Sara Shu, BS, Class of 2021

Who at WesternU has made you feel supported and how? Ever since day one, the faculty and staff have truly been supportive and encouraging during my transition to medical school. WesternU is a nurturing environment. I learned early on that our professors are very approachable and go out of their way to reach out and help students. I felt comfortable to seek help when I needed it, knowing that everyone is here to help us succeed.

How has your involvement in co-curricular activities (e.g. clubs or student government association) impacted you and/or the community you serve? ? I was able to find student organizations that I was particularly passionate about and wanted to be more involved with. Co-curricular activities really put into perspective our medical school education and help to balance the rigors of our curriculum. Whether you want to enrich your OMM knowledge, learn medical Chinese and Spanish, learn more about different specialties and research, or just make music with your classmates, there’s sure to be a club for you. Furthermore, volunteering has introduced me to our surrounding community and the many ways that we can help to make a difference even as medical students-in-training. I was able to mentor high school students, provide health education at senior homes, and volunteer at a number of free health clinics around the community. Every time, I am emboldened with a renewed sense of why I chose to pursue medicine.

Elenie Philippas, BA, Class of 2021

Why did you choose your WesternU program? After researching this medical school and attending Preview Day, I was very motivated to attend this University. I immediately liked that the campus was small because it provides a more intimate feeling for all the students. Interacting with the faculty, staff and students allowed me to see how friendly and kind everyone was. I like that this school has outreach programs dedicated to helping underserved populations. Additionally, my Physician attended WesternU and I enjoyed that she had a different approach to medicine than all the other physicians I had in the past. As a result of this, I knew I wanted to attend the same program that she did.

Etuajie Evelyn Oiyemhonlan, MS., Class of 2019

How have you seen the University’s humanistic philosophy lived out by members of the WesternU family? WesternU’s mission and philosophy is lived out by many faculty members however one faculty member stands out to me because of the personal clinical and outreach opportunities I have had alongside of him. Dr. Redding in the OMM department lives out humanism everyday. I often call on Dr. Redding to assist as preceptor to homeless shelter or church health fairs on his free weekends. For over two years, Dr. Redding has never said “no” to giving up his weekends to provide students with learning opportunities and give free medical care to the Pomona Community at healthfairs. Dr. Redding defies what it means to be humanistic, compassionate and caring.

What would you tell a prospective student about WesternU? The health professions journey and medical education is a rigorous one, however encouragement and support from faculty members at your institution can drastically lessen the vulnerability and fatigue you may face as a health professions student. WesternU’s system of support is critical and key during these times.

David Stuart Pilkington, BA., Class of 2020

Why did you choose your WesternU program? When I interviewed at WesternU-COMP, I was impressed by the faculty’s and students’ kindness. Since beginning my pre-clinical education, however, I have also seen how COMP’s faculty and administration ubiquitously strive for improving this program so that students excel in clinical rotations and future residencies. Our Essentials of Clinical Medicine program emphasizes professionalism and empathy. Our Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine classes are rigorous philosophically and technically, and students can improve patients’ quality-of-life early in their careers due to the department’s faculty and curriculum. Our Inter-professional Education course engages students from all of WesternU’s professional schools to collaborate on difficult case studies. We have lectures on professional branding, current shifts in health care, and how to be a caring and savvy physician. Most importantly, at COMP, a student’s voice is heard. When students need support, or have ideas on how to improve WesternU-COMP, our faculty and administrators listen, support, and find solutions. It is an amazing experience.

Trang (Jan) Hua, BA, Class of 2020

Who at WesternU has made you feel supported and how? The entire staff and faculty at WesternU College of Osteopathic Medicine have made me feel incredibly supported. During challenging times, my college staff and faculty have come together to make sure that I have the resources and support I need to overcome difficulties and succeed in my program.

Why did you choose your WesternU program? I chose WesternU COMP because I could tell from meeting faculty and students during my interview day that the school cared about its students. I was also able to sense that WesternU students were kind and collaborative rather than competitive and malicious toward one another. WesternU COMP also has a great track record of placing its students into great residency programs.

Susan Mackintosh, DO, MPH

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Unique aspect of the DO program: The ECM course combines a multitude of different areas that will affect the future physician in his or her lifetime career. We teach everything from communicating with patients and taking a history and physical, to developing a diagnosis and plan, to the business of medicine, and even topics such as disaster response.

