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FSU Welcomes College of Medicine's Charter Class

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By Jill Elish
May 2001

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-The charter class of Florida State University College of Medicine arrived on campus May 7 to begin classes at the nation's first new allopathic medical school in more than 20 years.

Before attending their first class in gross anatomy, the 30 students attended orientation sessions and met with Dr. Joseph Scherger, who will begin his duties as dean of the new college in July. He currently is the associate dean for primary care and professor and chair of the department of family medicine at the University of California, Irvine, College of Medicine.

"The mission of the FSU College of Medicine to produce physicians for underserved communities, emphasizing primary care, geriatrics and a diverse group of students is what excites me most," Scherger said after meeting the students for the first time.

The College of Medicine was established by the Florida Legislature in May 2000 to train primary care physicians to provide health care for medically underserved populations in rural and inner city areas and to specifically address the needs of the growing geriatric population in the state and nation.

Fifty percent of the students in the new class are over age 22, 43 percent (13) are women and 10 percent (3) are married. Studies show that women, married and older medical students are more likely to choose primary care, according to Acting Dean Myra Hurt. Ninety percent of the students in the class indicated they are interested in primary care or general practice medicine, she said.

The class will graduate in 2005. Eventually, the college will graduate about 120 students each year.

The members of the first class, all from Florida, are:
BIG BEND AREA - Natosha Canty, Havana; Garrett Chumney, Apalachicola; Joda Lynn, Perry; Neil Rodgers, Quincy; and Laura Dacks, Jason Farrah, Julie Gladden, Adam Ouimet, Kim Ruscher-Rogers and Christie Sain, all of Tallahassee.
NORTHWEST - Amanda Davis, Wewahitchka; and Mark Bochey and Luc Thuan of Pensacola.
NORTHEAST - Kerry Bachista, Ponte Vedra Beach; Ajay Mhatre, Lake City; Victor Gonzalez and Kevin Raville, both of Gainesville; and Michael Hernandez, Karen Miles and Shayla Smith, all of Jacksonville.
CENTRAL - Robert Allison, Tampa; Nariman Heshmati, Indian Harbour Beach; Alex Ho, Lake Mary; Javier Miller, Oviedo; and Jason Rocha, Temple Terrace.
SOUTH - David Bojan, Hallandale; Lorna Fedelem, Naples; Sarah Fein, Boca Raton; Fawn Grigsby, Clewiston; and Sachin Parikh, Miami.