ALEXANDRIA, La., (WNTZ) – This month, Rapides Regional Medical Center welcomed 17 students from the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

RRMC will provide these third-year medical students the opportunity to rotate with specific specialty members of the medical staff as part of their learning experience.

VCOM is a private, 501(c)(3) non-profit osteopathic medical school in Blacksburg, Virginia (VCOM-Virginia) with campuses in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Auburn, Alabama and Monroe, Louisiana. The college was founded in 2001 and its mission is to alleviate the critical shortage of physicians in Appalachia and the Delta Region by training medical students to become patient-centered physicians who focus on evidence-based medicine.

“This is a chance for us to potentially bring additional primary care providers into our community,” said Sherrie Somers, D.O., Rapides Regional Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officer. “As a teaching hospital, we welcome the opportunity to help train the next generation of medical professionals.”

More than 60 percent of VCOM graduates practice in a rural or medically underserved area. Rapides Regional Medical Center is also home to LSU Health Shreveport Family Medicine Residency, LSU Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Clinic, Tulane Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinic, Tulane Ophthalmology Clinic, Tulane General Surgery Residency and Northwestern State Nurse Anesthesia Program.