Beyond the classroom: I am personally involved in the Christian Medical Society and the Dance Club, but I deal with many of the clubs by participating in their activities such as health fairs and other community outreach project. Additionally, since many of our clubs are service oriented, many of the community based projects in the Service Learning Course are under the umbrella of the different clubs, so I work with those clubs as part of Service Learning.

On interprofessional education: I firmly believe IPE is very important. In this day and age of medicine, there are a wealth of resources available to your patient, and it is important to understand not only what those resources are (including the many health care professions), but it is critical to understand the scope of practice of those professions. It is also imperative that the future healthcare professional knows what role each of the professions will play to maximize the team based approach to patient centered care.

Katherine Mitsouras, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry

Why did you choose to work at WesternU? I chose to work at WesternU because it is a small institution with a friendly atmosphere and also because it is primarily focused on students and their learning rather than on research. After I started working here and getting to know how altruistic, giving and collaborative our students are, I am convinced I made the right decision.

What would you tell a prospective student who’s considering becoming a student at WesternU? Both my parents are physicians so I know that becoming one is a life-long journey that changes and constantly challenges you. Starting at WesternU is the beginning of this path and you will continue to learn throughout your entire career. You will be pushed outside your comfort zone but you will achieve things that might have seemed daunting or impossible in the past. Have an open mind, find a good support network and have faith in yourself and your abilities.

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Gerald R. Thrush, Ph.D.

Professor of Immunology; Associate Dean Pre-Clinical Education

What aspect of the curriculum do you feel will most benefit graduates and why? Throughout our curriculum at COMP and COMP-Northwest, we provide students the opportunity to develop their life-long learning skills. These skills will be instrumental as they develop into successful healthcare providers. The medicine of their future will be different than that of today, therefore, the ability to adapt and continually learn is crucial to becoming a successful physician.

What would you tell a prospective student who’s considering becoming a student at WesternU? While WesternU has grown over the past decade, we still have a family atmosphere and our students find themselves immersed in a collaborative environment with their fellow classmates as well as with WesternU faculty and staff. We emphasize a team approach to education and continually instill the benefits of working as team members in a healthcare setting.

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Anna Yeung, DO

Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, Division Chief of Geriatric Medicine

WesternU distinctive: Enhancement of the geriatric curriculum is currently underway. This will provide a unique opportunity for students to participate in the expansion of medical student exposure to senior care. The college fosters innovative development of curricula which is both relevant and practical for its students in their future careers.

Why WesternU: As a graduate health sciences academic institution, WesternU provides a unique opportunity for both faculty and students from varying healthcare disciplines to learn about and from each other. Provision of optimal healthcare requires a multifaceted team approach which underlies the core of how this university operates.

Most valuable aspect of a WesternU education: Integration. With each new college, WesternU is committed to providing an integrated education in which students are exposed to one another to foster a deeper understanding of the resources each discipline has to offer on the healthcare team. Within each college, students are encouraged to learn how to learn; the goal is to graduate a proactive self-motivated lifelong learner.

Raj Kandpal, PhD

Associate Professor

WesternU distinctive: A unique aspect of COMP is its size. In terms of student strength, COMP is comparable to any other medical school. However, we have the opportunity to interact with or know pretty much every student in the college. I don’t think that it happens or is possible in any other school.

I came to WesternU because of the vision: be it the expansion of its research program or the proposed opening of the newer colleges such College of Biomedical Education or the inter-professional education (IPE) curriculum.

Our students get a high quality education because students are our first priority and the members of our faculty are committed to mentor, motivate and challenge our students. Not only do our students get their first patient encounters (through standardized patient program) early on in their first year of the program, they also have an opportunity to participate in research directly relevant to the practice of medicine.

Research Interests: My laboratory is interested in the regulation of gene expression in human health and diseases. In particular we are taking advantage of gene profiling to describe molecular differences in normal and disease tissues. The following projects are being actively pursued.

Aberrant regulation of Eph receptors and their ephrin ligands in breast, prostate and ovarian carcinoma. We are taking advantage of epigenetic changes in invasive breast carcinoma cells to develop diagnostic markers and to identify targets for therapeutic intervention.

