OHIO — Some medical students in Ohio will graduate early to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown has a significant number of students ready to enter the workforce this month.

In one week, more than 130 medical students at NEOMED will be graduating as physicians and 82 of them will remain in the Buckeye State..

  • 82 NEOMED students will stay in Ohio ready to help fight COVID-19
  • Some students will head to critical areas, such as New York State
  • A virtual commencement will be held for students graduating NEOMED on May 2, with Dr. Amy Acton as the keynote speaker

"As we think about potential workforce for the state of Ohio and in primary care, it's a significant percentage so we are sending out a workforce with this graduating class to really help with the pandemic," said Elisabeth Young, MD, dean of College of Medicine, Northeast Ohio Medical University.

NEOMED graduates won't be graduating earlier than required, but students can contact their residency programs to see if they're needed sooner than later. Some graduates are heading to critical areas, such as New York State, where COVID-19 cases top more than 200,000.

"Many were so anxious to think about how they could be impactful and help. We know that there have been physician shortages across the country, now more than ever we need a physical workforce that can meet only the basic needs of our nation and state, but also the needs under these circumstances," said Young.

Young says a virtual commencement will be held for students graduating on May 2. NEOMED graduate and Director of the Ohio Department of Health Dr. Amy Acton, is the keynote speaker.

Young says moving forward she thinks this pandemic will spark change in education for the state's medical field.

"I don't know that we've spent as much time thinking about population issues, We talk a lot about individual diseases and patients and I think this will be a time where there will be opportunities for enhancing the education of future physicians and ensuring they have the skills and preparedness to manage what i think will certainly come again in our lifetimes," said Young.