Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MU-COM) hosted a White Coat Ceremony Sunday, August 11 at the Indiana Roof Ballroom, a traditional way of marking the beginning of a student’s career as a health care professional.
“The white coat serves as a symbol of joining the patient care team of physicians-in-training. They pledged to provide compassionate quality care to their patients and to honor the professional duties to their profession and osteopathic medicine,” said Dr. Paul Evans, vice president and dean of MU-COM. “It was a historic day of pride for students, their families, and the Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine.”
Statistics indicate that Indiana needs approximately 5,000 additional doctors to serve its aging population. Most of that shortage comes in the area of primary care, especially in rural areas. The shortage in primary care physicians is due in part to the costs of operating a primary care practice, which has increased 56 percent since 2001.
Fortunately, the percentage of osteopathic physicians who choose to practice primary care is much higher than that of their allopathic counterparts. Osteopathic physicians also practice in rural and underserved areas in larger numbers than their allopathic counterparts.
With 162 students in MU-COM, the number of students studying medicine in Indiana increases by nearly 50 percent. Of those 162 students, more than half are Indiana residents who will qualify for $40,000 in scholarships funded by the Indiana General Assembly. To receive the scholarships, the students must remain in Indiana upon graduation and establish a primary care practice in a rural or underserved area of the state.
The Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine is the nation’s first osteopathic medical school at a Catholic university, and just the fifth medical school of any kind located at a Catholic university. Marian University believes that the university’s rich Franciscan heritage, coupled with the osteopathic approach to healing the “whole” person—body, mind and spirit—offers an educational alternative that can’t be found elsewhere.
The future doctors began classes on August 12 in the Michael A. Evans Center for Health Sciences.