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Groundbreaking Tomorrow for anticipated osteopathic medical school at ULM

Published September 17, 2018

University of Louisiana Monroe President Dr. Nick J. Bruno will host the groundbreaking ceremony for the anticipated Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018 at ULM.

The site is located in Heritage Park between the Laird Weems Center and the president’s home, Bon Aire.

Special guest Gov. John Bel Edwards will participate in the groundbreaking with ULM and VCOM representatives, elected officials and area leaders. Afterward, a reception will be held at Bayou Pointe Student Event Center.

 The public is invited to the groundbreaking and the reception.

“It is extraordinary event for the people of northeastern Louisiana and the university,” said Bruno. “Having an anticipated medical school on campus will change the face of this region as medical students and doctors go into our communities to provide healthcare for so many who so desperately need it.”

VCOM’s President and Provost Dixie Tooke-Rawlins, DO, is one of the school’s founders. She will participate in the groundbreaking ceremony. 

Tooke-Rawlins said, “The partnership with ULM is centered in the heart of VCOM’s mission to graduate physicians who will serve in rural and medically underserved regions. VCOM is focused on making a difference in the communities we serve, as well as providing a positive economic impact.”

VCOM is a nonprofit, private (5013)c four-year osteopathic medical school offering the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree. The Virginia campus is in Blacksburg, Va., the Carolinas campus is in Spartanburg, S.C., and the Alabama campus is in Auburn, Ala.

The groundbreaking is the last phase in a three-step process the state of Louisiana required to legitimize the partnership between ULM and VCOM. First the Board of Regents approved VCOM to operate a medical school in Louisiana; second, the Board of Supervisors approved a land lease between ULM and VCOM and third, a dean for the anticipated medical school was to be hired. The new dean is Ray Morrison, DO.

VCOM is now in the process of seeking national accreditation from the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA), and if all of the steps go as planned, the anticipated campus could open to its first class as early as the fall of 2020. 

A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine is a licensed physician with a four-year degree, just as a medical doctor. DO’s have an additional 200 hours of training dedicated to the musculoskeletal system and osteopathic manipulation with an emphasis on whole body/whole person wellness.

Osteopathic doctors, just as MDs, can practice any specialty. Osteopaths in northeast Louisiana include pediatrics, oncologists, family practice, orthopedics and others. DOs can write prescriptions and hospitalize patients.


About the building

  • Four-story, 100,000 sq. ft.
  • Two 4,200 sq. ft. two-story classrooms which seat more than 200
  • 4,100 sq. ft. anatomy lab
  • 3,300 sq. ft. OMM lab
  • 20 small group study rooms
  • Large quiet study areas
  • Three student lounges
  • Approximately 8,000 sq. ft. Simulation and Standardized Patient Center
  • Exterior balcony at board room on the third floor
  • Exterior balcony covering patio on complete length at the rear of the building