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This Week@WesternU, Feb. 3-7, 2014

by Rodney Tanaka

February 3, 2014

Read 6 mins

From the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific:

OPTI-West accreditation visit

OPTI-West, a western states regional consortium of osteopathic postgraduate medical education programs headquartered at COMP, took part in a two-day accreditation visit by the American Osteopathic Association site visit team in December. The AOA is performing a survey of OPTI–West to assess its performance at meeting 59 standards related sponsorship and delivery of osteopathic Graduate Medical Education.

During the exit conference, OPTI-West was informed it met or exceeded 58 out of 59 standards. This result will not be finalized until the AOA Council on OPTI meet in spring 2014.

“We are very excited to have such a positive review. We anticipate a five-year Continuing Accreditation Award in 2014,” said J. Michael Finley, DO, FACP, FACOI, FACR, OPTI-West’s Chief Academic Officer and COMP Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education. “Thank you to all who participated in our 15-month self-study, internal audit and mock review and the interviews conducted by the site visitors. Your efforts, successes and engagement were acknowledged by the site visit team. We look forward to 2014 and the work of continued OPTI-West program growth as well as further refinement of our Strategic Plan for the next three years.”

Click here for more information about OPTI-West.

Research support

COMP Associate Professor Li Zhong, PhD, received a gift of $50,000 from British American Tobacco (BAT) in support of his research on early detection of smoking-induced lung cancer on Jan. 30.

Dr. Zhong’s research interests focus on developing blood-based detection assay using tumor-associated autoantibodies as biomarkers for lung cancer early detection. His research achievements in this field have attracted a lot of attentions worldwide. BAT, based in London UK, is the second largest tobacco company worldwide. Dr. Zhong has been working closely with scientists at the Group Research and Development of BAT over the last year in developing a screening assay for identifying the risk of lung cancer from the high-risk smoking populations. This generous gift will be used as seeded money for such a development.

Kudos on accomplishments

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Lee Burnett, a COMP graduate, is a family physician with a unique spare-time passion. An active duty officer who has done two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, Burnett is also the founder and volunteer director of the Student Doctor Network (, an influential website for pre-medical and medical students, with more than 1.5 million unique visitors each month. Click here to read the full story.

Two COMP students attended a conference sponsored by the Council for Osteopathic Student Government Presidents in January. Second-year COMP-Northwest student Zachary Giesen and second-year COMP student Shahab (Sean) Shahangian, represented the college at the meeting. Student-doctor Shahangian was voted “Rookie of the Meeting.”

Second-year COMP student Nicole Rouse presented a talk, “Optimizing Differentiation of Neurons from Transdifferentiated Human Fibroblasts,” at the 2014 Western Student Medical Regional Meeting in Carmel, Calif. Jan. 23-25, 2014.

This work was from a summer research project done in Dr. Douglas Ethell’s lab (Associate Professor in COMP and the Graduate College of Biomedical Sciences) in 2013.

From the College of Allied Health Professions:

Department of Physician Assistant Education News

The PA Program was recently awarded a Song-Brown Grant Award. California established the Song-Brown Health Care Workforce Training Act (Song-Brown Program) in 1973 to increase the number of family practitioners providing services to the California population. The program encourages universities and primary care health professionals to provide their health care in medically underserved areas. The program provides financial resources to support family practice residency and primary care programs such as Physician Assistant. To be eligible for Song-Brown there must be some training in medically underserved areas, lower socioeconomic neighborhoods, or rural communities. PA Programs must also identify, recruit and admit primary care PA students who would serve in areas of need. Congratulations to the Department of PA Education on being awarded a grant.

Department of Physical Therapy Education News

Faculty, students, and staff will be attending the Annual Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association, which is being held Monday through Thursday this week in Las Vegas. Alumni Affairs will be hosting a WesternU reception the evening of Feb. 5 at the conference hotel, the Venetian.

From the College of Dental Medicine:

WesternU to provide free dental exams Feb. 4 for Give Kids A Smile

Western University of Health Sciences is partnering with the Center for Oral Health and the American Dental Association to provide free dental exams to children 17 and younger at two locations in Pomona, Calif. on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014.

The free exams will be provided from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 4 at the Village@Indian Hill, 1460 E. Holt Ave. Room #14, and Mendoza Elementary School, 851 S. Hamilton Blvd., in the portables on 8th Street and Hamilton Boulevard.

WesternU College of Dental Medicine students and faculty will provide free dental exams, cleanings, fluoride treatments and sealants.

Click here to read the full story.

From the College of Veterinary Medicine:

WesternU student earns national leadership award

Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine student Natalie Nguyen will receive the Dr. Jack Walther Leadership Award at the Western Veterinary Conference on Feb. 16-20, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The award recognizes veterinary student leaders and promotes lifelong professional service.

Nguyen, a third-year CVM student, said she feels honored and privileged to receive the recognition, which includes a $1,000 award and complimentary registration, lodging, airfare and a daily stipend for the conference. Click here to read the full story.

A message to CVM Alumni

Are you actively looking for a new job or just curious to see what’s out there? The WesternU CVM Veterinary Career Center (VCC) is a “feature packed” Job Directory services web site. The VCC provides access to the best, high-profile and even niche openings locally and nationwide from the industry’s leading institutions and practices. As a job seeker, you can: Build your own in-depth profile to market your skills & talent; Upload your resume and update it as often as you want (confidentially, if you prefer); Set up a personal Job Agent and be alerted when new jobs are posted; Review career-search tips and advice from recruiting experts; Search hundreds of jobs posted everyday by leading institutions and practices.

With many other features, the WesternU VCC is your “premiere” choice for job hunting. The VCC is part of the nationwide Veterinary Career Network (VCN), “an industry wide alliance of the AVMA, State Veterinary Medical Associations, affiliate organizations, other national industry associations and education institutions, that serve professionals working in the animal-health industry.” For more information, contact Emmanuel Griffon at (909) 469-8780 or

Will you be attending the Western Veterinary Conference (WVC), February 16-20, or do you live in the Las Vegas area? If so, please plan to join your fellow alumni and current CVM students and faculty for a reception in Dean Nelson’s suite at the Mandalay Bay Hotel on Monday, February 17, 7:30-10:30 p.m. This is a great opportunity to reconnect with your classmates, catch up with your former faculty members, and meet current students. For details, please RSVP to Annaluz Wilton at (909) 469-5565 or by Thursday, February 6.

From University Advancement:

Alumni News

The WesternU Alumni Association distributed 500 Fudgsicle Fudge Pops to students in Ethan Allen Park on Jan. 29. Known as “Sudden Snack,” these giveaways are held a few times each year to give the students a much deserved break (and a treat!). Students are not notified about the event until just about an hour beforehand, when they receive an email from the Alumni Office with the details of what, when, and where.

From the Pumerantz Library

Coming Soon – Harry Potter’s World Exhibit

Beginning March 10 and running until April 19, the Pumerantz Library is hosting Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic and Medicine. Read the Library’s blog for more details.


The Pumerantz Library is now providing access to uCentral. This online resource and companion mobile app provides access to the Harriet Lane Handbook and the Practical Guide to Care of the Medical Patient. The blog article has details about the free registration and links.

Bates Visual Guide

Bates visual guide to physical examination is now available online to the WesternU community. This online resource provides access to physical examination techniques, advanced assessment and OSCE clinical skills. Please view the blog for details.

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Western University of Health Sciences, 309 E. Second St., Pomona, Calif. 91766


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