WesternU COMP-Northwest hosts osteopathic student government leaders

Conference culminated in clean-up of McDowell Creek Falls Park

LEBANON, Oregon – Students from all 38 osteopathic medical colleges across the United States visited Lebanon last week for a conference focused on student government leadership.

Zac Young (right), Linn County Parks and Recreation operations supervisor, givesinstructions to the group of 40 medical students ready to improve trails at McDowell Creek Falls County Park on Jan. 15, 2017.

The conference for the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP) touched on a variety of topics, including mental health awareness, women in leadership, and political advocacy. The conference culminated with a student service project: trail maintenance at McDowell Creek Falls County Park.

“I know for them it doesn’t seem like much, but for us it really helps out,” said Brian Carroll, director of Linn County Parks and Recreation.

Medical students removed debris from trails that had been damaged in storms, helped repair a staircase at the top of the falls, and spread five yards of gravel at picnic table sites and in areas that were tripping hazards.

It took the 40 students about an hour to complete the work that would’ve taken a full day for two or three Linn County employees, Carroll said.

“Many hands makes light work, and that’s the truth in this particular situation,” he added.

The service project is a requirement for a school to host the COSGP conference. Dylan Rodgers, President of the COMP-Northwest Class of 2019, applied in September to have WesternU COMP-Northwest host. The Lebanon campus ended up welcoming 72 student government presidents and vice presidents, as well as an additional 12 students who had previously served as student government leaders.

“I knew that the family-centered culture of the students, staff, and faculty of COMP-Northwest would provide for an awesome atmosphere for the COSGP to conduct their winter meeting,” he said. “I have an enormous amount of pride for our college, the people who create such a welcoming culture, and the beautiful area that we live in. I also wanted to give our students the opportunity to network and meet other osteopathic medical students from across the nation.”

A research symposium for medical students was held in conjunction with the conference. More than 13 projects were submitted to the symposium.

WesternU COMP-Northwest students Zachary Kerosky, Christopher Jurief, and Jonathan Kersh won first-place honors during the symposium. The winning students’ research was titled “The Comparative Response of Human Neuroblastoma and Stem Cell Cultures to Environmental Toxins.” The research compared two neural cell culture models and how the models responded to known environmental toxins.

Other schools that participated in the symposium included Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine – Ohio University, DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine – Lincoln Memorial University, and West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.