Central Valley’s first four-year medical school soon will welcome its first class

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75 students will make up CHSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine's first class

CLOVIS, California (KSEE) — For decades, the Central Valley has struggled to have enough doctors. A small step in fixing that: having a local medical school.

In a matter of weeks, 75 medical students will be California Health Science University’s first class in its College of Osteopathic Medicine. The 94,000 square foot building is meant to house 600 students, along with its faculty and staff.

That said, even while we’re in this COVID-19 pandemic, all students will be on-campus for class.

“All students will have their own desk, which will be six feet apart from any other student. Some will actually be ten feet apart from any other student,” the college’s dean, Dr. John Graneto, said when describing their main classroom. “We’re kind of fortunate that this year we have only one class to put in this big building.”

Students, staff and faculty will also be given two face masks. Dozens of hand sanitizing stations have also been placed around the campus.

Like CHSU’s College of Pharmacy students, students in this college will be learning through a lot of simulations. Not just with mannequins, but also real people. A part of the school replicates a hospital wing and doctors’ offices — which will eventually have actors playing patients.

A few weeks ago, Assemblyman Adam Gray helped secure $15 million annually to go toward funding a UC medical school in the Central Valley. Students would start their studies at UC Merced and eventually finish at UCSF-Fresno.

At this time, it’s still not clear when admissions for that will start.

By having medical institutions in the region, the goal is to retain med school grads, especially if they’re Central Valley natives.

“This incoming class will have 30% of students from the valley. Many of them told us they wouldn’t have had an opportunity to go to medical school if they have to leave the valley,” Graneto said.

As a whole, 75% of the first class is from California, while the rest is from out-of-state.

Classes start on July 27.

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