Today@Sam Article

College of Osteopathic Medicine Achieves Major Milestone

May 31, 2023
SHSU Media Contact: Mikah Boyd

COM Students

By Hannah Haney

Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (SHSU-COM) is proud to announce a significant improvement in its mission to expand healthcare availability to rural communities and address the shortage of primary care physicians in Texas. On May 19, 2023, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a legislative initiative that designates SHSU-COM as eligible for state formula funding. SHSU-COM is only the seventh public College of Osteopathic Medicine in the country and the first new school to be established with legislative support since 1977.

Including SHSU-COM in the state's formula funding program marks a pivotal moment for the institution, affirming its commitment to excellence in medical education and reinforcing its vital role in the healthcare landscape. This achievement is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the faculty, staff and supporters of SHSU-COM.

Dr. Thomas Mohr, DO, Dean of SHSU-COM, expressed his excitement about this significant milestone: "We are incredibly grateful to Governor Abbott, Senator Brandon Creighton, Representative Will Metcalf, the legislature, the leadership of the university and the Texas State University System, and all those who have supported our journey. The success of this initiative was due to our mission and the early successes of our student doctors, faculty and staff.”

According to Mohr, more than 96 percent of SHSU-COM students are Texans who plan to remain in the state to complete their training and set up practice. Student Studying COM

“Our inaugural class has a 100 percent pass rate on the national board examination with 97.1 percent passing on the first attempt,” Mohr said. “We are set to graduate our first cohort of physicians in May 2024 and our student doctors are excelling in their clinical rotations.”

The formula funding will eliminate disparities between SHSU-COM tuition costs and tuition costs of all other Texas public medical schools and private schools. This will allow SHSU-COM to amplify its focus on training a new generation of osteopathic physicians to practice primary care medicine in rural, underserved and community-based settings without the burden of substantial student loan debt which often forces student doctors to prioritize higher-paying specialties over primary care. Additionally, the funding will help SHSU-COM attract talented individuals from all socioeconomic backgrounds who might not otherwise pursue a medical education.

“I am thrilled by this incredible support from our state leaders who are investing in healthcare in Texas. Our medical students benefit, and our communities benefit. It’s a wonderful benefit for both our students and our communities,” SHSU President Alisa White said.

Established in 2019, SHSU-COM is poised to make a lasting impact in osteopathic medicine and will graduate its first class of physicians in 2024. By combining an excellent academic experience through a vertically integrated primary science/clinical curriculum, state-of-the-art facilities, and a dedication to community engagement, SHSU-COM is committed to preparing students for the degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine with an emphasis on primary care and rural practice, to develop culturally aware, diverse and compassionate physicians, who follow osteopathic principles, that are prepared for graduate medical education and will serve the people of Texas with professionalism and patient-centered care.

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