LECOM welcomes new medical students; launches new physician assistant pathway

The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine welcomed three new classes of medical students to its campuses in Erie, Pa., Bradenton, Fla., and Greensburg, Pa., on Monday, July 25. This marks the nineteenth class of medical school students at the Erie campus. The Seton Hill campus is welcoming its third class of medical students while LECOM Bradenton will welcome its eighth class.

Silvia Ferretti, D.O., LECOM Provost, Senior Vice President, and Dean of Academic Affairs, speaks to first year medical students during orientation at LECOM Erie.

In continuing its goal to provide affordable, innovative medical education, LECOM has introduced its new Accelerated Physician Assistant Pathway (APAP) for the fall 2011 semester. The program makes it possible for certified physician assistants to attend medical school and complete their D.O. (doctor of osteopathic medicine) degrees in three years instead of four – saving them one year of time, tuition, fees, and living expenses.

LECOM decided to launch its APAP curriculum after hearing from certified physician assistants who expressed a desire to practice independently. Some said the cost of medical school and time away from clinical practice prevented them from pursuing their dreams. By accelerating the medical school program, LECOM will give certified physician assistants the opportunity to become physicians in three years. APAP is available only on the Erie and Seton Hill campuses.

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“This is the only accelerated medical school curriculum specifically designed to help PAs meet their self-identified need for increased medical knowledge and practice autonomy,” said Mark Kauffman, D.O., M.S., Director of the Accelerated Physician Assistant Pathway. “Their prior clinical experience and real world understanding of the practice of medicine allows for maturity and the opportunity to be leaders in their studies and among their peers.”

Six APAP students will attend classes in Erie and one will study on the Seton Hill campus. Taylen Peaden, a certified physician assistant from Gainesville, Fla., will attend medical school in Erie through the APAP program. “You work as a team in medicine, but I reached a point where I was ready to step to the head of the table and lead the team,” Peaden explained.

Taylen Peaden, a certified physician assistant, is among seven LECOM students in the new Accelerated Physician Assistant Pathway.


Peaden said LECOM’s progressive teaching style and the variety of learning pathways attracted him to LECOM. “The APAP program is appealing to a person in my position who has already committed to over six college years studying science and medicine and then practicing for six years,” he said. “Receiving credit for this experience, by shaving off some of the cost and time associated with becoming an osteopathic physician, is a wonderful opportunity.”

LECOM Erie will welcome 250 medical students in the Class of 2015. Another 104 students will matriculate at LECOM at Seton Hill. Nineteen percent of these students are from Pennsylvania.

LECOM Bradenton will matriculate 184 students in the Class of 2015. This is the largest class to enroll at the Bradenton campus since the school opened in 2004. Last year, the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) approved a class-size increase at the Bradenton campus from 150 students to 184.

“We are finding that LECOM’s innovative curriculum, high quality of educational programs, and affordable tuition are attracting more applicants each year,” said Robert J. George, D.O., LECOM Bradenton Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. “LECOM’s reputation as a top quality medical school continues to grow and medical school candidates are taking note of the student-centered pathways and the low tuition.”

First-year student John Krause takes notes during orientation at LECOM Bradenton.

LECOM’s presence in Florida continues to grow as 57 percent of the incoming class is from the Sunshine State. Morgan Pyne of Bradenton, Fla., has seen the growth of LECOM first-hand. She attended Lakewood Ranch High School, just a block away from the College.

Pyne was also among the first high school students to attend LECOM’s Human Body Explored (HBE) program. The six-month program gives students a taste of a medical school curriculum. “Going through the HBE program solidified what I wanted to do,” Pyne said. “It’s great to be able to go to medical school just 10 minutes from home.” Other local students entering LECOM include: Brian Utz of Bradenton and Elizabeth Sedell and David Wakeland of Sarasota, Fla.

“With Florida being hit the hardest with the physician shortage it is our hope, that by recruiting more students from Florida, we will be able to train them and have them stay in-state for their post-graduate training,” Dr. George said.

Second-year osteopathic medical students report back to all three campuses on Aug. 1. LECOM School of Pharmacy students at the Erie and Bradenton campuses begin orientation Aug. 11.

July 25, 2011
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