LUCOM welcomes third class, Class of 2020
Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) welcomed over 150 new students last week as the members of the Class of 2020 began their official journey towards becoming osteopathic physicians.
The new students experienced a variety of activities over the course of the week that introduced the expectations of them as student-doctors, personal and professional goals as future physicians, and the opportunity to connect, interact and become informed about their peers. The week was also filled with interactions with faculty and staff to allow the new students to develop a knowledge of the resources and talents they will encounter over the next four years. The annual White Coat Ceremony, inducting the students in the profession of medicine and ingraining the requirements for service and maintenance of humanity and ethical practices took place on Saturday to wrap up the week.
The first day of orientation began as an opportunity for the students to introduce themselves to their peers, members of the faculty, and enjoy fellowship over breakfast. After breakfast students were greeted and welcomed by Ronnie B. Martin, D.O., Dean of LUCOM, a tradition for new students at LUCOM. “Students, look to your left and to your right. Our goal is to make sure that in four years all of you walk across the same stage together,” said Dr. Martin.
New students also learned about LUCOM’s unique Compass Program, which consists of student groups led by faculty that meet regularly with the goal of supporting and nurturing personal, professional, and spiritual growth. “One thing that makes it so different is our family atmosphere,” said Troy Burnett, associate director of student services at LUCOM. “Students may be competing for rank, but at the same time they are bending over backwards to help each other.”
On Wednesday during their first convocation event students, faculty, and administrative staff joined together in the auditorium to hear from Dot Richardson, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in addition to being a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and the head coach of the Liberty University Flames softball program. She encouraged students about the journey they had just begun. “There’s nothing greater than going into the medical field and serving,” said Dr. Richardson. Members of the new class, when interviewed, expressed the feeling that they were called to serve. “I want to help people,” said Samuel Song, class of 2020. “I believe that God has given me the capacity to help people and I will work to the best of my ability to do so.”
The new class is very diverse, with students from 31 different states and one from Ontario, Canada. Each student has a unique story on how they chose LUCOM. “I spent the last 13 years in the military, 11 of which I was a Special Forces Medic,” said Juan Ramos. “Once I had my first combat casualty I realized that I want to be more involved in the full spectrum of a patient’s care.” The component of LUCOM’s mission to increase access to health care and provide service for those underrepresented and underserved reflects Ramos’ reasoning for entering medical school. “Physicians have lost sight of being servants and stewards of their communities and have turned medicine into a corporate machine where making money is the goal and patient care is second,” said Ramos. “Personally I will make every effort to bring the best care to a community.”
“Over the last year the admissions team has done an excellent job recruiting students that we all feel will advance the mission and vision of LUCOM,” said Benjamin Smith, associate director of Admissions. “The faculty and staff at LUCOM does a fantastic job working shoulder to shoulder with the students, helping at every possible juncture to prepare them in mind, body, and spirit for life.”
The Class of 2020 officially began their journey of obtaining a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree on Monday, Aug. 1.