ACOM welcomes class of 2026, while giving back to community

Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 1:54 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - This week the largest medical school in the state is welcoming roughly 216 new medical students. These students are making the Wiregrass their new home during their studies.

Orientation for the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (ACOM) 10th class of medical students kicked off on Monday and will conclude on Wednesday. This is just before classes start on Thursday, July 28th.

This week students are learning time management, how to take care of themselves and their family while taking a tough curriculum and getting to know their new classmates.

“Ultimately it’s about patient care, it’s about patient centered care, and that’s a lot of what we teach and what we focus on,” Dr. Philip Reynolds, associate dean of student services, said.

Dr. Reynolds said this is the college’s best year yet when it comes to representation. He said underrepresented minorities makes up almost 20 percent of the class of 2026. About half the class comes from Alabama, Florida and Georgia, but there is also representation of 25 other states, like Arizona.

Dr. Reynolds said they are glad to have each of these students at the college.

“it’s such a huge accomplishment,” Dr. Reynolds said. “We had almost 5,000 applications for these 200 spots, so it’s a huge accomplishment just to get into medical school, and now just enjoy it. Your dreams are coming true, that’s the best part of our jobs, is we actually watch these students’ dreams come true.”

These medical students have a jam packed list this week with tasks such as taking their new headshots, meeting their peers, and giving back to the community through a service project.

On Tuesday, students packed comfort kits for the American Red Cross. These will be distributed to families in need if and when disaster hits. These bags had a pillow, toothbrush, shampoo and body wash among other essential items.

“Being able to help again and be a part of the community and honestly seeing how ACOM really reinforces the service to the community was very very refreshing,” Stephanie Gonzalez, medical student, said. “It made me realize it definitely was the right choice.”

These students completed this project to not only make a difference and build up team work with their new peers, but also to hone in on skills they will use in their careers.

“We were able to help an external group of people but also us internally were able to work together really well, and you know we have tasked designated to each person which was cool to do that,” Bhanu Bucchireddigari, medical student, said. “In medicine as well how teamwork and team building works and each person will have a roll and you know come together to do something amazing.”

These medical students look forward to spending time here in the Wiregrass.

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