PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Continuing its long tradition of educating doctors of osteopathic medicine in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) welcomed 268 medical students to campus Monday, August 20. The Class of 2016 was selected from a record 7,156 applicants.
"Thanks to raised awareness and increasing numbers of colleges of osteopathic medicine, prospective medical students applied to the nation's osteopathic medical schools in record-breaking numbers for the sixth consecutive year," says Wendy Fernando, vice president for communications and marketing, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.
"The DO class of 2016 is comprised of a wonderful and diverse group of students," notes Ken Veit, DO, MBA, provost, senior vice president for academic affairs and dean. "I am continually impressed by the depth and breadth of experience our students bring to campus. Test scores and grades are, of course, important when we consider candidates," he continues, "but we also consider what a student brings in terms of life experience, commitment and drive."
Benjamin Daniel Whitfield is one such student. Considered "non-traditional" as a 30-year-old first-year student, Mr. Whitfield's education and experience position him well for success. After graduating from college with a degree in social work, he established a homeless ministry and mentored inner-city youth for four years. In his search for additional challenges, he earned his master's degree in international relations/social work and worked for four years for the New York City Office of Emergency Management performing terrorism and disaster preparedness.
Seeking a more hands-on role in alleviating human suffering, Mr. Whitfield joined Doctors without Borders and spent six months is Northern Nigeria where he created a field hospital for malnourished mothers and children. After a brief respite home, he returned to Africa, this time to Zimbabwe to fight a cholera outbreak. His final journey to Africa found him running a mass vaccination campaign during a meningitis epidemic and then assisting the survivors of an ethnic conflict. After witnessing one child's life being saved while feeling powerless as another child died, "I knew then and there that I had to become a doctor," he recalls.
Mr. Whitfield's decision to become an osteopathic physician was based on what he saw in Africa. "We could not depend on technology," he explains, "we had to rely on what we could do with our heads and our hands. I specifically want tools I can take back to Africa to help others such as manipulative medicine."
Also unique to the Class of 2016 is Zein Al-Atrache, the College's first candidate in the DO/PhD in cellular and molecular biology program. With a love of research and the desire to become a physician, Mr. Al-Atrache was thrilled to discover PCOM's new joint degree program with University of the Sciences. "I always wanted to be a doctor," he attests, and the love of research hit him while he was a student at the University of Mary Washington. "I was excited to learn that I could reconcile the two interests at PCOM."
Mr. Al-Atrache will follow a 2-3-2 model of study. His first two years will consist of didactic study in the DO program at PCOM, his next three years will be spent in a research lab either at PCOM or University of the Sciences, and his final two years will find him completing his clerkships. "I couldn't be happier to have found this program," he says, "there's a lot of tradition behind the PCOM name."
Throughout its over 100 year history, the College has prided itself on training primary care physicians. "As primary care becomes more crucial to keeping medical costs under control, PCOM is proud to note that approximately 65 % of its physicians practice primary care," confirms Dr. Veit.
In addition to the doctor of osteopathic medicine program, PCOM offers a doctor of pharmacy degree and graduate programs in biomedical sciences, clinical psychology, school psychology, counseling and clinical health psychology, forensic medicine, physician assistant studies and organizational development and leadership. The College has a branch campus in Suwanee, Georgia.
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has trained over 15,000 highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a "whole person" approach, treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM offers the doctor of osteopathic medicine degree, the doctor of pharmacy degree and graduate programs in clinical and school psychology, physician assistant studies, forensic medicine, organizational development and leadership, and biomedical sciences. Our students learn the importance of health promotion, education and service to the community and, through PCOM's Healthcare Centers, provide care to the medically underserved populations in inner city and rural locations.
CONTACT: Carol Weisl, +1-215-871-6304, [email protected]
SOURCE Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine