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‘Rural areas are very special to me’: WCU president discusses school’s No. 1 ranking

William Carey
Photo courtesy of William Carey University

William Carey University’s (WCU) College of Osteopathic Medicine recently received a No. 1 nationwide ranking for producing the highest percentage of graduates serving in rural areas from U.S. News & World Report.

Despite the program being relatively new as it has only graduated 10 total classes, WCU President Dr. Ben Burnett says he is grateful for both the national recognition and also the opportunity for new medical providers to operate in underserved areas.

“I’m a native Mississippian. I was born in the Delta. I grew up all of my life mostly in Hattiesburg. Rural areas are very special to me,” Burnett said on MidDays With Gerard Gibert. “To know that we are placing doctors in rural areas, which is our mission, means a lot.”

William Carey’s College of Osteopathic Medicine also ranked No. 6 in the nation for the highest percentage of graduates practicing in health professional shortage areas and No. 8 in the nation for the highest percentage of graduates practicing in primary care.

Burnett largely attributes the success to Dr. Italo Subbarao, who serves as the college’s Dean.

Subbarao first came to Mississippi as an emergency response doctor during the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He later went on to leave a prestigious position in Chicago to return to the Magnolia State and fulfill WCU’s mission for its osteopathic medicine program.

“He does a great job,” Burnett said of Subbarao. “His passion for the state is very sincere. His love for the state and what he is doing is just incredible.”

Burnett estimates that the College of Osteopathic Medicine will graduate a school record of 200 doctors within the next three years.

Watch the full interview with Dr. Burnett below.

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