School Department News
The William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine (WCUCOM) held the fifth annual White Coat Ceremony for the medical school class of 2018 on August 16 in Smith Auditorium.
The new class consists of 108 students selected from an applicant pool of 2,442. The class includes 66 men and 42 women ranging in ages from 18-45. The average age in the new class is 25. The class has a total of 112 bachelor’s degrees and 48 master’s degrees, with some students holding several degrees.
The majority of the new students are from the Gulf South region of the United States. Of the students, 28 are from Mississippi; 23 are from Louisiana; 15 are from Florida; 14 are from Texas; eight are from Arkansas; and six are from Alabama. There are two students each from California, Georgia and New York, and one student each from Arizona, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon and Tennessee.
During the ceremony, each student was ceremonially cloaked with a white medical coat before taking the osteopathic oath of commitment in front of faculty members, family and guests. This meaningful ritual symbolizes the students’ promise to accept the fundamental obligations in the practice of osteopathic medicine: to be excellent in science, to be compassionate and to lead lives of uprightness and honor.
WCUCOM, the second medical school in Mississippi and the state’s only osteopathic medical school, graduated its inaugural class and received full accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation in 2014. The annual White Coat Ceremony welcomes new students into both the osteopathic medicine profession and also to WCU.
Hattiesburg, MS, May 23, 2014 - William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine (WCUCOM) will graduate the inaugural medical school class on May 24 at 10 a.m. in Smith Auditorium. Ninety-four students will receive their doctor of osteopathic medicine degrees during this historic event. Upon graduation, WCUCOM will officially obtain accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA).
Discussions to establish the medical school developed nearly 10 years ago when William Carey University’s Board of Trustees recognized the need for primary care physicians in the region and saw an opportunity to make that dream a reality. In 2007, under the leadership of current WCU President Dr. Tommy King, a dean for the WCUCOM was hired. In January 2008, the medical school was officially founded, and in August 2010, the WCUCOM welcomed its inaugural class of 110 students.
As the 26th school of osteopathic medicine in the country and the first in the state, WCUCOM is training student doctors for careers in primary care medicine to address the physician shortage in the Gulf South Region, particularly within rural and underserved communities. WCUCOM is not only working to train students to become successful primary care physicians, but also to retain them upon graduation, providing a major source for the state healthcare workforce. Admissions preference is strongly given to applicants from Mississippi and the Gulf South U.S.
To further foster the school’s mission, the clinical curriculum is delivered by a majority of primary care physicians. In fact, over 60 percent of WCUCOM’s full-time clinical faculty members are primary care certified, while approximately 80 percent of the required clinical rotations are primary care oriented in community hospitals and clinics. The 67 hospitals and over 375 individual clinics used for core third-year student rotations are in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, and Florida, with the majority being in-state. Combined with the over 130 hospitals in 27 states used for fourth-year student elective rotations, the WCUCOM has 866 preceptors, with some as far as California and New York.
“Until WCUCOM began classes four years ago, Mississippians who wanted to become osteopathic physicians had to go to West Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, or Florida to attend medical school and residency,” said Dr. William Mayo, owner of the Mayo Eye Center in Oxford, clinical instructor at the WCUCOM, and member of the American Osteopathic Association’s board of trustees. “It is more difficult to get physicians to return to Mississippi when they have spent several years away. It‘s vitally important that we can train our D.O.s here in Mississippi.”
WCUCOM is continually working to establish residency programs around the state to aid in retention efforts. WCUCOM Dean Dr. Jim Turner, who was recently nominated to Team Leader for COCA, stated that the next step the medical school will take is to address the development of post-graduate options in Mississippi to meet the residency training needs of WCUCOM graduates.
The medical school has already made quite an impact in Hattiesburg and the surrounding areas, and it will provide benefits for years to come; economically and educationally. Most importantly, WCUCOM will provide medical service to many whom may otherwise not have received it.
“The College of Osteopathic Medicine has brought WCU to a level that was beyond the dreams of Carey employees and alumni,” said Dr. Tommy King, president of WCU. “The graduation of the first class of doctors will be an historical occasion for Hattiesburg and Mississippi. This moment is possible through the support and hard work of Carey trustees over the past five years, Dean Turner and the entire faculty and staff, and many supporters throughout Mississippi and the Gulf Region.”
For more information on WCUCOM, contact Rebecca Holland, director of operations, at 601-318-6663 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hattiesburg, MS, May 12, 2014 - Dr. James “Jim” Turner, dean of the William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine (WCUCOM), was appointed to Team Chair for the American Osteopathic Association (AOA)’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA). The appointment to this position followed the announcement of the WCUCOM’s official accreditation from COCA, which will be complete after the inaugural WCUCOM graduation ceremony on May 24 at 10 a.m. in Smith Auditorium.
Dr. Turner was also recently appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant to serve as a member of the Healthcare Solutions Institute’s Board of Directors. The Mississippi Healthcare Solutions Institute, which was formed in 2013, serves as a public-private partnership to champion healthcare growth and development.
Dr. Turner has worked as an Osteopathic family physician and emergency physician in Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, and West Virginia. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Medicine and is an inspector for the American Osteopathic Association for medical colleges and emergency medicine residencies. He relocated to Hattiesburg and joined the WCUCOM family in 2011 from Charleston, W.Va., where he worked in post graduate education and developed an emergency medicine residency program. Dr. Turner is married to Dr. Sherry Turner, D.O., and has a daughter, Ashley.