Lebanon native, residents among COMP-NW graduates

In his presentation to the fourth graduating class at the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Northwest on June 1, Dr. David Connett, vice dean of COMP-Pacific (Pomona) said these last four years of their lives are but a blip in time.
The commencement speaker went on to advise the class of 2018 to be diligent about maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and not allow the predator of time to steal important moments from the ones they love.
“For the rest of your career, the most valuable commodity you will have is not money,” Connett said. “It’s not power, it’s not rank, it’s not your stature in committee. The most valuable commodity in your life is time.”
And with that, COMP-Northwest graduated 102 students, including three Lebanon residents: Amanda Emmert (see accompanying story), Jonathan Shader and Shanette Owen.
COMP-NW Dean Dr. Paula M. Crone said she and her husband, Dr. Paul Aversano, clinical professor of internal medicine and neurology, feel like proud parents of their graduating students, including those from Lebanon whom they are confident will make a positive impact on their community and patients.
“Amanda is one of the most poised, kind, salt of the earth individuals you could meet,” Crone said. “Shanette has a true service heart, and constantly puts those around her before herself. Jonathan always has a smile on his face and exudes joy in what he is doing.”

AMANDA EMMERT, center, poses for a photo with her husband, Ben Emmert, and mother, Kim Burbach, after receiving her diploma.

Dr. Amanda G. Emmert (Groff)
When all is said and done, from the time she started courses at Oregon State University to the time she completes her residency, Amanda Emmert—the first Lebanon High School student to graduate from COMP-Northwest—will have spent 13 years preparing herself for her future as a child and adolescent psychiatrist.
For her first three years at the medical school, Emmert thought she would go into pediatrics, but her experiences at COMP-Northwest took her in a different direction.
She was in her third year and finishing her last rotation when she found an interest in the child psych division at Samaritan in Corvallis.
“I really liked it, and I guess that was the catalyst to start thinking why I am interested in pediatrics and what my goals were with that career,” she said. “I kind of realized I’m very much health promotion and advocacy, and that actually aligned really well with child psychiatry.”
She also realized she was drawn to the high-needs kids, those who might have had a rough start in life and needed help beyond sore throats and well checks, she said.
In her first two years at COMP-Northwest, when the students focus solely on studying, Emmert found her favorite class was neurology.
“It’s just really interesting, just thinking about the way the brain works and the different pathologies and how things in the brain can really influence how a person presents,” she said.
The hardest class for Emmert was anatomy. She took the course at an accelerated pace over the summer in order to become a teacher’s assistant, but it was a bit more intimidating, she said.
“I think the reason it was hard is probably because I did it in that format. I hadn’t taken anatomy before that, so that was rough. It was just a lot of learning in a really short amount of time.”
During her time spent in Lebanon, Emmert participated in several volunteer and community service projects. Some of her more favorite ones included doing health screenings, and teaching cooking classes to children at the Boys & Girls Club in Sweet Home.
Emmert praised the staff and teachers at COMP-Northwest for making the school what it is, and fondly remembered the moment she was nominated student DO of the year, an honor initiated by a peer and chosen by the school.
“I thought that was really awesome because it was a lot of validation that what you’re doing is making a difference,” she said.
As a resident psychiatrist at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, Emmert will practice adult and child psychiatry, but hopes to continue learning.
“There are other things that interest me inside that realm,” she said. “There are some things I still want to explore a little more, for example eating disorders. Also substance abuse is something I’m kind of drawn to, so I’d like to see that a little more.”
Emmert envisions a future working primarily with children, with dreams of having a kid’s clinic some day.
“I’d love to be in a smaller clinic with me as a psychiatrist,” she said. “There’s a lot of therapy that psychologists are good at, so I’d love to have a child psychologist, and then maybe work with a pediatrician, as well.”
She hopes to fast tract through the psychiatry program at Creighton and finish in five years, then return to Oregon.
“I think in Oregon, in general, child psychiatry is very under represented; there’s such shortages,” she said.

JONATHAN SHADER stands with Dr. Daniel Wilson (left), president COMP-Northwest, and Dr. Paula Crone (right), dean.

