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Beyond the Requirements

The MISSION of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) is to prepare globally-minded, community-focused physicians to meet the needs of rural and medically underserved populations and promote research to improve human health. To meet this mission, VCOM actively recruits students most likely to meet our mission and aligned with our values.

The personal statement, physician shadowing experience, work experience, volunteer service in underserved regions, and/or community involvement are all valued by VCOM and applicants should identify areas in which they are a good match with the mission and objectives of VCOM.


VCOM focuses on preparing osteopathic physicians to serve in the rural and medically underserved areas of Southern Appalachia, including but not limited to Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, and the surrounding southern states.

Altruism, Compassion, and Commitment to Patient Care

The applicant’s ability to demonstrate a history of compassion, empathy, altruistic work, dedication, and interest in patient care through prior work and volunteer activities. This can be achieved through volunteering at free medical clinics, participating in local outreach activities, or through involvement in regional or overseas medical mission work. This embodies some of the unique qualities of a VCOM student. Maintaining the mind, body, and spirit awareness throughout your interactions is vital to comprehensive patient care and the VCOM community.


Navigating the rigors of medical school is often a test of mental and physical stamina. Candidates should be able to describe an occasion when they were tested in such a way, how they managed to endure such a challenge, and how they adapted in order to meet future demands.

Rural or Primary Care Medicine

A major focus within VCOM’s mission is to assist the rural and medically underserved populations in the Appalachian Region. An applicant’s commitment to serving the underserved will help to better align with the goals of VCOM. In addition, VCOM hopes to recruit and graduate students who will address health care disparities in these areas through primary care practices.


Physicians are scientists. As a medical student, having the opportunity to assist faculty in a research setting provides skills that can better prepare you to lead during residency and in clinical practice.
One part of the VCOM mission is to promote research that will improve human health. Once you have adapted to the challenges of the curriculum during the first year of medical school and are able to manage your time well, consider reaching out to faculty members to find out about available research experience. You may also become more informed about faculty research projects and other research endeavors on the VCOM website. After choosing an area of interest, you should contact a faculty mentor in that field to discover opportunities for participation in research efforts.  Successful students often work in teams, and devote at least eight (8) to ten (10) hours per week to research tasks.
The goal for medical students participating in faculty research is to represent VCOM at local and national meetings, and to publish work in peer-reviewed journals by the end of the fourth year. Participation in research is a challenging and rewarding part of medical school that makes VCOM students better scientists and, ultimately, excellent physicians.