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Tuskegee University & Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine sign MOU to establish guaranteed interview & admissions

December 27, 2021

Contact: Kawana McGough, Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing

Tuskegee University and Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine Auburn images

Tuskegee University and Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) - Auburn campus leaders have signed a memorandum of understanding guaranteeing qualified Tuskegee students a successful entry into the VCOM medical school and the Rocovich Scholars Admission Program.

Due to the diminished opportunities for medical training in the United States, the chronic shortage of physicians in rural areas of Alabama; and for medically underserved rural and minority populations throughout the United States; Tuskegee University and VCOM desire to create and cooperate on a program by which qualified candidates committed to primary care and care for rural and medically underserved populations will be subsequently accepted for admission.

"The partnership between Edward Via College of Medicine and Tuskegee University is an excellent opportunity for our students," said College of Arts and Sciences dean, Dr. Channa Prakash. "This would help us motivate our students to do well academically so that they will receive admission into this prestigious medical school. This joint agreement is also crucial considering how only an exceedingly small percentage of physicians are African Americans," he continued.

As provided in the responsibilities and covenants, VCOM will interview and admit to the program up to five candidates who have demonstrated high achievements and have met specified criteria included in the MOU. The agreement also attests that VCOM would waive the MCAT test requirement for those students with a GPA of 3.7. 

"This is of tremendous value for our students as the MCAT is one of the biggest and most expensive challenges to get into a medical school," noted Prakash. "In addition, the assured guaranteed admissions interview will allow our students who meet the minimum requirements to have a competitive advantage for receiving an interview – as this is the most important first step towards getting into a medical school."

Brooklyn Hornbuckle, a 2019 Tuskegee University alumna, is currently participating in this year's cohort; she says it is an honor to be one of the first students to participate in the partnership program.

"Many of the students like myself aspire to become doctors, and often we were visited by the admissions and recruitment offices at schools of our interest. VCOM stuck out to me as they are dedicated to creating physicians who have a goal of improving healthcare in underserved and rural populations," she explained.

"While in the program, I hope to gain all the effective tools needed to be a compassionate and caring physician, and I will do everything in my power to serve my patients. I truly look forward to the hands-on training and patient experiences that I will take part in over the next four years," Hornbuckle continued. 

The MOU also outlines that Tuskegee students will also participate in the Rocovich Scholars Early Admission Program. The program encourages candidates from rural areas, low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds, and underrepresented minorities to enter health careers. Studies have shown that students from rural or medically underserved areas are more likely to provide medical care to disadvantaged populations.

The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) mission is to prepare globally-minded, community-focused physicians to meet the needs of rural and medically underserved populations and promote research to improve human health. Each year VCOM receives over 11,000 applications from across the four VCOM campuses located in Blacksburg, Virginia (Virginia Tech), Spartanburg, South Carolina (Spartanburg's College Town Consortium), Monroe, Louisiana (University of Louisiana Monroe), and Auburn, Alabama (Auburn University). Each campus will admit roughly 150 medical students for each class, for a total student body of 600.

Alabama ranks in the bottom five out of all 50 states for primary physicians per capita and healthcare outcomes for its citizens. Sixty of Alabama's 67 counties are suffering a shortage of primary care physicians.

Those that have signed the agreement include Dr. Lily McNair, then president of Tuskegee University; Dr. Channa S. Prakash, College of Arts and Sciences Dean; Dr. Richard Whittington, associate professor of microbiology, wildlife and fisheries, Department of Biology, Garland Wise, pre-health counselor, Department of Biology, and Dixie Tooke-Rawlins, president and provost, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. 

About Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine 

The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) is a four-year private osteopathic medical school offering the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree. VCOM provides state-of-the-art medical education and research that prepares globally minded, community-focused physicians who improve the health of those most in need. 

 With campuses in Blacksburg, VA, Spartanburg, SC, Auburn, AL, and Monroe, LA, VCOM has graduated over 4,100 new physicians since its founding in 2001, with over 65 percent going into primary care specialties such as family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics/gynecology.

VCOM has become one of the largest medical schools in the country, yet each campus maintains a nurturing small private college atmosphere for the student. VCOM partners with many community-based hospitals for clinical rotations throughout Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana. The College is known for its national award-winning primary care and global medical outreach programs and a sports medicine department caring for athletes at Virginia Tech, Auburn University, University of Louisiana-Monroe, and Radford University. The College sustains an environment for innovative, impactful research well-positioned for long-term success. VCOM and its partners collaborate on research that will improve healthcare quality in its communities worldwide.


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