By Samantha Phillips
By enrolling in this program or YSU’s BS/MD, medical students can equip themselves with the knowledge and experience they will need to be promising candidates upon graduation.
Erinn Coe is one such student.
Coe grew up in the Youngstown area. She graduated from Springfield High School and immediately enrolled at Youngstown State University. In 2015, she graduated from YSU from the Combined Science program. She now attends NEOMED.
Coe entered NEOMED last September. Although NEOMED’s focus is on graduating primary care physicians, Coe is leaning towards becoming a surgeon.
“Specifically, I’m pretty interested in orthopedics. I actually have an orthopedic condition, and my dad had two full hip replacements,” Coe said.
She said being around her family as they went through the process of surgery and recovery piqued her interest in the medical field.
“It was pretty cool to experience all that first hand, so that’s what got me interested in it,” Coe said. “I’m definitely open to looking at other kinds of surgery, and even if surgery didn’t work out, something like internal medicine would be interesting.”
Considering NEOMED’s focus on primary care, Coe independently shadowed her family physician while at YSU.
“I figured it’s something I should see if I’m interested in or not. I shadowed him for a few weeks,” Coe said. “It was a really cool experience, and it’s awesome that there’s people out there who want to do it because it’s a necessary [job], but it solidified my decision not to do primary care.”
Coe said it’s beneficial for students to enroll in the BaccMed program to shadow physicians and specialists.
“It gives people the opportunity to shadow and do whatever they need to do to make sure it’s what they want to do,” Coe said.
One of NEOMED’s goals is to retain the students they graduate in the northeast Ohio area to serve their communities.
Although Coe initially thought it would be ideal to move away after graduation, she has decided that she would rather work in the Youngstown area, so she can be closer to her family.
Coe said, even with classes, she is involved in the NEOMED community. She’s a member of the Christian Medical Association — a group that provides a network to Christian medical professionals and students — along with some other clubs and interest groups.
Diana Fagan, professor of immunology and microbiology, said students who want to follow Coe’s path to NEOMED would benefit most from the BaccMed.
“We have an excellent curriculum. When they changed the Medical College Admissions Test in 2015, we did a lot of canvassing of the students out at NEOMED to find out what courses they thought helped them and which ones didn’t and completely revised our curriculum … We also revised it to put Biochem earlier, because the MCAT requires Biochem now, and also to make sure that sociology and psychology were required, because those are also in the MCAT now. So we’ve revised our curriculum to support that.
“The BaccMed program will prepare you the best out of any degree you can get for the MCAT and NEOMED. Because we used what we learned in the BS/MD program to develop the curriculum for that program,” Fagan said.
Fagan advised prospective students for the program to plan their time precisely, so they aren’t rushing at the last minute.
“Anyone who enters the BS/MD program or the BaccMed program is smart enough to do well. If they’re not doing well, it’s because they aren’t managing their time well,” she said. “It’s also possible that some of these students are so smart that they get through high school without truly being challenged.”
Coe’s advice for YSU students who want to enroll in Baccmed and NEOMED is to maintain their confidence.
“It’s a challenging program, and so many people who go into it are coming from high school where they were the smartest person in their class. It’s difficult sometimes when you’re with other extremely intelligent people to remain confident in yourself and your abilities,” she said. “I think it’s important for people in the program to know they’re there, because they deserve it, and they’re capable. You just have to remember what you’re working towards and let that motivate you.”