Burrell College attracts a wide variety of students

Burrell College attracts a wide variety of students

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Burrell College attracts a wide variety of students

By Mike Cook

Las Cruces Bulletin

The Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine soon opens on the New Mexico State University campus for its first semester. The school’s first class includes 162 students, three of whom took some time to speak to the Las Cruces Bulletin.

Larissa Check, 25, is originally from Cameroon, West Africa. She now lives in Germantown, Maryland. She has Bachelor of Science degrees in chemistry and biology from Washington College and is completing a Master of Science in biotechnology at Johns Hopkins University.

Why did you choose BCOM?

I chose BCOM because I felt the school fulfilled all the criteria I was looking for in a medical school. Few medical schools offer international exposure in Mexico or South Africa. Few medical schools are focused and committed to bridging health disparities among medically underserved minority populations. On my interview day, I listened to each speaker discuss the mission of the school and ask each interviewee to reflect on whether this mission aligned with their personal and professional goals. For me, I was exactly where I needed to be. BCOM has a mission deeply rooted in educating culturally competent and empathetic physicians. I am grateful to be accepted as part of this mission. I truly look forward to not only being a part of this

CHECK

community, but to also contributing to making it the best community.

What will you study at BCOM?

At the moment, I have not decided which specialty I want to go into. After our core rotations in general surgery, family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology and psychiatry, I should have a much better idea.

What are your plans after you graduate from BCOM?

I will remain in the Southwest to work as a practicing physician after my chosen residency. I received the Burrell Medical Award, which takes care of a portion of my tuition and requires my commitment and service in medically underserved regions in the Southwest. I am very grateful and absolutely look forward to this experience.

Had you been to Las Cruces and/or New Mexico before you applied to BCOM? What are your thoughts about Las Cruces?

No, I had not. “Welcoming” is the word I would use to describe Las Cruces. On my way to Las Cruces, I boarded a plane with a gentleman and an older lady and had very lengthy conversations with these individuals. In doing so, I told them I was coming for an interview at BCOM. They were so happy for me and wished me well – as if we had known each other for a long time. This is where my love for Las Cruces really started. I want to explore and learn about the culture of Las Cruces.

What are your hobbies?

Exercising really helps me de-stress and I enjoy that. I look forward to hiking and being outdoors (occasionally) in the southwestern mountains!

Why did you choose BCOM?

I chose BCOM for many reasons, particularly for its physiological systems- based curriculum. This curriculum stems from a proven model that has a history of producing exceptional results for its students.

I was also incredibly impressed by how diligent BCOM has been in expanding graduate medical education in New Mexico. Spearheading the development of new residency positions serves as a testament to BCOM’s long-term commitment to the City of Las Cruces, my classmates and me.

What will you study at BCOM?

My first year at BCOM will be comprised of courses featuring the physiological systems of the human body, osteopathic manipulative medicine, population health and clinical skills, among other disciplines.

What are your plans after you graduate from BCOM?

I hope to match into a great residency program that will empower me with the tools to be the best health care provider for my future patients. After my training is complete, I hope to eventually serve as a physician for a federally qualified health center.

What are your thoughts about Las Cruces? What have you learned about it that interests you?

Flying over to attend BCOM’s interview was my first time in both Las Cruces and New Mexico. It took me no more than 24 hours to become completely enthralled with the city and its landscape. Those that I had the pleasure of meeting were some of the most welcoming and amiable people I’ve ever met, and they made me feel right at home the second I arrived. Because the city takes great pride in supporting its students and residents, I couldn’t have asked for a better place to spend my years as a medical student than Las Cruces.

On top of my commitments as a medical student, I’m really looking forward to getting involved in the Las Cruces community. My goal is to become an active participant in the city’s public school system by serving as a student mentor. I also cannot wait to eventually engage in meaningful research with NMSU. Some of the fields and topics I’d like to investigate include diabetes epidemiology and cognitive impairments.

Why did you choose BCOM?

I had two primary factors in mind when I was deciding which medical school to attend. The first was my comfort level with the school. My BCOM interview stood out well above the other interviews I attended. The doctors were extremely friendly and the interview environment was very inclusive. They immediately sold me on their vision of providing medical care to areas of need in New Mexico and southwest Texas. Being from El Paso, I could think of nothing better than attending a school that would help me establish myself in my local community. The second factor that I considered was how close the school was to my immediate family. My family is a huge part of who I am and it eases my mind knowing that they are very near should I fall on hard times. Those two factors combined made BCOM the ideal school for me.

What will you study at BCOM?

I’m still tentative as to what type of doctor I well end up becoming. I’m also well aware that students end up changing their minds various times throughout medical school. However, at this time I am very interested in emergency medicine and internal medicine. I worked as an emergency medicine scribe for four years and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I also worked for an internal medicine physician for around a year and found the experience very rewarding.

What are your plans after you graduate from BCOM?

After medical school and residency, I hope to return to El Paso to set up my practice. If I become an internal medicine physician, I’d like to open up my own clinic. If I become an emergency medicine physician, I’d like to work at a local hospital.

Had you been to Las Cruces and/or New Mexico before you applied to BCOM? What are your thoughts about Las Cruces?

I had been to Las Cruces many times prior to my acceptance. However, I mostly came for events at the convention center or football games at NMSU. I have not yet spent much time actually getting to know the city. From previous experiences, I’ve learned that the people of the city are very friendly. My early impressions are very favorable and I look forward to getting acclimated very soon.

What are your hobbies?

I’m a huge sports enthusiast. I’m always up for playing sports. I primarily enjoy playing basketball. I’m also an avid reader. I read from all genres but I have a particular fondness for suspense and fantasy.

Any other thoughts?

The only other thing I’d like to express is tremendous gratitude for the opportunity that has been afforded to me. BCOM had a large number of applicants for its opening class and I consider myself privileged to be a part of it. I am very enthusiastic to start and look forward to rewarding BCOM’s faith in me by being an excellent addition to the school.

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