CLOVIS, California (KGPE) — The first class at the Central Valley’s first four-year medical school is ready to hit the books and get their studies started.
California Health Sciences University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine is a huge achievement for the Central Valley in itself. But, for the Central Valley natives who can now stay home to study medicine, it makes the upcoming school year even more special.
The 75 medical students making up the class of 2024 got acquainted with the 94,000 square foot campus during a three-day orientation this week. With the building meant to eventually house 600 students — along with faculty and staff — they all will be attending classes in-person with COVID-19 protocols in place.
The college’s dean, Dr. John Graneto, said 36% of the students are from the Central Valley.
“We have students from Fresno, Sanger, Stockton, Bakersfield — all throughout the valley who said, ‘I would’ve never had an opportunity to go away to medical school if I had to go far away from my parents,'” Graneto said.
Bakersfield-native Rosie Kumal is one of those students. While she did her undergrad years at UCLA, she knew she had to return to the valley for medical school. Especially after experiencing the region’s health care issues firsthand.
“My family always had a hard time finding a doctor, being covered under insurance,” Kumal recalled. “So, with the understanding of that background, I’m really excited to help people here in the Central Valley and give back.”
Matthew Lansman is another Central Valley native part of CHSU’s inaugural class in the College of Osteopathic Medicine. The Fresno State grad was inspired to pursue medicine when he was young, when a surgeon comforted him before starting an operation on his mother, who had breast cancer.
“I was sitting in the waiting room, I was thinking, when I grow up I want to be the kind of person that can do the things she just did,” Lansman said. “I was a scared kid that came in this room and she brought so much peace to my life. I want to do that to other people.”
Lansman adds he applied as soon as CHSU opened up applications. He even turned down interviews at other medical schools after CHSU got back to him.
Graneto said classes begin Monday at 8 a.m. First thing students will go through is a patient scenario with a primary care doctor.