Founded in 2020 as an extension of the school’s main campus, the Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine is getting ready to honor its inaugural graduating class on May 9.

“I'm just so proud of our students and our faculty and staff for everything that we've been able to put together,” said Dr. Thomas J. Mohr, dean of Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Mohr said the program is unique in giving students hands-on experience at community-based clinics and hospitals throughout East Texas. He said the program was intentionally designed to meet the needs of individuals in underserved populations across the state.

“What Texas needs as much as [specialty physicians] is primary care [doctors],” Mohr said. “They need access to care, especially in underserved communities and rural areas. That's a big deal as our state continues to grow.”

The first graduating class recently attended a match day event where they learned where their residencies will be served.

“We were thrilled that all 69 of our graduates have been placed in residency programs and 62% of them will be staying in Texas, which is a big part of our mission,” Mohr said. “[Of those students] 58% of them are pursuing primary care specialties. We're incredibly proud of our students for that.”

While individuals can become fully-licensed physicians by pursuing a doctor of medicine degree, Mohr said many individuals may not know they can also become a licensed physician by getting a degree in osteopathic medicine.

“Doctors of osteopathic medicine can specialize in any type of medicine,” Mohr said. “I'm an internal medicine doctor and a hospitalist. You can be a family doctor, you can be a surgeon, a cardiologist, an orthopedic surgeon... anything you want [with this degree].”

Another way the program distinguishes itself is by being the least expensive osteopathic medical school in the country. Mohr said this is because state legislators backed their request for state funding.

“Not only are we the least expensive, but we're in the top three of all osteopathic medical schools across the country, based on first time rate on national license exams,” Mohr said.

As a testament to the success of the new program, the Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine received full accreditation with exceptional outcomes.

“That means instead of the usual seven years of accreditation, we get 10, and that is really reserved for the best of the best,” Mohr said. “The coolest part about this is that there has never been a new osteopathic medical school that has gotten accreditation with exceptional outcomes right out of the box. We are the first and only.”

Ready to make an impact on your community by becoming a doctor of osteopathic medicine? Visit the school’s website to apply today or find more information.

The above story was produced by Multi-platform Journalist Mary Katherine Shapiro with Community Impact's Storytelling team with information solely provided by the local business as part of their "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.