New medical students get video welcome

Western University of Health Sciences welcomed more than 340 new osteopathic medical students to its Pomona, Calif. and Lebanon campuses Aug. 7.
The Zoom White Coat ceremony opened with a video featuring College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific and COMP-Northwest students and alumni giving advice to new students and welcoming them to the WesternU family.
COMP alumnus and COMP-Northwest Assistant Professor Rob Richardson, DO ’86, serves as the medical director of the Edward C. Allworth Oregon Veterans’ Home in Lebanon. In his keynote address, he told the Class of 2024 students that entering medical school is more than achieving a goal, it is accepting a responsibility.
Richardson’s life took a major turn on March 11, 2020, when the veterans’ home received positive COVID-19 swabs back on two of the 151 veterans or their spouses. Within four weeks, the home had 21 confirmed cases. The medical director was exposed to and then came down with COVID-19, so Richardson inherited the primary management of COVID-19 at the facility.
“Needless to say, there were no textbook guidelines to follow. Using basics taught to me by Dr. Alice Oglesby in microbiology at COMP, we took steps to protect the staff and limit transmission between residents,” Richardson said. “I sent my COMP-Northwest students scurrying into the literature about preliminary reports on this drug, hydroxychloroquine, and any other potential treatments.
Richardson successfully used hydroxychloroquine in four of the veterans’ home’s initial patients, while avoiding its use in the most severe heart patients.
Subsequent use did not achieve as many positive outcomes, but they never saw cardiac complications, Richardson said.