ACOM and Troy sign agreement

JAY HARE/DOTHAN EAGLE Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine Dean Dr. Craig Lenz (left) and Troy Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins shake hands after signing a formal agreement where ACOM will give assistance to Troy students interested in a career as doctors.

What has been a working relationship since the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine’s inception in 2010 became official with the stroke of a pen Thursday.

ACOM dean Dr. Craig Lenz and Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr. signed a memorandum of understanding that provides ACOM with quality candidates and Troy students interested in medicine some major benefits. One of those perks is priority interviewing for Troy students who possess at least a 3.3 grade-point average and at least a 502 on the Medical College Admission Test.

Lenz said ACOM received about 4,500 applications last year and interviewed about 650 students, meaning the guaranteed interview could be a critical component for Troy students.

“You can’t get a spot in a medical school without an interview,” he said after signing the agreement on the Troy University-Dothan campus. “If it’s someone from Troy, we will make sure they get an interview. That’s a real step up and an opportunity for them to show what they can do, how they can contribute.”

The agreement provides Troy students – no matter what campus they attend – with other benefits, as well. ACOM will also conduct recruitment and advisement sessions, including mock interviews, that can help improve a Troy student’s application process.

“I’ve been thrilled to see (ACOM’s) evolution and what differences it’s beginning to make in the quality of healthcare in Alabama and throughout this country,” Hawkins said. “We are pleased to be a part of that and pleased to be able to provide quality students who are well-prepared to make a difference in the health professions.”

Lenz noted ACOM’s partnership with Troy began in 2010 when he arrived to set the foundation of the school. He reached out to Dr. Don Jeffrey, the vice-chancellor of the Troy-Dothan campus, to discuss how the schools could benefit each other.

What resulted was a program that provided ACOM students a chance to earn a master’s degree in business administration while attending ACOM for their medical degree. Lenz said the partnership with Troy from the beginning has affected medicine in critical areas as eight of the 11 graduates of both Troy and ACOM practice family medicine now.

Meanwhile the relationship with ACOM has sharpened Troy University’s pre-medicine program, Lenz said, noting his staff has been able to suggest improvements that produce a better candidate for medical school. Hawkins said 90 percent of May 2018 Troy graduates who applied for medical school gained admission and continue in their programs.

“Those students are enrolled at ACOM all the way to Wisconsin. You can go anywhere in the world that you choose to go from Troy University,” Hawkins said. “I think this partnership with ACOM even enhances the rate of success.”

Lenz said Troy University has produced quality students for ACOM’s program throughout the years.

“Those graduates … are side-by-side with other graduates of places like South Alabama’s College of Medicine, UAB’s College of Medicine and other medical schools throughout the country,” he said. “I have no doubt that what we are producing, not only at ACOM but in our relationship with Troy, measures up to any standards that those programs have.”

The agreement is for a three-year period, though both parties can opt out at any time.

Follow Jeremy Wise on Twitter @DEgovbeat

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