Photo: Teighlor Livingston, Lakeland native and VSU alumna, and Krupesh Patel, Valdosta native and VSU alumnus, set to begin medical school in August.
Two Valdosta State University alumni will join the PCOM South Georgia Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine in the fall.
Being from the small town of Lakeland, GA, Teighlor Livingston (MS/BS ’22) has seen first-hand the need for healthcare professionals in underserved communities–it’s part of what drove her decision to become a physician and receive her education at PCOM South Georgia.
“I want to work with a community similar to that in which I grew up,” she said. “There is a shortage of rural physicians which creates health disparities in many regions. I want to practice in a rural area and help alleviate the health burden for that community. Practicing in South Georgia would give me the opportunity to give back to those communities who have supported me throughout my medical education.”
After receiving her undergraduate degree at Valdosta State University, Livingston joined the biomedical sciences program to better prepare herself for medical school. While completing her graduate degree, she continued working on research with partners at VSU.
“I began working in research at VSU in 2019, shortly before I graduated,” she said. “I applied to PCOM South Georgia’s biomedical sciences program specifically for the research concentration so that I could continue my work, as well as prepare myself for medical school. I believe my engagement in research has helped me to better understand the ‘other side of medicine’ and how ideas become developments.”
While in the program, graduate students complete their first year of classes alongside the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine students–giving them a feel and preparing them for the rigors of medical school.
“I can’t imagine any other program would have better prepared me for medical school,” Livingston said. “The course content is challenging and gave me a taste of what medical school is really going to be like. The medical students always made themselves available to offer advice and answer any questions that I had. Hearing their many different experiences often gave me the confidence to continue working hard to reach my goals. I believe that completing the graduate program better prepared me for the rigor of medical school and will make the transition easier. I firmly believe the graduate program helped me to stand out among applicants and contributed to my acceptance into the DO program.”
Krupesh Patel shares a similar story–and a similar educational background. A former VSU undergraduate classmate of Livingston’s, and now a current graduate classmate, Patel is also using the graduate program as a bridge to medical school.
“This graduate program has been a really good step for me before starting medical school,” Patel said. “It’s allowed me to witness what it’s like to be in a medical school without actually being a medical student. Taking classes with the medical students during the first year of the program was helpful because I was able to see the challenges that I will face, and now I feel much more prepared to take them on when I begin my journey later this year.”
All graduate students experience the same curriculum during their first year of the program, but they have the opportunity to pursue a concentration during the second year. While Livingston concentrated in research, Patel concentrated in forensic medicine. With that concentration, he travels to PCOM in Philadelphia once a month to learn from the forensic medicine faculty members there.
Patel, like many graduate and medical students at PCOM South Georgia, felt a calling and inspiration to become a physician through a personal experience.
“The inspiration to become a physician came to me when I was young and would spend my summer breaks with my grandparents in the Indian village where they lived,” he said. “My grandfather would take me with him to meet his close friend, a doctor, who managed a clinic in the village. Every day, I observed the doctor treat the villagers who often did not have easy access or money to pay for medical care. This was my inspiration to pursue osteopathic medicine. My goal is to become a physician and serve
the underprivileged communities.”
Come July 2022, Patel and Livingston will graduate from the biomedical sciences graduate program. Then, in August 2022, they’ll join the PCOM South Georgia Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Class of 2026.
About PCOM South Georgia
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) extended its commitment to the Southeast by establishing PCOM South Georgia, an additional teaching location in Moultrie, Georgia. PCOM South Georgia offers both a full, four-year medical program leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree and a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree. PCOM is a private, not-for-profit institution which trains professionals in the health and behavioral sciences fields. Joining PCOM Georgia in Suwanee in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state, PCOM South Georgia focuses on educating physicians for the South Georgia region. The medical campus, which welcomed its inaugural class of medical students in August 2019, has received accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 229-668-3110.