First-of-its-kind medical school in Cherokee Nation graduates inaugural class of doctors

May 29, 2024


Growing up, Mackenzee Thompson always wanted a deeper connection with her tribe and culture.

The 26-year-old member of the Choctaw Nation said she grew up outside of her tribe’s reservation and wasn’t sure what her place within the Indigenous community would be.

Through a first-of-its-kind program, Thompson said she’s now figured out how she can best serve her people — as a doctor.

Thompson is graduating as part of the inaugural class from Oklahoma State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation. It’s the first physician training program on a Native American reservation and in affiliation with a tribal government, according to school and tribal officials.

“I couldn’t even have dreamed this up,” she said. “To be able to serve my people and learn more about my culture is so exciting. I have learned so much already.”

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