Last month’s Orientation introduced 39 new students to OUM

OUM welcomed 39 first-year medical students during the Term 2101 Orientation in January, one of the University’s largest incoming classes to date. Mirroring the July 2020 Orientation, this second incoming class since the COVID-19 pandemic began was introduced to medical school entirely via Zoom. One session was held for students from Australia, New Zealand, and Samoa and one for North American students.

Welcoming students was Taffy Gould, OUM’s founder, who envisioned and opened OUM’s “doors” nearly 20 years ago.

“You are about to embark on what I hope will be one of the most exciting and fulfilling endeavors of your life,” said Mrs. Gould, “and we won’t tell you that it is going to be easy, but many people have made it through and you can, too.”

She went on to encourage students to utilize the University’s available resources and always feed curiosity.

“Never hesitate to ask questions. It is so important that if something isn’t clear to you that you ask,” she said, noting that student support and personal attention sets OUM apart from other medical schools. “From day one, we have a whole team of people who are ready, willing, and able to assist you. So, please never hesitate to ask for help because it’s there. That’s what we’re here for.”

Adding his congratulations and welcome to the AU/NZ/Samoa session was Viali Lameko, MBBS, MPH, OUM Vice Chancellor.

“First, I wish to congratulate all of the new students for being accepted into the OUM program. I also wish to say that, from the beginning, we are here to ensure that you realize your dream to become a doctor,” said Dr. Lameko. “Our mission, in simple terms, is to produce good doctors. Let me repeat that — our mission and our vision is to produce good clinicians and physicians. Doctors that we believe will possess the right knowledge, attitude, behavior, and capabilities to serve as a clinician anywhere in the world.”

As part of the jam-packed agendas, new students at the North American session were able to meet and gain insight from Orla Weinhold, MD, practicing Psychiatrist and member of OUM’s Class of 2014. Attendees at the AU/NZ/Samoa session gained their tips and tricks from Tom Dalton, fourth-year student and President of the OUM Student Association (OUMSA).

Meet the class

The University was pleased to again welcome a diverse group of individuals during orientation:

  • We have been joined by twelve registered nurses, five business professionals, six nurse practitioners, and three paramedics. Other professionals making the transition to medical student range from an architect, pharmacist, and podiatrist, to a physiotherapist and tennis coach.
  • Very similar to the July intake, this group has an average age of 38 years old (July’s was 39) and the age range is 21 to 57 years.
  • Countries of Residence: Australia 64 percent, USA 26 percent, New Zealand 5 percent, Samoa 5 percent
  • The gender breakdown is 62 percent female and 38 percent male.
  • There are 12 native languages in the group – 62 percent English and 13 percent Hindi, joined by Gorkhali, Portuguese, Shona, Yoruba, and others
  • There are holders of three Doctorates and 12 Master’s Degrees among the group.

Remarks from Professor Hugh Bartholomeusz, OAM, RFD, MBBS, FRACS, Dean for Australia, summed up the sessions and OUM goals well.

“I am impressed by our tremendous diversity and the enormous potential of students that we have with us today,” said Professor Bartholomeusz. “OUM’s profile is rising and it is doing so because of our students. Graduates are impressing people throughout the medical profession. So I encourage you to remember that you are advocates for our university. It is our students that will make the University great — or greater.”