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2020 Residency Graduate Counted Among Campbell’s First Class of Osteopathic Physicians

Angela Riccio, DO, plans to support rural communities with her move to a Western N.C. practice.

Greensboro AHEC, part of the NC AHEC Program, has been training the next generation of physicians in our community-based residency programs since 1974.

Angela Riccio, DO, Cone Health Family Medicine Residency Graduate, Class of 2020

Angela Riccio, DO, Cone Health Family Medicine Residency Graduate, Class of 2020

“It was my time at Campbell that made me fall in love with North Carolina and want to stay. Campbell appealed to me because it was in a rural N.C. area, and I aligned with their goal of producing physicians dedicated to primary care.”
—Angela Riccio, DO

GREENSBORO — On June 19, 2020, Greensboro Area Health Education Center (Greensboro AHEC), in collaboration with Cone Health, celebrated commencement for 19 residency and fellowship graduates, as they marked the completion of their programs with a virtual graduation ceremony. This year’s ceremony was limited in scope due to COVID-19, but the graduates were recognized for more notable reasons.

Among them is Family Medicine resident Angela Riccio, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), who earned her medical degree as a member of the inaugural class of Campbell University’s Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine (CUSOM) in 2017.

“We could not be more proud of our inaugural class,” says Jim Powers, DO, Interim Dean of CUSOM. “We congratulate them and thank them for choosing to be founders with Campbell University.”

Campbell’s medical school is North Carolina’s first to offer a degree in Osteopathic Medicine, a holistic medical field that combines the needs of the patient, current practice of medicine, and interconnectivity of the body’s ability to heal itself.

“I often get asked, ‘What is a DO?,’ usually in the hospital elevator,” says Dr. Riccio. “We’re the same as regular doctors, but we focus on preventing health problems by treating different areas of the body with Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) to help reduce pain and restore function. I think it has a bright future. Cone Health employs many DOs, and I never feel singled out or disadvantaged. And the philosophy of osteopathic medicine naturally produces more primary care doctors, which, hopefully, will lessen the need over time.”

After graduation, Dr. Riccio looks forward to the next step in her career: moving with her husband to support a family medical practice in Franklin, a western N.C. community with a rural population that could benefit from her type of care.

“It was my time at Campbell that made me fall in love with North Carolina and want to stay,” says Dr. Riccio. “Campbell appealed to me because it was in a rural N.C. area, and I aligned with their goal of producing physicians dedicated to primary care.”

“Angela is an example of our mission fulfilled,” says Dr. Powers. “She came to North Carolina for medical school and spent her first two years in Buies Creek and her clinical rotation years at Cape Fear Valley Health in Fayetteville. We were proud to have her among our inaugural alumni to enter a residency program in primary care in North Carolina, and now we celebrate with her as she goes into the practice of Family Medicine in Franklin.”

“I hope to bring up-to-date care to patients there,” says Dr. Riccio, “Western N.C. seems to have a higher than average need for providers. It will be challenging to learn what resources the community has and how to navigate those resources to provide the best care.”

While Dr. Riccio is excited to finish her residency, her graduation won’t mean the end of her medical education. She is currently interested in learning more about telemedicine, which she says has gotten “a big push” from the COVID-19 pandemic and could help increase healthcare access to patients in rural areas, an issue she knows about.

“My hometown of Blairstown, N.J., had about 5,000 people, and the closest hospitals were 25 minutes away,” says Dr. Riccio. “It made emergency room needs difficult. But it was a great place to grow up, and it was a huge driving factor for me to want to live and practice in a rural setting. In Franklin, I hope to be able to minimize referring patients to specialists that may be overwhelmed by volume or difficult for patients to get to.”

As for her long-term future as a doctor, Dr. Riccio says she will never stop learning.

“This job requires lifelong learning to stay on top of new recommendations,” says Dr. Riccio. “I try to reflect each day to learn from or consider how I could do things better next time. My goals are to continue bettering myself as a doctor.”

And while she says she learned countless lessons from her patients and mentors during her residency, she credits her fellow residency graduates with lending her the most support.

“Intern year was notoriously difficult, and having others to lean on who were going through the same thing was most helpful for me,” says Dr. Riccio. “It’s been a long, hard road, but looking back now on our three years together, I can see how much we’ve all grown professionally. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished.”

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The 2020 class of residents held their virtual graduation ceremony on Friday, June 19, 2020. Want to show your pride for your graduate? You can congratulate the graduating class by posting to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn – just include the hashtag #GreensboroAHECGrads with your message and tag us at @GreensboroAHEC.

Are you a healthcare professional or student pursuing a career in health? What does improving healthcare access in rural communities mean to you? Let us know by posting your message to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn using the hashtag #RuralHealthcareMatters and tag us @GreensboroAHEC. Thank you for reading, and thank you for supporting Greensboro AHEC!

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