More than half of the Class of 2018 will complete residency programs in primary care

Graduates from WesternU COMP-Northwest Class of 2018 leave the commencement ceremony to the applause of faculty, staff, and family members.

One hundred and two medical students were awarded doctorates in osteopathic medicine today, June 1, 2018, beginning the next step on their educational journey.

The Class of 2018 is the fourth to graduate from Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest. Since 2015, 401 osteopathic physicians have graduated from WesternU COMP-Northwest, with 58 percent matching into primary care residency programs.

From the Class of 2018, 55 graduates will go into primary care fields including family medicine (24), internal medicine (21), pediatrics (nine), and OB-GYN (one). Students also placed into emergency medicine residency programs (10), anesthesiology (eight), general surgery (seven), and neurology (four), among other specialties.

Amanda Johnston, DO ’18, is one of the seven new doctors who will join a general surgery residency program. “I had been a PA before medical school, so this is something that I have wanted for a long time,” Johnston said. “It took me a little bit of time, but I did it and I’m super excited.”

She credited her mother with helping her get through medical

school. “My mom has been my rock through this whole process,” she said. “I love her dearly. She’s a strong woman who has been a great mentor all through life and I wouldn’t be here today without her.”

Johnston has three weeks before she starts work at St. John Providence Health System in Warren, Michigan, and would like to come back to Oregon after her residency training.

“I’ve loved living here and I hope I can come back in five years,” she said.

Twenty-two WesternU COMP-Northwest graduates will complete their residency training in the Northwest – 10 in Washington, seven in Oregon, two in Montana, and one each in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming.

Shanette Owen, DO ’18, will join Sollus Northwest Family Medicine in Grandview, Wash., for a family medicine residency. Owen and her husband, Trevor, moved to Lebanon in 2009 to serve as pastors at the Lebanon Free Methodist Church. That same week, WesternU broke ground on the COMP-Northwest building. At the time, Owen was finishing her bachelor’s degree and was considering applying to medical school, but wasn’t sure how that would work in a rural town.

“I literally opened up the newspaper that week and said, ‘Oh! They are opening a medical school here.’ It was serendipitous,” Owen said.

Like Owen, many students from the Class of 2018 call the Northwest home. Mark Anderson and Karla Davenport, parents of Bernard Roscoe, DO ’18, were happy their son was able to attend medical school so close to their home in Sublimity, Ore.

“We have been very impressed with the school, and we didn’t even know the school was here until Bernard started attending,” Anderson said. “As the campus has grown, it’s turned out to be a gem here, and Lebanon should be very proud.”

The pair was also proud of their son for accomplishing his dream of becoming a physician.

“He is someone who has always worked very hard at academics,” Anderson said. “This is very exciting for us, and it’s great to see him reach the pinnacle of his schooling.”

Roscoe now heads to the University of Wyoming at Cheyenne for a family medicine residency program.

The ceremony for 102 newly-minted physicians was opened by Daniel R. Wilson, MD, PhD, President of Western University of Health Sciences. “Commencement is a swirl of emotions – happiness, pride, confidence and especially for the graduates, relief. You made it,” Wilson said. “You kept your goal in sight, and today you have attained it.”

David Connett, DO ’84, Vice Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific on the main WesternU campus in Pomona, Calif., gave the keynote address. His daughter, Breanna Connett, DO ’18, was among the graduates and will now head into a general surgery residency program.

Connett stressed the importance of time prioritization. “The most important commodity in your life will be time. Don’t forget these words that I tell you. Time is a predator,” he said. “It’ll encroach on your kids’ soccer games, children’s birthday parties, and ceremonial banquets. These are just as important as you seeing your patients or going to galas as a physician.”

Medicine is a calling, he said, but you can’t be an effective physician without work-life balance. “If you have a conflict between a meeting and a kid’s birthday party, go to the kid’s birthday party. No one will remember in 10 years if you miss the meeting, but a little girl will never forget you missed the birthday party,” Connett said. “My advice to all of you, regardless of how busy you are in your residency or later in your career, is to take time for yourself, your spouse or significant other, your family and friends. At the end of the day, it is all about work-life balance to really be able to enjoy your life and career.”

Alyssa Horne, DO ’17, welcomed the graduates to the WesternU Alumni Association. She challenged students to remember no one person is more important than the other on a health care team, and to possess skills but not be possessed by them. “Medicine will take as much of your time as you are willing to give it or allow, but remember you cannot effectively help others if you do not take care of yourself,” she said. She encouraged the new graduates to find balance between learning, sleeping, exercise, family and work.

“Lastly, you will likely be waking up before the rooster crows. After the initial groan, which no one will fault you for, remember the reason you started down this path,” Horne said. “You will develop a symbiotic relationship with your patients, each learning from each other. Cherish that relationship, because there is nothing like it.”

At the end of the ceremony, COMP-Northwest Dean Paula M. Crone, DO ’92, charged the Class of 2018 to be extraordinary and exceptional, and to settle for nothing less.

“You are now racing forward to the next stage of your lives, taking your place in the world of medicine with a hard-earned degree, the letters DO after your name, and the ability to change the world because of the education you have received,” Crone said. “Never forget to practice with purpose, passion and skill, and to use your head, hands and your heart – to listen and to care. I charge each and every one of you to always remember at the end of every action, every thought, every deed, there is a patient.”