, one PA, a couple of nurses, a bunch of EMT/Paramedics, people who have worked as phlebotomists, CNAs, ICU asst., hospice workers, engineers, in the military, teachers, someone who "makes the best brownies", several former Eagle Scouts, etc. Everyone has been friendly. "Family friendly" is an understatement here! My husband and sons can walk in to all open student areas of the school. There's going to be a pot luck dinner at the school and a monthly family movie night too. Students get "wellness points" for any of the student wellness programs they participate in...including pot lucks and movies.
While I feel a little nervous about "drinking from the firehose", I think it will be all right. I'll settle into a study schedule soon enough.
Blacksburg is terrific, handsome countryside, friendly, with lots for my husband and sons to do while I'm studying. Public schools here are very good.
Gotta go! Dinner's ready, then I've got a date with my textbooks!
Life at VCOM sounds wonderful! I know you're going to be busy, but I can't wait to hear more about it!