The College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif., is the No. 1 medical school for Hispanics in Southern California, according to a just-released business magazine’s nationwide survey.

COMP ranks 18th on the list and joins Stanford University as the only California schools in the top 20, according to Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Hispanic Business magazine.

The Top 20 Best Medical Schools for Hispanics survey was released in September. The ranking is based on a point system for enrollment, faculty, student services, retention rate and reputation.

“COMP’s mission is to graduate caring, compassionate, lifelong learners with the distinctive osteopathic philosophy and return them to the community within which we live and serve,” said COMP Dean Clinton Adams, DO, FAAFP, FACHE. “The overwhelming focus of that effort is Southern California. We cannot achieve that mission if we do not reflect its cultural characteristics.”

WesternU received a solid score all around, from the retention rate of Hispanic students to a good enrollment number and a good faculty score, said Michael Caplinger, research supervisor for Hispanic Business magazine. Put together, the school has a well-rounded program for its Hispanic students, he said.

“The goal of our school rankings is to provide our readers with a basis to begin their search for a graduate school that will be suitable for their needs,” he said. “Schools such as Western that provide services and programs geared towards Hispanics deserve the recognition that goes with their efforts. While no ranking system can be the absolute deciding factor for a particular student, we hope to provide a solid starting point for our readers who are looking for a graduate school that will suit them.”

The Latino Medical Students Association (LMSA) at Western University of Health Sciences deserves a lot of credit, Adams said.

“Our student club spends a great deal of their free time leading many other students in working in the Latino community promoting health and health care careers, thereby sensitizing and educating students of differing backgrounds,” he said. “The recruiter, Ms. Tricia Murdoch, and the LMSA attend multiple recruiting forums throughout the year and bring in many students to the Osteopathic Awareness Conferences held on campus.”

LMSA helps increase the number of underrepresented students in medical school through mentor programs and community outreach, said Susan Hanson, LMSA adviser and director of admissions for COMP. Diversity is important for serving the Southern California population, she said.

One of LMSA’s goals is to help Latinos develop into physicians with a strong foundation built upon a network of individuals ranging from undergraduate students to veteran physicians, said LMSA Co-chairman Fernando Sorto, 27, DO class of 2010, a Loyola Marymount University graduate who was born in San Salvador, El Salvador and raised in Covina, Calif. WesternU’s top 20 ranking is a welcome affirmation of that goal, he said.

“The staff and faculty have demonstrated repeatedly their desire to help our organization, and in doing so promote the establishment of physicians within underrepresented groups,” Sorto said. “It is my sincere hope that our organization has had some small part in helping our university’s fantastic achievement, and I hope that together we will continue to strive for this goal. In promoting underrepresented groups in the medical field, we also hope to strive for another common objective that LMSA and Western share; that is helping to develop more physicians from underrepresented areas in the hopes that they will aid their communities in need.”

There is a great need for caring, compassionate and culturally sensitive physicians in Southern California as well as in the rest of the country, said Dr. Shirley Johnston, DVM, PhD, WesternU vice president of University Advancement.

“The College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific at Western University has a long history of serving Hispanic populations in our communities, both in the provision of medical care and in the education of Hispanic students who become doctors,” Johnston said. “The school can take great pride in being recognized by the Hispanic Business magazine as the best medical school in Southern California for Hispanics.”

For complete survey results visit Hispanic Business magazine at: