School Department News

Osteopathic Medicine

Friday, May 23, 2014 - 1:22pm

Hattiesburg, MS, May 23, 2014 - William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine (WCUCOM) will graduate the inaugural medical school class on May 24 at 10 a.m. in Smith Auditorium. Ninety-four students will receive their doctor of osteopathic medicine degrees during this historic event. Upon graduation, WCUCOM will officially obtain accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA).

Discussions to establish the medical school developed nearly 10 years ago when William Carey University’s Board of Trustees recognized the need for primary care physicians in the region and saw an opportunity to make that dream a reality. In 2007, under the leadership of current WCU President Dr. Tommy King, a dean for the WCUCOM was hired. In January 2008, the medical school was officially founded, and in August 2010, the WCUCOM welcomed its inaugural class of 110 students.  
As the 26th school of osteopathic medicine in the country and the first in the state, WCUCOM is training student doctors for careers in primary care medicine to address the physician shortage in the Gulf South Region, particularly within rural and underserved communities. WCUCOM is not only working to train students to become successful primary care physicians, but also to retain them upon graduation, providing a major source for the state healthcare workforce. Admissions preference is strongly given to applicants from Mississippi and the Gulf South U.S.

To further foster the school’s mission, the clinical curriculum is delivered by a majority of primary care physicians. In fact, over 60 percent of WCUCOM’s full-time clinical faculty members are primary care certified, while approximately 80 percent of the required clinical rotations are primary care oriented in community hospitals and clinics. The 67 hospitals and over 375 individual clinics used for core third-year student rotations are in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, and Florida, with the majority being in-state. Combined with the over 130 hospitals in 27 states used for fourth-year student elective rotations, the WCUCOM has 866 preceptors, with some as far as California and New York.
“Until WCUCOM began classes four years ago, Mississippians who wanted to become osteopathic physicians had to go  to West Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, or Florida to attend medical school and residency,” said Dr. William Mayo, owner of the Mayo Eye Center in Oxford, clinical instructor at the WCUCOM, and member of the American Osteopathic Association’s board of trustees. “It is more difficult to get physicians to return to Mississippi when they have spent several years away.  It‘s vitally important that we can train our D.O.s here in Mississippi.”

WCUCOM is continually working to establish residency programs around the state to aid in retention efforts. WCUCOM Dean Dr. Jim Turner, who was recently nominated to Team Leader for COCA, stated that the next step the medical school will take is to address the development of post-graduate options in Mississippi to meet the residency training needs of WCUCOM graduates.
The medical school has already made quite an impact in Hattiesburg and the surrounding areas, and it will provide benefits for years to come; economically and educationally. Most importantly, WCUCOM will provide medical service to many whom may otherwise not have received it.  

 “The College of Osteopathic Medicine has brought WCU to a level that was beyond the dreams of Carey employees and alumni,” said Dr. Tommy King, president of WCU. “The graduation of the first class of doctors will be an historical occasion for Hattiesburg and Mississippi.  This moment is possible through the support and hard work of Carey trustees over the past five years, Dean Turner and the entire faculty and staff, and many supporters throughout Mississippi and the Gulf Region.”

For more information on WCUCOM, contact Rebecca Holland, director of operations, at 601-318-6663 or

Monday, May 12, 2014 - 3:41pm

Hattiesburg, MS, May 12, 2014 - Dr. James “Jim” Turner, dean of the William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine (WCUCOM), was appointed to Team Chair for the American Osteopathic Association (AOA)’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA). The appointment to this position followed the announcement of the WCUCOM’s official accreditation from COCA, which will be complete after the inaugural WCUCOM graduation ceremony on May 24 at 10 a.m. in Smith Auditorium.

Dr. Turner was also recently appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant to serve as a member of the Healthcare Solutions Institute’s Board of Directors. The Mississippi Healthcare Solutions Institute, which was formed in 2013, serves as a public-private partnership to champion healthcare growth and development.

Dr. Turner has worked as an Osteopathic family physician and emergency physician in Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, and West Virginia. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Medicine and is an inspector for the American Osteopathic Association for medical colleges and emergency medicine residencies. He relocated to Hattiesburg and joined the WCUCOM family in 2011 from Charleston, W.Va., where he worked in post graduate education and developed an emergency medicine residency program. Dr. Turner is married to Dr. Sherry Turner, D.O., and has a daughter, Ashley.