Transcript maps of human chromosomal regions harboring loci for genetic deafness and characterization of candidate gene expression in mouse inner ear.

In collaboration with the Neurobiology, Neurodegeneration and Repair Laboratory at National Eye Institute we are involved in defining the molecular changes associated with diabetic retinopathy.

Dat Trinh, DO, MS

Assistant Professor

WesternU distinctive: The Clinical Performance Evaluation is an examination involves taking histories and physical examinations. Each second medical student (OMSII), is required to pass before going on to the third year or taking the national board.

Best advice: You will grow as a person and a professional by being in the environment WesternU presents – of scholarship and diversity.

Alan Cundari, MS, DO

Chair, Department of Family Medicine, Director Medical Education Physician Assistant Program

Value of a WesternU education: The opportunities of early involvement with patient interactions that will aid in the educational process that students are studying.

On Interprofessional education: I have been a strong advocate for interprofessional education since I came here. I have worked to include all programs in the various clinical outreach and community service projects I have been involved in to bridge the professions with which we are connected. Each program has unique characteristics and services that impact and assist the daily lives of the community and patients that we serve.

Christopher Lopez

DO, Class of 2018

What one or two elements of your education proved to be the most valuable to you in your career?
I found the opportunity to take part in extracurricular activities among various interests to be most valuable to my career. Not only did the extracurriculars facilitate unique passions for future careers but it allowed me to learn leadership skills in an interprofessional setting among other health science students. I’m certain my involvement in leadership and service organizations with a component of interprofessional collaboration played a key role in my successful placement into an amazing Internal Medicine Residency Program.

What would you tell a prospective student about WesternU?
WesternU is so much more than a health science school to earn your degree. The emphasis on selecting humanistic and passionate future providers of healthcare along with a consistent focus on compassion and lifelong learning allows WesternU to be more than a school. It makes it a family. WesternU gave me the opportunity to grow into an inquisitive and caring physician along with my colleagues.

Courtney Beth Martin

DO, Class of 2011

Research experience: I was thrilled with the grant coordination and encouragement the school provided for students to do research projects. I started my own research on parental attitudes toward the HPV vaccination and have been supported endlessly by Dr. Mackintosh, Dr. Thrush, and Matt Katz.

Best advice: Don’t hesitate to apply and do everything you can to get in!

Bronwyn Sing

DO, Class of 2011

Time commitment: Most of the time classes are scheduled in a manner that allowed a lot of study and free time in the afternoons and evenings. What I choose to do with the time usually varied. I tried to balance my time between studying, working out or playing a sport, and social time.

WesternU distinctive: I enjoyed the Pilot Interprofessional Program since we were exposed to other health professions by working together on a case. We learned how each person approached the problem differently, discussed it, and came to mutual conclusions that we all felt good about.

Anna Ryabets-Lienhard, DO

DO, Class of 2008

Time commitment: My first two years were very intense in terms of study time, but I was still highly involved in extracurricular activities. It was very manageable, but I had to be very organized and not procrastinate.

Most memorable clinical experience: At CHLA I participated in a liver transplant surgery for a seven-month-old baby. I had to fly to Oakland, CA to harvest a liver and fly back to transplant it. It was the most amazing experience I've ever had.

William Fraser, DO

DO, Class of 1989

About me: I have been the director of an emergency medicine residency in central Ohio for 10 years. The WesternU graduates I have accepted into the program are easily in the top 20 percent of all other residents I have trained. From day one, WesternU grads seem better prepared for residency than those of most other schools. I rank WesternU in the top three or four osteopathic schools in the country.

The academic environment: I liked the small, family like campus. Even during the interview, I felt like WesternU was looking out for me. They seemed truly interested in making my academic career as stress-free as possible.

Best thing about WesternU: I was challenged to think for myself, rather than just regurgitate facts on an exam. This was especially helpful during clinical rotations.

Charles Maynard, DO

DO, Class of 1983

Best thing about WesternU: Getting early patient care responsibility.

Why WesternU: My family doctor and mentor, Dr. Travis Ferguson, suggested I apply. (Growing up with Dr. Ferguson a few doors away, I didn't really understand what an MD was. I thought all doctors were DOs!)

Best advice: I meet prospective students all the time and recommend WesternU as an exceptional institution.