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Alumni group rolls out welcome wagon for Class of 2018

(ATHENS, Ohio—July 15) The evening was all about becoming part of both the Heritage College family and the osteopathic medical profession when the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Society of Alumni and Friends hosted its first-ever Student Welcome Dinner in the Baker Center Ballroom July 7.

The bulk of the guest list was made up of 190 incoming medical students – including, for the first time in the college’s 39-year history, a 50-student contingent from the Heritage College’s new campus in Dublin.

The Dublin students arrived in Athens by bus shortly before 9 a.m. Monday, July 7, to the cheers of a banner-waving surprise welcome party organized by Heritage College staffers. The students joined their 140 classmates from the Athens campus for two days of orientation activities before re-boarding the bus to Dublin for the remainder of orientation week.

At Monday’s dinner, students heard first-hand about the joys and challenges of becoming an osteopathic physician in a table activity dubbed, “A D.O. You Should Know.” Each table of students included a D.O., whom the students interviewed about his or her career choices and medical school experience. Afterward, delegates from each table shared what they’d learned with the room.

Guests were treated to some remarkably candid – and often funny – insights about the D.O.s in attendance. These included the revelation from one alumna (and Heritage College faculty member) who feels in retrospect she may have spent too much time knitting in medical school, when she should have been studying obstetrics/gynecology.

Gregory Hill, D.O. (’86), an orthopedic surgeon in Cuyahoga Falls and president of the Society of Alumni and Friends, shared with students at his table how he decided to enter medical school after working for some years as a physician assistant.

“I had some background with surgery, and I loved it,” recalled Dr. Hill. “I loved being in the operating room with surgeons.” He was drawn to his specialty, he said, because he likes most to deal with “definable, fixable things” in helping patients.

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of a stethoscope to each Heritage College student, which was made possible by generous donations from nearly 90 parties, including members of the Society and Alumni and Friends and individual and private donors. Most of the funding came from individual donors.

Recognized at the dinner for their role in helping to create the stethoscope-donation tradition at the college were the parents of Jason Madachy, a young man who died unexpectedly in 2007 as he was about to enter medical school. The Jason Madachy Foundation was created in his memory to provide stethoscopes to first-year medical students and started the tradition of doing so at the Heritage College.

In the first two years of the program, the foundation provided half the funding for the stethoscope donation, with the other half coming from the Society of Alumni and Friends. In April 2013 the Society kicked off a new stethoscope-giving program, which completely funded this year’s stethoscope donation. Since the tradition began in 2012, 470 Heritage College students have received stethoscopes.

Tim Law, D.O., M.B.A. (’94), an assistant professor of family medicine at the college, provided the students with a quick tutorial on the proper use of the stethoscope, with the help of his son Tim, Jr., who is one of the incoming students in the Class of 2018.

To capture the moment, each student was asked to snap a “selfie” cell-phone picture of him- or herself with the new instrument, and send it to Laurie Lach, director of alumni affairs. (By the following morning, Lach reported that she’d received more than 80 snapshots, which she planned to share with the Alumni and Friends board, post to Facebook, and possibly use in an e-mail newsletter.)

Dr. Law, who also serves as medical director of the Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute, director of the college’s Rural and Urban Scholars Pathways program, and vice president of the Society of Alumni and Friends, urged the students to “keep your eye on the big prize, the end-game – which is becoming a D.O.”

  Office of Communication
Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
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Last updated: 01/28/2016