Denisonians in Health Professions: Osteopathic Medicine

Denisonians in health professions: osteopathic medicine - 03-25-19-ryan-vagedes-1-300x296.jpg image #0Name: Ryan Vagedes
Denison Graduation Year: 2017
Denison Major: Biology, Spanish (minor)
Graduate School: DO from Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2021
Contact me: rv1581616@ohio.edu

What is the focus of your graduate/professional school and what content has most engaged you?
he focus of OU-HCOM is developing primary care physicians practicing in underserved communities in Ohio. The most engaging thing for me at OU-HCOM has been being able to explore public and global health. I was able to combine my experiences from Denison (studying Biology and Spanish) and translate them into developing intentional global health research in medical school. Because of Denison, I was able to develop and be the lead investigator on an international research project focused on understanding social determinants, HIV transmission, and care received by people living with HIV/AIDS in urban and rural communities in Ecuador.

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
I knew I wanted to go to medical school since I was pretty young. From my experience shadowing physicians in different specialties as well as seeing my sister go through medical school, I wanted to attend an osteopathic medical school. Why osteopathic medicine (DO)? There’s a strong emphasis on preventative medicine and primary care, promoting wellness, and focusing on the interconnectedness of the body and mind, taking a “whole person” approach. In addition to taking all the same classes as allopathic medical schools (MD), you take an additional courses in osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) which is a form of manual medicine (think physical therapy) than can help diagnose and aid in the treatment of different medical conditions.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
During your first year of medical school, it is a lot like transitioning into college. You have to rethink the way you learn and how you study. While the material you learn is not harder than at Denison (in many cases, it is actually easier), the pace at which you learn is very different. Things move a lot faster. Each medical school lecture usually covers the amount of material in about 3-4 undergraduate lectures. Being proactive (rather than reactive) in your learning is what helped me adjust to medical school. Reaching out to second year students, using all the resources you have available, and getting tutoring when you think you need it is how you succeed. There is no shame in asking for help.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
Right now, I am interested in going into general internal medicine and splitting my future practice into inpatient hospitalist work and outpatient primary care. I want to practice in a medically under-served area. I am also interested in public health, social medicine research, and practicing internationally (e.g., Doctors Without Borders). If I can find someway to combine all that together, that is what I want to do!

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
If you are thinking about going to medical school (or really any health profession), I suggest to shadow some professionals to get a sense of what the practice of medicine is like in whichever field interests you. If you are not sure if you are competitive for a certain program/school, call them! You can call or email the admissions office of nearly any school and ask them what kind of applicants they accept (e.g., MCAT scores, GPA, research, volunteering, etc.). I scheduled a meeting with an admissions officer and brought my resume. We chatted about what kind of applicant I would be and how to be more competitive. The best advice someone can give you about being competitive for medical school are the people who accept you to medical school. Overall, I think osteopathic medicine is very much a continuation of the the liberal arts philosophy at Denison. When looking at applying to medical schools, keep osteopathic medicine on your radar. It is a rapidly growing field. Now, about one in four US medical students attend an osteopathic medical school. If you ever have any questions, I can do my best to answer them. Find me on LinkedIn, and we can chat from there.

Denisonians in Health Professions: Osteopathic Medicine

Denisonians in health professions: osteopathic medicine - bryan-margaria-281x300.png image #0Name: Bryan Margaria
Denison Graduation Year: 2016
Denison Major: Biology
Graduate/Professional School: Pursuing a DO degree at Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine, class of 2020
Contact me: margar_b1@denison.edu

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
I did the pre-medical track at Denison, with a major in Biology. I focused on plant biology primarily. I chose to go into medicine based on my experiences as a medical assistant and clinical research (during my first year and sophomore summers), and through mentorship I got from professors such as Dr. Hauk, Dr. Kuhlman, and Dr. McCall. Additionally, I knew from my introductory courses in chemistry and biology that I had a strong passion for the sciences.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
A challenge for me throughout my time at Denison was time management. I was involved in many areas of campus life such as playing on the soccer team, being a resident assistant/head resident, and holding various leadership positions such as in DCGA. I struggled at times to find enough time to study; I overcame this by learning how to make the best use of all the time available in the day. I had a schedule I stuck to daily, and made sure to do my homework in all the gaps in between.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
I plan on specializing in some form of medicine such as oncology, neurology, or anesthesiology.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
My first piece of advice would be to focus on building strong study habits throughout your time at Denison. Denison will provide a challenging and rigorous undergraduate education; take advantage of it! Building strong study skills such as discipline and dedication will go a long way in preparing you for medical school. Learning how to manage your time will also pay dividends in the future. Do not forget to have fun as well! Denison was some of the best times of my life; live your life to the fullest and enjoy the time you have. My second piece of advice would be to have a well rounded application. Experiences such as being involved in leadership activities and hands on experiences such as research really help boost your chances of getting into medical school. Grades and MCAT scores are important, but being a well rounded applicant will set you apart in the process. Finally, take the time to figure out if going to medical school is the right move for you. To give you an idea of what a day in the life of a medical student is like: wake up at 7 am, attend class (or watch lectures online) from 8 to 3, then frantically study from 3 to 12 pm or later. This schedule becomes even worse when you start studying for board exams. There is time for some fun, but only after exams every couple weeks. Many times parents will encourage their student to follow the premedical track when the reality is the student would prefer to be doing something else. Follow your passions! Denison offers amazing programs in many different disciplines. Medical school is among the toughest academic environments on the planet; you have to love what you are doing or you will struggle.