Medical students reflect on NMSU pathway program to Burrell College


LAS CRUCES — Allison Nanez went straight to medical school after graduating from New Mexico State University last spring — and she didn’t have to venture far from her home turf. Aggie game.

Nanez, an Albuquerque native, is completing his freshman year at Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine, a private medical school located on NMSU’s Las Cruces campus.

Nanez forged her path to Burrell with an interest in kinesiology – and through NMSU’s Osteopathic Medicine pathway program. OMPP provides a pathway for students like Nanez to attend Burrell and work towards becoming a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.

Nanez is one of four students who have enrolled at Burrell through OMPP since 2015.

“I feel like it was a great opportunity – and a pretty rare one,” Nanez said of the program. “A lot of students don’t have the opportunity to be part of a program like this.”

OMPP provides a unique opportunity for select NMSU students who are committed to serving the health needs of their community. Students admitted to the program engage with the healthcare community in southern New Mexico and learn directly from healthcare professionals through seminars, research and internship opportunities, while working on a undergraduate degree of their choice.

Nanez said she applied to OMPP after visiting NMSU’s Las Cruces campus during her senior year in high school. She was part of the 2017 cohort of the program and completed all the requirements in May 2021. At that time, she also obtained a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. That summer, she started the osteopathic medicine program at Burrell.

“In pursuing my interest in kinesiology,” she said, “I learned that kinesiology and osteopathic medicine are pretty closely related in their ideas. I think that really strengthened my desire to become an osteopathic doctor. .

Jacob Hollis, a first-year medical student at Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine, is one of four former New Mexico State University students who have enrolled at Burrell through the Osteopathic Medicine Pathway program since 2015.

Like Nanez, Jacob Hollis is among the group of OMPP graduates currently studying osteopathic medicine at Burrell. Hollis, a Los Alamos native, joined OMPP in 2017, graduated from the program in May 2021, and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology.

Hollis, who is also completing her freshman year at Burrell, said the biggest draw to OMPP was its connection to Burrell — New Mexico’s only school of osteopathic medicine.

“I liked the philosophy behind osteopathic medicine, which is more of a holistic view of the patient as a human being,” Hollis said, adding, “I’m a big fan of serving New Mexico, and I’m a big fan of recognizing some of the medical issues and needs in New Mexico.

Hollis said his time at NMSU helped prepare him for the demands of medical school. He particularly enjoyed his chemistry and biology teachers and his work as a tutor on campus – an experience that allowed him to “hone my own skills and learn things better by teaching others”.

OMPP also gave Hollis the freedom to focus on aspects of life outside of school, he said.

“OMPP delivered on its promise to make it happen so that I didn’t have to worry so much about whether I was going to get into medical school,” he said. “I knew where I was going. So I could focus on improving myself, my character, and volunteering. I could do what I thought would make me a better doctor rather than having to run the frantic race of pre-meds to get in somewhere.

OMPP recently made a major change to its recruitment process. Starting this year, the program stopped accepting incoming freshmen and began admitting students who are in their second semester at NMSU, said OMPP program director Victoria Bañuelos.

“Five cohorts have already passed, and we’ve noticed that there’s some attrition that happens in the first year,” Bañuelos said. “This is when you can tell if a student will be able to maintain a rigorous schedule and handle any non-academic demands, such as being active in student organizations, doing community service, and working on experiments. observational potential.

While at OMPP, students must complete all NMSU undergraduate courses required for admission to Burrell with a grade of B or higher. Students must also earn a minimum of 15 credits per semester and maintain an overall average of 3.5 or higher in all college courses to remain eligible and participate in all official activities associated with the program.

Bañuelos said other key program requirements have not changed. All eligible applicants must have an SAT score of 1200 or higher or an ACT composite score of 25 or higher and an unweighted high school GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Bañuelos said a maximum of 20 students are admitted to the program each fall. The application period for fall 2022 has ended, but applications are being accepted for fall 2023.

Kori Gandara, a second-year medical student at Burrell, was part of OMPP’s second cohort.

Kori Gandara, a second-year medical student at Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine, was part of the second cohort of the Osteopathic Medicine Pathway program at New Mexico State University.

Gandara said Burrell’s osteopathic program is much more demanding than her undergraduate studies at NMSU. But her, the education she received at NMSU, coupled with Burrell’s sense of community, helped ease the transition.

“It’s the same feeling I had at NMSU,” she said. “Everyone is ready to help each other, everyone is really nice and the students are not that competitive. Everyone wants to help each other succeed, and I really liked that.

Gandara said she recommends OMPP to other students interested in medical school.

“It’s a great opportunity to have a path charted for you,” she said. “If you decide you don’t want to go to medical school after all, you’ve still built all these connections and made all these friendships with people.”

For more information about the program, visit

Carlos Andres López writes for New Mexico State University Marketing and Communications and can be reached at 575-646-1955 or by email at [email protected]

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