Oklahoma has one of the largest rural populations in the United States, with more than 30% of Oklahomans living in rural areas. These Oklahomans face inequities when it comes to receiving medical care.
To help address these rural health disparities, MACU has partnered with the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences (OSU-CHS) to offer a 3+1 Program for undergraduate students.
This program gives undergraduate students studying biology at MACU the option to transfer to OSU-CHS during their sophomore year and begin their Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program, enabling them to finish in seven years instead of the traditional eight years. OSU-CHS is specifically aimed at training osteopathic physicians, scientists and healthcare professionals who will serve in rural and underserved communities.
“There is a huge health disparity within rural communities,” said JuLee Wells, OSU-CHS Director of Recruitment. “We need to get physicians into these areas. We have Oklahomans who are driving hours just to be able to see their physician.” Because many Oklahomans living in rural communities don’t have easy access to medical care, they are at risk for serious and even deadly complications from what could have been a preventable or treatable condition.
MACU freshman Taylor White, who opted into the new 3+1 Program, said this is one of the many reasons why she chose to pursue her lifelong calling of entering the medical field to help others. “I feel like I was almost born knowing I was destined to go into medicine,” White said. “My dream in life is to help people in their best and worst moments in life while having the opportunity to adapt to a growing field.”
White said her passion for medicine began in her youth. With many members of her family working as healthcare professionals, she said she grew up listening to advanced
medical terminology — but instead of tuning out, she couldn’t help but try and understand what they were saying. “I know that God has a special place for me in life, and by trusting in Him, I believe that the medical field is where I belong,” White said. “Deciding to come to MACU to pursue the 3+1 Program with OSU-CHS was one of the easiest decisions I have made in my life.”