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VCOM reflects on its first year of school in Monroe

Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 7:17 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - It’s been a year since a local medical school opened its doors on ULM’s campus, and it’s growing fast. On Monday, they welcome their second class, and it’s already maxed out.

The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, also known as VCOM, is excited to welcome 162 new students. After opening during the pandemic, they hope it will be a normal year.

“We frequently call ourselves the VCOM family and that extends to students, staff and faculty. We take care of each other here. That really is the best way I can put it,” VCOM second-year medical student Natalie Regian said.

Regian says fellow students are looking forward to gathering and attending classes normally, not separated into groups.

VCOM finished the school’s first year after working through COVID-19 and natural disasters.

“Even though it’s been difficult to learn and grow through some of those things, alongside staff and faculty, it’s given us the opportunity to help make this campus what we want it to be. Each one of the VCOM campuses has its own personality, so it’s nice to give a little Louisiana flair to our personality,” Regian said.

This year, staff and students can take full advantage of the school’s simulations, cadavers, and standardized patients in person.

Assistant Dean of Research Randy Aldret says he couldn’t be more proud of the first class and their performance.

“Everybody that went through this first year will never forget this, as long as they live, and sure, for all the wrong reasons for COVID and everything, but mostly for all the right reasons was how we succeeded in the spite of, you know, here’s a brand new school you’re trying to figure it all out. Poof, here’s a bunch of natural disasters, and still, we thrive,” Aldret said.

He believes the new students don’t fully realize the price the first students paid for them to have a normal experience, and it speaks volumes to the kind of physicians they will be.

“I’m excited for the state of Louisiana because we’re gonna have a crop of new physicians that have gone through the worst came out the other side better for it. And they’re looking to make a difference in the world,” Aldret said.

Aldret says next week, for the first time, the first class will all be in the same classroom, and it will be a special moment.

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