Dr. Jonathan D. Shader
Jonathan Shader has a vision.
He wants to open his own ophthalmology practice and use it to help heal the eyes of people who live on the other side of the globe.
It’s a “buy one, give one” type of deal.
“If you get an eye surgery done here, we’re gonna give one away in Africa,” Shader explained.
Shader’s dream started during a church mission trip in Nigeria. He was an accountant at the time, but had always been fascinated with the eye and procedures that could be done to restore vision, he said.
While in Nigeria, he saw someone with a mature cataract, and that was the moment he realized his “calling,” he said.
“It was truly a kind of revelation for me that that was the capacity I wanted to use to help people, to help restore vision,” Shader said.
Shader first moved to Lebanon when he was 8 years old, but when he was 14 his family moved to Albany, where he graduated high school. He was working in California when his wife finished her degree and the two learned a medical school was about to be built in Lebanon.
“When I saw them build this school, I thought we might be able to pull this off with the help and support of the community I grew up in,” Shader said. “I think that’s what pushed me over the edge to really pursue it.”
The couple started having children the year he entered COMP-Northwest, and Shader admitted it’s been challenging, but praised his “amazing” wife because much of the parenting had fallen on her, he said.
“The support of family and community is really how we were able to do it.” he said. “It’s been with a lot of grace and help and support; we’re very thankful to a lot of people.”
When asked about his classes, Shader didn’t hesitate to explain his favorite one.
“Undoubtedly, it was the neuroscience system,” he said. “The neuroscience system brought medicine and the human body and how everything works; it brought it all to life to me, and how things go wrong and how we treat them with pharmacology.”
The course also included ophthalmology lectures. Shader’s face lit up as he recounted how the brain and eyes communicate to make sense of what one is seeing. But the neuro course was also the hardest, he noted.
“The neuro system is the king of the systems, of the basic medical sciences,” he said. “Dr. Brownell would say it’s the last frontier.”
He was also certain about which class was his least favorite: obstetrics and gynecology.
“I think it’s because I was kind of traumatized by the birth of my daughter. I just don’t like seeing my wife go through so much pain,” he said. “The other thing is women are really complicated, and women’s health is really complicated.”
Of his favorite and least favorite courses, both sciences still have a lot of room to grow in understanding, Shader noted. There’s still a lot to learn.
“Neuro system we’re still figuring out, and women’s health we’re definitely still figuring out.”
The Shaders will spend a transitional year of medical practice in Visalia, Calif. before heading to Augusta, Ga. to complete his residency.
“It’s a journey, for sure, but I’m just so thankful to be a part of it.”

SHANETTE BRUCE OWEN (right) enters the stage to receive her diploma.

Dr. Shanette J. Bruce Owen
Family medicine
When Shanette Owen returned to Lebanon for her graduation ceremony, she was surprised by several changes in the town since she moved to Silverton for rotations two years ago.
She recalled the car lot that used to sit where the new Starbucks was built, and remembered how high school kids would hang out in the empty lot where Jack in the Box now is.
Owen first moved to Lebanon in 2009 when she and her husband accepted a co-pastorship at the Lebanon Free Methodist church (now Ignite Hope church). Though both are ordained pastors, Owen wanted to also pursue a medical degree.
It just so happened that COMP-Northwest was about to be built in her new town and she didn’t know it.
“The summer we moved to Lebanon is the summer they broke ground on the school,” she said. “It was very serendipitous.”
When she started medical school, Owen was sure she wanted to do emergency medicine, Owen said.
“I thought, ‘That’s exactly what I want to do; the one thing I won’t do is family medicine,’” she said.
Owen traveled a lot for many of her rotations. She spent time in her hometown, Bakersfield, Calif., and time in her husband’s hometown, Silverton. She saw prisoners and psych patients in California, and experienced trauma surgery in Tacoma, Wash.
“The day I started up there was the day of the train derailment,” Owen said. “Within an hour of my first day, we had close to a dozen of the injured passengers.”
As she gained experience in the different fields, Owen realized emergency medicine wasn’t what she expected. Although she enjoyed practicing it during rotations, she was dissatisfied with the fact there’s no follow-up with the patient.
“I realized that family medicine didn’t just have to be about yearly vaccinations or wiping someone’s nose when they were sick,” she said.
In family medicine, Owen said, she could do a range of services, such as laceration repairs, births, mole removal, vasectomies, and visiting patients in nursing homes.
“And you actually get to know your patients, and the follow-through and the long-term relationship was what I really like,” she said.
Her husband was the first to notice she would be happier in family medicine because of its relational value, she said.
“One thing he noticed at the church was I somehow gather all the older people.”
He told her she’s always surrounded by very senior people with whom she can build an instant rapport, she said. And when she goes home excited about her day, it’s always because she worked with older patients, even the “crotchety” ones.
“They’re just crotchety because no one listens to them; there’s usually a reason,” she said. “A lot of them have real issues and a lot of times they just want someone to validate and give them dignity.”
Of all the courses she took at COMP-Northwest, cardiology was her favorite.
“Studying the heart is amazing. It’s fascinating what the heart can do and how it works.”
Her fondest memory of COMP-Northwest resides with the donor patients from anatomy class. When the course is complete, the school holds a donor patient memorial.
“We invite the families of the donors to a memorial, and we light candles for each one of them,” Owen explained.
She was moved by the amount of respect given to the donors and their families, she said.
“We wouldn’t be where we are without the donor patients because there’s no other way to learn human anatomy. That’s just the best way to do it, to actually have a donor patient to learn on. That’s a huge gift to give students.”
Owen will complete her residency at Sollus Northwest Family Medicine in Grandview, Wash.