DSU alumni walk for medical commencement as first Early Acceptance Program class

By Karen M. Ganss

Six graduates of Dixie State University celebrated their commencement from Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine on May 19 in Parker, Colorado. All were members of the first class of the unique Early Acceptance Program that provides a direct pipeline from DSU into RVUCOM.

Through a formal agreement between the Rural Health Scholars program and Rocky Vista, 15 medical school seats are held in each class for qualified gradates of a southern Utah college.  In the past, this program has been tied only to the original Colorado campus, and is now expanded to matriculate students into the new Southern Utah campus in Ivins.  The Early Acceptance Program is highly competitive, and qualified applicants must meet certain academic and co-curricular standards, including high grades in pre-requisite coursework, attendance during a Rural Health Scholars week-long health service trip, leadership roles with undergraduate students, monthly attendance to RVUCOM events, and good standing as a member of RHS.

“We send our best students to Rocky Vista through this partnership and are so honored to be involved in this process,” Rita Osborn, director of the Rural Health Scholars program, said.

The recent commencement marks the first class of the EAP, including DSU alumni Devan Partridge, Chancen Hall, Jared Stucki, Bryce Harmon, Zach Phipps, and Joe Cavallaro. Of these students, three will be entering military medicine careers through the Army, highlighting RVUCOM’s continued tradition of excellence related to being a military-friendly institution.  Residency placements include the areas of anesthesiology and general surgery, sending students to Texas, Kansas, Arizona, Washington, and Kentucky to fulfill their medical training.

Devan Partridge, DSU RHS alumni who is originally from Orem, Utah, chose RVUCOM due to its quality education, residency placement, and location.

“When I heard about the EAP through RHS, I was very excited because it provided me to matriculate to one of the top osteopathic schools in the country,” he said. “After interviewing, I knew it was the right place for me and I’m grateful for the EAP, as it allowed my dreams to come to fruition.”

In the future, Devan hopes to complete a fellowship in interventional pain and return to St. George for private practice.  He is just one example of the many successful students who matriculated into medical school through this intentional partnership between undergraduate and graduate institutions.

All students were members of the DSU Rural Health Scholars Program, which provides additional services for students interested in careers in health care.  This program is available at Dixie State University, Southern Utah University, Snow College, and Utah State University-Eastern in Price.  Services assist students in becoming successful applicants to medical, nursing, podiatry, dental, pharmacy, and other health professions programs.  Student applications are strengthened through a regimen of classes, seminars, community service, job shadowing, research and advisement.  For more information about the Utah Center for Rural Health programs, contact Kasey Shakespear at 435-879-4362 or visit rhs.dixie.edu.