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Advancing Progress and Possibilities for a Healthier Future

Ten Years. Tremendous Talent.

Ochsner Chief Academic Officer Dr. Leo Seoane reflects on the 10th Anniversary of the UQ-Ochsner Clinical School and its many accomplishments during its first decade.

Dr. Leo Seoane, Ochsner Chief Academic Officer.

Q Looking back to the founding of the UQ-Ochsner Clinical School, what motivated Ochsner to take this step, to create a medical school with
such a unique profile?

A: If you think back to a decade ago, New Orleans and the Gulf South were still rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina — and it was also a period of innovation and growth, especially for Ochsner. Ochsner has a history of embracing new ideas and growing through partnerships. With the creation of this program we developed a model unique in the world of medical education. It’s one that enables students to train across two continents, leveraging the strengths and resources of two world-class institutions to produce graduates who are critical scientific thinkers, socially accountable and driven to be global leaders in healthcare. Clinical preparation training is completed in Brisbane, Australia in years one and two, followed by hands-on clinical practice at the Ochsner Clinical School in Louisiana in years three and four.

Q Why the University of Queensland (UQ)
in Australia?

A: Simply put, it is one of the premier universities and top medical schools in the world, and it also is one of the premier medical research universities. Moreover, students from both continents have the opportunity to be exposed to two very different healthcare systems: Ochsner, an integrated group practice, and UQ, which teaches Australia’s public health system model based on primary care. The global perspective that Ochsner students gain is unique, and it very much positions them to be thought leaders as the U.S. healthcare landscape continues to evolve.

Q What are the benefits of this partnership
for Ochsner and our communities?

A: Foremost is the opportunity to play a meaningful role to address the shortage of physicians, and to train these students in a way that benefits our community. Over the past decade we’ve graduated more than 400 medical students, and approximately one-third of those graduates remained in Louisiana. In the 2019 National Residency Match Program, 29% of UQ Ochsner Clinical School graduates matched into residencies in the state of Louisiana. Of the 29% staying in Louisiana, 19% will train at Ochsner. That’s a significant infusion of talent that is much needed in our state’s healthcare system. Our students are twice as likely to pursue careers in primary medicine compared to other schools. Primary care is a critical need today, especially in our rural areas.

With the creation of this program we developed a model unique in the world of medical education.

— Dr. Leo Seoane

Q Thinking about research, what have been the
advantages of the UQ-Ochsner partnership?

A: Because of UQ’s research excellence, we recognized our students could conduct a great deal of translational research which integrates patient- and population-oriented research to improve the health of the public. And that has only expanded over time. Our structure allows students to start research projects in years one and two with some great basic science researchers in Australia, and then finish those projects in years three and four at Ochsner. We also offer an MD/PhD track for students.

Q The residency match process is highly competitive. How do UQ-Ochsner students measure up, and how do you help them achieve success?

A: Our 2019 class garnered an impressive 93% match rate through the National Residency Match Program, and each year we send students to residency programs at some of the nation’s most respected medical centers like Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago. To help our students secure the best opportunity to pursue their chosen career we provide them with mentoring, career advice and coaching, and support to ensure they have a competitive application and strong interviewing skills.

Q What characteristics distinguish
UQ-Ochsner Clinical School graduates?

A: In addition to our focus on primary care, we teach students that being a great physician is much more than scientific expertise. It’s found in the virtues each student brings to the practice of medicine. The empathy, compassion and being present with patients. And the courage, the sacrifices you have to make for your patients, the communication skills and the teamwork. In medicine today we care for patients as teams, and that ability to communicate and work within a team is really critical to becoming a great physician. 

UQ-Ochsner Clinical School Accepted Into the Gold Humanism Honor Society Network

The commitment to compassionate community involvement is integral to the culture of Ochsner Academics. In June 2019, the first UQ-Ochsner Clinical School students were formally inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society, (GHHS), an initiative of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. The UQ-Ochsner Clinical School is the first internationally accredited medical school to have its own GHHS member chapter. As members of GHHS, our medical students commit to help sustain a learning environment that is respectful, empathetic, understanding and caring. These values reflect Ochsner’s longstanding commitment to quality patient care as we educate the next generation of physicians committed to the human element in healthcare.