The inaugural class of PCOM Opportunities Academy recently completed their five-week session and celebrated during a graduation ceremony, where they received symbolic white coats to mark their start on the path towards becoming health practitioners and researchers.
“We are really excited that a lot of our [Academy] students have opened their eyes up to the healthcare occupations, and know what they want to do with their future,” said Dr. Lisa McBride, PhD, chief diversity officer at PCOM. “That’s largely because of our staff, faculty and students who served as instructors, and got them energized about the five great diseases.”
This summer, 33 students participated in the Academy, the purpose of which is to help raise interest in science, technology, engineering, and math—plus medicine (STEM+M).
Over the course of the summer, the 33 students studied those diseases—cancer, infectious disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and neurological disease—through lectures, demonstrations and field trips to some of Philadelphia’s most prestigious scientific institutions. Students also had the opportunity to learn from a diverse group of leaders in the health care field—most notably, Antonia Novello, MD, the first Latina US surgeon general, who spoke at the graduation ceremony.
“You’ve been given a tremendous opportunity,” she told the Academy students. “Please don’t squander it.”
PCOM and its partners—ASPIRA Schools of Pennsylvania, Inc. and Esperanza, Inc.—will now track students’ performance and continued interest in science, technology, math and medicine (STEM+M) as they move through high school and into undergraduate education, and how the Academy will influence its partner institutions’ curricula and teaching methods.
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has trained more than 15,000 highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach, treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM offers the doctor of osteopathic medicine, doctor of pharmacy and doctor of psychology degrees and graduate programs in mental health counseling, school psychology, physician assistant studies, forensic medicine, organizational development and leadership, and biomedical sciences. Our students learn the importance of health promotion, education and service to the community and, through PCOM’s Healthcare Centers, provide care to the medically underserved populations in inner city and rural locations.
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