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August 5, 2013 | 2 Comments

Historic first day of classes begins for Campbell medical school

Above, a webcam image from the first lecture in cell biology.

BUIES CREEK — If the 162-member charter class of Campbell University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine was expecting more pomp and circumstance on the first official day of classes, they were in for a rude awakening.

Classes for Campbell’s first new medical school in North Carolina in over 35 years began at 8 a.m. Monday, and by 8:02, Dr. Igor Danelisen’s first lecture was deep into cell cytoskeletons and actins (the proteins that form microfilaments, in case you were wondering).

Welcome to med school.

Despite the lack of ceremony, Monday was an important day in Campbell’s 126-year history. The University’s seventh school is expected to provide a solution to North Carolina’s health care gap (the state ranks 34th in the nation in the number of physicians per capita) with the unique mission to develop community-based primary care doctors who will work in rural areas or regions with little or no health care options. When the school enters its fourth year in 2016, it will be North Carolina’s second largest school of medicine.

“What a great day this is for Campbell University, Harnett County and North Carolina” said founding Dean Dr. John Kauffman, minutes after checking in on the control room of the large lecture hall where the first class was held. “We’re ready to get started, and the students today are excited and engaged.”

There was no need for introductions and “welcomes” on Monday, as much of that was taken care of during the charter class’ three-day orientation, which ran the previous week from July 31 to Aug. 1. Students became acquainted at that time with their classmates (each presented a short video introduction they shot over the summer) and got familiar with the 96,500-square-foot Leon Levine Hall of Medical Sciences, the facility they’ll call “home” over the next four years.

Orientation also provided a quick history of osteopathic medicine and an overview of the state-of-the-art simulation and anatomy labs and technology resources they’ll use as students. On Friday, the students gave back by taking part in a service project packing 20,000 meals with Food Aid International to help feed hungry families around the world.

Monday? Cell biology and an afternoon anatomy lab.

Texas native Erasmo Espino said it’s been a long road to get to this point.

“Being a part of the first class, that’s something special,” he said. “This class needs to set the example for future classes. It’s our responsibility to carry on the tradition of prestige in Campbell’s graduate programs. The fact that they chose us to be a part of this shows that they believe in us. And that means a lot.”

The medical school is the result of three years of fundraising and represents a total private investment of $80 million to launch. Campbell will enroll up to 600 medical students when the school reaches full strength in 2017 and graduates its first class.


Stories by Billy Liggett and Cherry Crayton

Class of 2017


Here First. Healing Together. Leaving a Legacy.

Mission Statement

We stand, as a family, committed to humbly serve and uplift our communities. Through strong spirit and enduring compassion, we will blaze new trails while upholding the traditions of excellence in osteopathic medicine.


things to know about CUSOM

1. It’s the first medical school to open in North Carolina since 1977.

2. It’s the first osteopathic medical school in North Carolina.

3. It has a charter class of 162 students, who developed their own motto to guide them during their next four years: “Here first. Healing together. Leaving a legacy.”

4. It’ll be the second largest medical school in North Carolina when it’s fully operational in four years, enrolling about 600 students.

5. It comes at a time when North Carolina faces a shortage of physicians. A 2007 N.C. Institute of Medicine study projected that the state will face a shortage of 90,000 physicians by 2020. The state also ranks 30th out of 50 in physicians per capita, and one in five counties in North Carolina have zero general surgeons.

6. Its mission is to educate and prepare community-based osteopathic physicians in a Christian environment to care for rural and underserved populations.

7. It’s housed in the 96,500-square-foot, state-of-the-start Leon Levine Hall of Medical Sciences, which boasts one of the top simulation centers in the region. Located on the second floor are simulation lab rooms that mimic an emergency room, an operating room, an intensive care unit, a labor and delivering room, and debriefing rooms.

8. Its students will spend the first two years learning in the Leon Levine Hall of Medical Sciences, located in Harnett County, before being assigned to training opportunities in regional community hospitals, including WakeMed, Cape Fear Valley Medical Center and Southeastern Regional Medical Center.

9. It brings to fruition a dream that began in 2009 when Campbell President Jerry Wallace visited William Carey University as part of the college’s application to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to start an osteopathic medical school. At William Carey, a Baptist school in Mississippi, Wallace learned about the model for osteopathic medical education and became interested in exploring the possibility of starting such a school at Campbell.

10. It now gives Campbell at least four professional doctorates, making Campbell a Level VI university—the highest level of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Only two other private universities in North Carolina are Level VIs: Duke and Wake Forest. (The others are in law, pharmacy and divinity.)


Congratulations new medical students!  This is the most exciting thing in eastern NC!

By Ann Ortiz on August 7, 2013 - 1:42pm

So proud of my Alma Mater - and congrats to the new class!

By David F. Graham on August 6, 2013 - 1:36am

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