NMSU Campus
New Mexico State University and Los Alamos National Laboratory have signed a new institutional agreement to support joint appointments. | NMSU photo by Derek Flodmand

Medical students reflect on NMSU’s pathway program to Burrell College

Allison Nanez went straight into medical school after graduating from New Mexico State University last spring – and she didn’t have to venture far from her Aggie stomping grounds.

Author: Carlos Andres Lopez

Nanez, an Albuquerque native, is finishing her first year at Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine, a private medical school housed 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 toward becoming a doctor of osteopathic medicine.

Nanez is one of four students who have matriculated into Burrell through OMPP since 2015.

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

OMPP offers a unique opportunity to selected NMSU students who are committed to serving their community’s health care needs. Students admitted into the program engage with the health care community in southern New Mexico and learn directly from health care professionals through seminars, research opportunities and internship positions, while working on an undergraduate degree of their choice.

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

“As I pursued my interest in kinesiology,” she said, “I learned kinesiology and osteopathic medicine are pretty closely related in their ideas. I think that really helped reinforce my desire to become an osteopathic physician.”

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

Hollis, who is also wrapping up his first year at Burrell, said the biggest draw to OMPP was its connection to Burrell – the only osteopathic medical school in New Mexico.

“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 problems and needs in New Mexico.”

Hollis said his time at NMSU helped prepare him for the demands of medical school. He was particularly fond of his chemistry and biology professors and his job working as a campus tutor – an experience that allowed him to “hone my own skills and learn things better by teaching other people.”

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


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