The second class of the William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine, the second medical school in the state of Mississippi and the first school of osteopathic medicine, graduated during commencement exercises in Smith Auditorium on the Hattiesburg campus on May 23.
Ninety-one new doctors of osteopathic medicine, more commonly known as DOs, received their degrees during commencement. The keynote speaker was Dr. William G. Anderson, a past president of the American Osteopathic Association. During his address, Dr. Anderson called the new doctors "the future of osteopathic medicine" and encouraged them to always be mindful of making not only right decisions but also ethical decisions.
Carey's newest class of DOs will now move into multi-year residency programs across the United States in areas as far away as New York and California and in institutions such as the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. The class had a 98 percent residency match, which is above the national average for medical schools. The new DOs will join a growing workforce of more than 88,000 DOs in the United States, a number that has more than doubled since 2000.
Prior to commencement, the new DOs were honored at a reception sponsored by Trustmark Bank and at an awards banquet at Southern Oaks House and Gardens in Hattiesburg on May 22. During the dinner, awards were presented for academic excellence and leadership. Graduating students honored with Outstanding Achievement Awards included Megan Dodge of Harahan, La., for osteopathic principles and practice; Jonathan Chan of Spring, Texas, for clinical sciences; and Nandini Mehta of Harrison, Ohio, for pre-clinical sciences.
Nicholas Swindle of Katy, Texas, received the Physiology Award. Jamie Bishop of Prattville, Ala., received the Mississippi Osteopathic Medical Association Graduating Student Award. Justin Lay of Brandon received the Dean's Award, which is given to a graduating student for outstanding accomplishments in service, leadership and dedication to the medical college. Alexis Cates of Mandeville, La., received the President's Award, which is given to a graduating student demonstrating the merits of an outstanding DO in scholarship, leadership and integrity.
The Donna Jones Moritsugu Memorial Award was presented to Elizabeth Walley, wife of new medical graduate Robert Walley, by the medical college's Student Advocate Association. The award is given to the partner of a graduating osteopathic medical student who shows strong support not only to their partner but also to the osteopathic profession.
Dr. Henry Pace of Oxford, a pioneer of osteopathic medicine in Mississippi, was recognized by the Carey medical college and also by the state osteopathic medical association with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication to the profession. Additionally, Dr. Paul Chastain, an assistant professor of biomedical sciences, was recognized with the medical college's Researcher of the Year Award. Dr. Chastain was also awarded the university-wide Faculty Research Award in April for his work with multiple National Institutes of Health and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute grants.
The Carey medical college was established in 2010 to address the severe shortage of physicians in Mississippi and surrounding states and to impact the health care of rural Mississippians. The inaugural class of 94 students graduated in May 2014.