The first graduating class is expected to complete their medical education at the new facility in May 2024. The accredited medical school campus is located on the W.W. Hastings campus in Tahlequah, and is the first Tribally-affiliated medical school on Native land in the United States. (OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation)
The inaugural class of 54 doctors-in-training were welcomed Friday to commence their medical education at the first Tribally-affiliated medical school in the country. Their education will initially take place both virtually and socially distanced in-person.
Cherokee Nation and Oklahoma State University (OSU) Center for Health Sciences partnered in 2018 to create the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation. Ground was broken in May 2019, and today the facility features state-of-the-art classrooms, lecture halls and cutting-edge technology such as computer-programmable manikins and medical simulation.
The College’s first class of students received their white coats Friday indicative of the start of their medical career. The ceremony marked a monumental moment for not only Cherokee Nation, but for all of Indian Country.
Native Americans account for a mere 0.2 percent of medical students nationwide. The school on Tribal land will produce more physicians who are Tribal citizens and who will positively impact rural northeastern Oklahoma with their medical service.
“This is the real culmination of over a decade of relationship development between the Cherokee Nation and Oklahoma State University,” said William Pettit, the campus’ new dean. “The mission has been to create and train primary care physicians to take care of rural and underserved Oklahoma,” he added.