First Class of Doctors

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SCRANTON -- Fifty-seven medical students at The Commonwealth Medical College will receive their Doctor of Medicine degrees Saturday.

They celebrated with a reception at the college in Scranton Friday evening.

This is the first class of doctors to graduate from TCMC.

They will be graduating at a time of national and regional doctor shortages, one that some are calling a crisis.

School leaders said they know the future doctors will make a big difference.

"The concept was to build a medical college so the physicians from here would stay here to practice so we're now seeing that realized. In addition, the hospitals in the region tell us that because we have a medical school here, it's easier to recruit physicians because they get to be on a medical school faculty and teach students," said Dr. Steven Scheinman, the dean and president of the college.

More than a dozen of the group of soon-to-be graduates of The Commonwealth Medical College are locals, from Northeastern Pennsylvania.

While some are headed to other states to complete their residency medical training, many say they plan to come home to practice medicine.

"To be part of something in Scranton has been awesome for the last four years, the community has been incredibly supportive, so it has just been great," said Melissa Rader of Scranton, who will go to New Jersey for her residency in pediatrics.

"If people don't come back, they're not going to have doctors and that's a really scary thing," said Meg Mathewson of Dallas, who will also be a pediatrician. She vowed to return to the area to practice.

Lawmakers and school leaders said the medical college was created to make things better in the region by keeping by talented locals and bringing in professionals from outside the area.

"Not only do I think it helps bring people here for education, eventually in the long run going to bring a lot of people here to stay for their professions and not only that, but as the university grows, I mean I see more researchers coming in, you know just more people coming for the job opportunities," said Charlie Karcutskie, who will be doing his residency as a surgeon in Miami, Florida.