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A diverse group of 81 medical students will begin their studies Monday on the newly-built California Health Sciences University campus in Clovis.

The students will make up the inaugural class for CHSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. Over the next four years, the student population is expected to grow to 600.

“Collectively, they speak over 26 different languages, which is very important for diversity, for diversity of thought, and diversity of racial and ethnic backgrounds,” said Dr. John Graneto, the school’s dean.

Medical School Combines Classroom and Clinical Training

Students will spend their first two years primarily in the classroom, followed by two years in local clinical settings.

The nationally accredited medical school was established in the Central Valley to help address healthcare resource gaps across the region.

“CHSU has a mission to serve the underserved,” said first-year student Carter Yang. “They do have a mission to promote jobs, higher education, and to improve the quality of care in healthcare and that really brought me to CHSU.”

Strong Connections to the Valley

Almost 40% of the students in the inaugural class have a direct connection to the Valley, including Yang and classmate Maria Melgarejo.

As a child in Sanger, Melgarejo often accompanied her parents when they worked in the fields as farmworkers.

“While we were working there, we would see a lot of people show up injured, malnourished,” she said. “I saw the physical toll that labor took on people.”

Graneto said the new class will immediately dive into their medical training.

“Monday morning at 8 o’clock, their first faculty member will be a primary care physician and they’ll introduce the patient of the week. That patient of the week will be the theme throughout the week for their instruction,” Graneto said.

The school’s three-story teaching facility features state-of-the-art technology that includes patient simulators and clinical labs modeled after realistic health care settings. CHSU’s college of medicine has also implemented a mixed-reality holographic learning system to substitute for a traditional cadaver lab normally used for teaching anatomy.

Seeking Better Health Care Outcomes for Region

School officials anticipate that many students who graduate from the program will then choose to practice medicine in the local area. That goal is an important one, Graneto said, noting that, “in one of the richest states in the nation, we have some of the poorest health care outcomes.”

“Trying to fix that problem on a global perspective, for a whole population, is a very impactful mission that this school has embarked on,” he said.

(Granville Homes President and CEO Darius Assemi is the publisher of GV Wire and a member of CHSU’s Board of Trustees.)

Video by Jamie Ouverson

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