Program prepares undergraduates for medical school
The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine's Green Coat program offers undergraduates interested in health careers an opportunity to gain exposure to clinical responsibilities in a hospital environment. Students are mentored by regional assistant deans from WVSOM's Statewide Campus system, along with alumni and other health care professionals.
"The program helps students gain a perspective on whether they really want to go into medicine," said Lucas Hamrick, a UC senior who has been accepted to WVSOM for the Fall 2014 term. "You're in a large hospital setting, talking with patients and being on different wards, and that gives you an idea if this is what you'll be interested in. The program helps to affirm whether or not you enjoy the health care profession."
Basem Dahshan is another UC student who completed the program. He has been accepted to medical school, but has not made a decision on where he will attend. He said he achieved a better understanding
of how a hospital system works during his Green Coat program experience.
"The students get an insider's view of a hospital scene and all the different layers — from patients, administrators, nurses and doctors," Dahshan said. "Learning how the hospital works and making health care actually happen is what the Green Coat program has been all about for me."
The program was developed by WVSOM's Rural Health Initiative with financial assistance from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. The goal is to inform undergraduates within the state about the need for primary care physicians, particularly in rural areas, and to assist them on the journey to becoming a physician or other health care professional.
Dahshan said the experience made him a more valuable medical school applicant.
Art Rubin, DO, is assistant dean for the South Central region of WVSOM's Statewide Campus system.
Now that the pilot has proven successful, Rubin looks forward to the Green Coat program expanding into other areas of West Virginia.