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OU-COM graduates continue to choose primary care specialties

More than 63 percent of this year’s graduates to practice
in Ohio

By Richard Heck

(ATHENS, Ohio) More than one-half of this year’s graduating class at the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-COM) will be entering primary care residencies this summer, bucking a national trend for new physicians to choose specialty medical fields. 

Of the 108 new OU-COM medical students who will receive their doctorates of osteopathic medicine during the 32nd Commencement exercises on Saturday at Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium, 63 percent enter residency programs in Ohio.

Within the next 15 years, some health care experts predict that the nation will experience a serious shortage of physicians who practice primary care, which traditionally includes family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics, and sometimes includes OB/GYN.

“Primary care physicians are desperately needed in this country, yet the number of physicians going into primary care continues to decrease,” said OU-COM Dean Jack Brose, D.O. “At OU-COM, we remain committed to recruiting and encouraging students who want to practice in all fields, and particularly primary care.”

Since its inception in 1975, OU-COM has specialized in the recruitment, training and placement of primary care physicians. More than half of the medical school’s 2,675 practicing graduates serve as primary care physicians, and 60 percent practice in Ohio. That makes OU-COM number one in Ohio, and near the top ten nationally, in medical schools that graduate physicians who choose primary care specialties. OU-COM graduates are also more likely to practice in under-served rural areas.

The keynote speaker at this year’s ceremony is Leonard H. Calabrese, D.O., director of the R.J. Fasenmyer Center for Immunology at the Cleveland Clinic and head of the clinical immunology section. He specializes in immunodeficiency diseases including HIV and hepatitis C infection, which are subjects of both his clinical care and investigation.

Among his many awards and honors, Dr. Calabrese holds the R.J. Fasenmyer Chair of Clinical Immunology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. When he was awarded the Theodore F. Classen, D.O., Chair in Osteopathic Research and Education in 2008, he became the first dual-chair holder in Cleveland Clinic history. He received the Phillips Medal of Public Service from OU-COM, and the Cleveland Clinic’s Bruce Hubbard Stewart Award for Humanistic Medicine. He was named an honorary alumnus of OU-COM in 2007.

In addition to his duties with the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Calabrese is a professor of medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University and vice chair of the Department of Rheumatic and Immunologic Diseases. He has lectured nationally and internationally on the subjects of HIV, immunology and rheumatology and is the author of more than 300 published peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and reviews.

For the first time, OU-COM will stream the Commencement ceremony live via web broadcast. The live feed can be viewed at, beginning at 10 a.m.

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Last updated: 01/28/2016