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Medical Students selected for
physician diversity program

OhioHealth physician mentors team up
with OU-HCOM minority Students

(Athens, OH 7.18.12) The Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM) recently announced the newest group of medical students chosen to participate in the OhioHealth Physician Diversity Scholars Program.

Shawn Cuevas, Sabria Gunn, Adeline Kikam, Paul Obeng-Okyere, Lauren Orellana, Osman Perez, Eric Questel, and Fady Yacoub, all members of the Class of 2015, were selected for this four-year program that provides minority medical students early and sustained exposure to physicians and their practices within the OhioHealth system.

Hispanic and African-American students are paired with OhioHealth physicians from similar backgrounds who will serve as mentors and provide introductions to possible careers within OhioHealth. The medical students gain an up-close look at the many specialties and opportunities within the OhioHealth system, and OhioHealth plays a greater role in training potential physicians who can meet the needs of the multicultural communities it serves.

After graduation, each scholar who enters an OhioHealth residency program receives a loan repayment of $10,000 a year for each year of residency.
The program is intended to increase the quality of patient care, said Frank Dono, D.O., medical director at OhioHealth.

"What is important for students to remember is that when they commit themselves to become physicians, their goal must be to enhance both quality and access to care for all ethnic and cultural groups," Dono said. "I believe that is the ultimate goal."

"OhioHealth has a strong commitment to developing a diverse physician workforce and they have recognized that OU-HCOM shares the same mission," said John Schriner, Ph.D., assistant professor of social medicine and assistant dean of admissions. "The recognition of our strong track record of recruiting, retaining and graduating physicians of color made it a natural fit for OhioHealth to partner with OU-HCOM in this very special initiative."

Minority students make up 19 percent of this year's first year class at the college, Schriner added. In fact, in 2008, during its last seven-year review of the college, the American Osteopathic Association's Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) commended OU-HCOM's programs that routinely result in such enrollment numbers of minority students.

The program requires at least three shadowing, community service or professional organization events per semester during the first two years. During third and fourth-year clinical rotations, each student follows a customized course led by their OhioHealth mentor.

This year's OhioHealth mentors include David Tanner, D.O., family medicine at Riverside Methodist Hospital; Nanette Lacuesta-Kimmel, M.D., family medicine at Riverside; Kristen Rundell, M.D., family medicine at Riverside; Wayne Cummings, M.D., family medicine at Riverside; Shavonne Ramsey-Coleman, M.D., obstetrics and gynecological hospitalist at Doctors Hospital; Teresita Morales-Yurik, M.D., emergency medicine at Doctors; William Washington, M.D., family medicine at Linden Medical Center; and Danilo Polonia, M.D., family medicine at Grant Medical Center.

Alicia Boards, OU-HCOM assistant director of multicultural programs, said this year's scholarship recipients have already exceeded expectations. Most of them have already built strong relationships with their mentors and seem excited to participate in the program in the years to come."
In April, OhioHealth became the Preeminent Education Partner for the college's new central Ohio extension campus in Dublin. The affiliation will be referred to as the "Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, in affiliation with OhioHealth."
The new affiliation agreement builds on a long-standing relationship between the two institutions, who have partnered to train generations of physicians during the last 35 years. Leaders of the college and the health system see this formal agreement as a logical next step that supports the strategic mission of both institutions. The agreement does not affect OU-HCOM's and OhioHealth's training relationships with other institutions.

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