Monday, May 12, 2014 - 3:04pm

Hattiesburg, MS, May 12, 2014 - William Carey University will graduate nearly 750 undergraduate, graduate, and College of Osteopathic Medicine students from the Hattiesburg and Tradition campuses May 16, 17, and 24. Dr. Tommy King, president of WCU, will preside at the ceremonies.
The ceremony for Hattiesburg campus students receiving graduate degrees is Friday, May 16, at 7 p.m. in Smith Auditorium. During this ceremony, the School of Education will graduate its inaugural cohorts for both the EdD and the PhD in Higher Education Administration. The speaker is Dr. Rodney Bennett, president of The University of Southern Mississippi.
The first ceremony for Hattiesburg campus students receiving undergraduate degrees is Saturday, May 17 at 9:30 a.m. in Smith Auditorium. Students receiving degrees from the school of arts and letters, school of nursing and school of natural and behavioral sciences will be recognized. The speaker is Mark Smith, pastor of First Baptist Church of Jackson.
The second ceremony for Hattiesburg campus students receiving undergraduate degrees is Saturday, May 17 at 1 p.m. in Smith Auditorium. Students receiving degrees from the school of business, school of education, school of missions and Biblical studies, and the school of music will be recognized. The speaker is Alan Perry, a lawyer with Forman, Perry, Watkins, Krutz & Tardy, LLP, of Jackson.
The ceremony for Tradition graduate and undergraduate students is Saturday, May 17 at 4 p.m. in Smith Auditorium. The speaker is Dr. Scott Hummel, provost at WCU.
On May 24, the WCU College of Osteopathic Medicine (WCUCOM) will graduate its inaugural class of 94 students as doctors of osteopathic medicine (D.O.)  at 10 a.m. in Smith Auditorium. The speaker for this historic graduation is Dr. Karen Nicholls, past president of the American Osteopathic Association. As the 26th school of osteopathic medicine in the country and the first in the state, the WCUCOM’s mission is to train future physicians for careers in primary care medicine to address the shortage of primary care physicians in the Gulf South Region. The medical school, under the leadership of Dr. James “Jim” Turner, is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (CC-SACS).
For more graduation information, call the Office of the Registrar at (601) 318-6195.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - 4:19pm

Hattiesburg, MS, May 7, 2014 - Robert Rafael Sudduth of Gulfport, a second-year medical student at William Carey University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (WCUCOM), recently received The Randolph J. and Brenda H. Ross for Excellence in Anatomy Award. Dr. Jim Turner, dean of WCUCOM, presented it to him during Honors Day Convocation on April 30. The award, established by Dr. Ross and his wife, is given to the WCUCOM student who has the highest Grade Point Average in anatomy.

Dr. Ross is Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Hattiesburg Clinic. The recipient of the award must be from Mississippi and plan to practice in Mississippi upon graduation. The award consists of an engraved medallion and a cash stipend which is credited to the student’s tuition for his or her second year of medical school.

Dr. Ross has been a strong advocate for the WCUCOM since its inception. In 2007, the WCU Board of Trustees and Dr. Tommy King committed to open the COM to address the severe shortage of physicians in Mississippi and surrounding areas. It was recognized at that time that a medical school would positively impact the healthcare of rural Mississippians. In 2008, WCUCOM was officially established, in 2010, WCU welcomed the inaugural class, and on May 24, the first class will graduate. WCUCOM is the state’s second medical school and one of 29 institutions that offers a degree in osteopathic medicine in the U.S.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 3:27pm

Hattiesburg, Miss., April 15, 2014 - Dr. Italo Subbarao, associate professor of medicine and associate dean of planning, assessment, and competency development at William Carey University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (WCUCOM), will participate in the development of the 2014 National Health Security Preparedness Index (NHSPI) by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). The NHSPI is a tool used to annually measure and advance the health security preparedness at the national and state levels. Dr. Subbarao will participate in this initiative through the Healthcare Task Force, helping to provide subject matter expertise to the 2014 NHSPI development.

Dr. Subbarao graduated from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine before completing a fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. His fellowship training in emergency medicine and disaster and humanitarian assistance led him to serve as the director of the Public Health Readiness Office at the American Medical Association (AMA) Center for Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response, located in Chicago, Ill. Dr. Subbarao served as deputy editor for the AMA’s publication, “Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness” and is on the editorial board for The Journal of American Osteopathic Association (JAOA). He has had over 60 articles published, edited several journals and books, and continues to stay deeply involved in scholarship and research.