August 5, 2013 | 2 Comments
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