SUWANEE - The newest class of medical students at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine's Georgia Campus on Wednesday began orientation, a three-day program designed to give the future doctors an overview of their next four years of school.
John Fleischmann, the campus executive officer, said 94 percent of the 91 students in the class are from the South and 61 percent are from Georgia. The school's goal is to recruit, train, educate and retain doctors in this state and region.
"We're meeting our goal for the Georgia campus," Fleischmann said. "We're very pleased."
This May, the school's first class of medical students will graduate. Those students will spend the year in clerkships, focusing on the medical field in which they are most interested. After graduation, they must complete a minimum of three years in a residency program before they can become practicing physicians, Fleischmann said.
One of the school's new medical students, Duluth High graduate Huma Hosain, said she was interested in attending the school because the campus is close to her home. She said she also likes the philosophy behind osteopathic medicine, which takes a holistic approach to health care.
"It parallels the way I think," she said. "I really feel this is the thing for me."
Hosain, a native of Pakistan who has lived in Gwinnett County for 17 years, said she became interested in medicine at a young age but studied business as an undergraduate student at Georgia Tech. She said those classes taught her about management techniques and leadership, which will be useful if she decides to open her own practice.
Duluth resident James Chang graduated in May from the school's biomedical sciences program. He attended the University of California at San Diego as an undergraduate student and decided to enroll in the master's degree program at the Suwanee campus to prepare for medical school.
Chang said he wants to become a doctor because he wants to help people and make a difference in their lives. His reason for choosing osteopathic medicine is personal, he said.
"My dad has diabetes, and my mom has hypertension," he said. "I want to help people be more healthy."
Chang said he looked forward to the first day of orientation.
"It's exciting just meeting the rest of the students," he said.
The new path they have elected to take will be difficult and challenging, Chang said, but they've had a good start.
Students enrolled in the master's degree program also began orientation Wednesday, Fleischmann said.
Classes begin Monday at the Suwanee campus.