As new students arrive, impact of medical school continues to grow

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine is welcoming the class of 2021.

Monday morning, the new students posed for photographs on the steps of the school.

It's a select group. The school received more than 4,400 applications for 42 slots.

This year for the first time, there are more women in the class than men.

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They're new to Roanoke, and ready to get to work.

And the excitement shows on the faces of the medical school's newest students.

David Shahmanyan is medical student from California.

"I'm on the moon," he told us. "I'm so excited. I'm feeling like my whole life has been leading to this moment. I've known since I was a kid that I wanted to be a doctor and I feel like now I get to finally live my dream."

Classmate Tien Nguyen is from northern Virginia, and is now getting to know the Roanoke Valley.

"I just fell in love with the mountains on the drive here, and I'm excited to see what the city has to offer."

The success of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine can be measured in many ways, says founding Dean Cynda Johnson. In the school's outreach to the community, for example.

"Our students are very active in the community. they work at Bradley Free Clinic," Johnson said. "They even have their own night VTCSOM night when the patients are all seen by our students, supervised by our faculty. They tutor. Really the list goes on and on."

And since the medical school was established, the number of physicians at Carilion Clinic has grown from about 460 to 680.

Nick Conte is Senior Vice President with Carilion Clinic.

"Looking back, it serves as the cornerstone perhaps for an ecosystem around research and education and technology in the health sciences," Conte said. "And that's a really huge advance for us as a region, I think, and something that will pay dividends, in my view, for decades."

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