The OU Tulsa campus’ first class of four-year medical students graduated May 24, the first group to have attended all four years at OU-Tulsa.
The OU-TU School of Community Medicine, a joint effort between OU and the University of Tulsa, graduated 30 students according to the an OU info statement. This group is the first to spend four years at the school, which was re-focused in 2008 to become the first school of community medicine in the nation, according to the school’s website.
Among the graduates was Matthew Abbott, an Oklahoma native from Anadarko. According to the statement, Abbott chose to attend the OU-TU School of Community Medicine in part because of his experiences in Anadarko, where he had to travel up to an hour to receive care.
Following graduation, Abbott intends to complete an internal medicine residency at Duke University, according to the statement.
In a May 24 Tulsa World article, Abbott said he was anxious about being a part of the program when it began in 2015.
“This was brand new and I had a lot of apprehensions, and I think a lot of my classmates did, too,” Abbott said in the article. “We didn’t know how the first two years of med school were going to run here.”
The OU-TU School of Community Medicine has taken steps to develop its own identity and listen to student feedback in his time as a student there, Abbott said in the article.
“The school has really grown in its uniqueness to be the school of community medicine and its ability to provide those experiences,” Abbott said in the article. “I think every year the school does a great job of listening to the students talk about their experiences and trying to adjust based on what those students are saying.”
According to the OU Info statement, a primary goal of the OU-TU School of Community Medicine is to improve the health of communities as a whole, with a focus on underserved communities, like those in rural and urban areas.
Addison McGinn, who graduated in the inaugural class, will help serve the Tulsa community as one of the 11 graduates who are staying in Oklahoma, according to the statement. McGinn intends to complete an internal medicine residency at OU Tulsa.
“This new generation of doctors understands the significance of community medicine, and will impact their communities for decades to come,” James Herman, dean of the OU-TU School of Community Medicine, said in the statement. “Eleven of 30 staying in Tulsa, so these graduates aren’t just a point of pride for OU, it is a point of pride for Tulsa.”