The College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest campus has yet to open its doors in Lebanon, Ore., but prospective students are lining up to apply for the 100 slots available in the inaugural class that begins in fall 2011.

More than 1,400 applications have been received, with several months left in the application process. The interview process began on Oct. 9 and applications will be accepted until Feb. 1, 2011.

“The early deluge of applications only codifies our historic belief that there was a significant unmet need both for medical education and health care services in geographic locations outside the major metropolitan areas of Seattle and Portland,” said COMP Dean Clinton Adams, DO.

Thirty-nine applicants, mostly from the northwest region, traveled to Lebanon for their formal interview with the school on Oct. 9. The interview is the final step in the application process to medical school following the primary and secondary written application documents.

The interviews were conducted by an amazing group of leaders who have volunteered to provide support for COMP-Northwest, including state and regional osteopathic physicians, Oregon business leaders, and representatives from Samaritan Health Services. The volunteers were divided into groups of three and conducted interviews for three to four applicants.

The interview day began with opening remarks by Dean Adams, followed by remarks from Paula Crone, DO, Executive Associate Dean for COMP-Northwest. The interviewees then received an orientation and overview of COMP, including presentations from Admissions, Financial Aid, Student Affairs and the COMP curriculum.

The day concluded with a 90-minute bus tour of the area, taking in the cities of Lebanon, Albany and Corvallis and highlighting the history, geography, amenities, activities and hospital facilities in each city.

“It’s very difficult for Oregonians and students from the Northwest to access medical education in the Northwest,” Adams said. “These students coming from the Northwest, educated in the Northwest, offer a significant solution to the health care needs of the Northwest as we face the ever-increasing demand for primary care and specialty services. The creation of a new opportunity for medical education in a small-town, rural environment will go a long way toward achieving our objective of providing health care to the many underserved areas of the Northwest.”

COMP-Northwest will be the first new medical school built in Oregon in more than a century. The new COMP-Northwest facility is a 54,000-square-foot building due to be completed in spring 2011. The building contains two large lecture halls and four 60-seat classroom spaces, 15 student breakout and study rooms, an anatomy lab, an osteopathic manual medicine lab and significant research space.

COMP-Northwest is the approved new campus in the expansion of the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, which was founded in Pomona, Calif. in 1977. COMP has graduated more than 3,800 osteopathic physicians and is now one of nine colleges that make up Western University of Health Sciences.