On May 27th, students from Western Health sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of Pacific Northwest gathered beneath a large white tent near the campus. Upon their arrival, they were each awarded a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree by university president Robin Farias-EisAfter a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus epidemic, COMP Northwest’s eighth class of osteopaths graduated in person for the first time since the school launched in 2011 as a satellite campus of the Western University in Pomona, California.

Elizabeth Zamora, chairwoman of the university’s board of trustees, characterised a medical industry that is becoming increasingly diverse and a class that is well-rounded: doctors aged 26 to 50 from all across the United States, with more than half of them being female.

There are just two general surgeons in the graduating class of 2022, one of whom is a lifelong resident of Lebanon. In the near future, she will undertake a five-year surgery residency in Corvallis, where her husband Jerred Nelson, an Oregon State Police trooper, will be stationed. She now resides in Albany.

She graduated in May. Before completing her undergraduate degree at Oregon State University, she attended Linn-Benton Community College to begin her nursing studies.

For the first moment in life, Whitley Nelson was asked by her biology professor Steve Skarda why she didn’t want to go to medical school.

“It was like a gigantic lights out,” she said.

Whitley Nelson tried to enroll to osteopathic medical schools all throughout the country, many of which were located far from the Willamette Valley.

In her words: “I felt I didn’t want to select Lebanon just because it was my hometown.” That’s why I chose it.

Austin Kleint, a fellow graduate student, grew up in a town with a population of 17,000 or so. East Linn Christian was his alma mater of choice.

As a former wrestler and now a volunteer coach at Lebanon High School, he’s proud to be in the “same home my grandpa built,” as he put it.

One of Oregon’s two medical schools, clinics, and a hotel soon appeared on the outskirts of Lebanon on Kleint’s watch.

This coincided with Kleint’s realisation that she wanted to pursue a career in medicine.

Kleint, on the other hand, claims to rely less on careful lists than Nelson does. COMP Northwest was the only college he applied to. He remarked, “It’s everything according to plan, yet there’s nothing that I planned.” In a nutshell: “I just finished it. God has lavished me with His favour.”

Kleint plans to do his residency in paediatrics at  college of Medicine in Houston, where he now attends. He attributes his interest in paediatrics to Lebanon physician Dana Kosmala, his boyhood doctor and med school mentor.

In spite of the record-breaking wildfires and one of the worst pandemics in medical school, she pushed her pupils to seek wellness in their practise and to utilise their wits and emotions as well as their hands.

“At the end of each and every thought, each action, all decisions, there is the patient,” Crone stated.

University provost Paula Crone recalled the students that it had been a difficult 4 years since the class sported their white jackets in 2018 when she spoke to them.

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