Laica Arcibal enters first year of residency at SIU
She will be the first to concede that becoming a physician is both a privilege and a responsibility. And for Laica Arcibal ’19, attending medical school meant being one step closer to achieving her lifelong dream of becoming a practicing physician. Now in her first-year residency at the Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Medicine in Quincy, Ill., the Waianae native earned her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) at A.T. Still University’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM) in the spring.
“Chaminade provided the foundation to my medical career,” Arcibal said. “I am especially thankful to OHPAUR (Office of Health Professions Advising and Undergraduate Research, now known as the Undergraduate Research and Pre-Professional Programs) for the opportunity to widen my exposure to different healthcare careers.”
Despite an interest in research when she was in high school and during her first two years at Chaminade, Arcibal decided to pursue a medical degree instead. After shadowing a doctor of osteopathic medicine at Wai‘anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, she witnessed how osteopathic manipulation treatment could alleviate people’s pain almost immediately.
“I shadowed a DO who was able to provide some relief to a patient with a persistent cough, and saw how appreciative the patient was,” Arcibal recalled. “That was when I told myself, ‘I want to be a DO.’”
Thanks to an articulation agreement that Chaminade enjoys with A.T. Still University, Arcibal was allowed early admission to the Kirksville College of Osteopathic, her school of preference since, she said, it felt just like Chaminade.
“I knew medical school would be grueling, so I wanted a place to safely challenge myself, and ATSU-KCOM reminded me of my experience in Chaminade,” Arcibal said. “I also like the fact that ATSU focuses on whole person healthcare, scholarship, community health, interprofessional education, diversity and underserved populations, which Waianae is.”
At its essence, an Articulation Agreement document is between two colleges or universities, and lays out a transfer plan between two program offerings. Depending on the program and degree, students can set an early course to advanced studies as an undergraduate—establishing a strong academic record and completing prerequisites while at Chaminade. The agreement helps the student by ensuring all completed classes (credits) transfer and shows a clear pathway for continued advancement.
“Laica was one of my students from when I worked at Waianae High School as a pre-college advisor,” said Amber Noguchi, Ph.D., Chaminade’s Program Director with the Undergraduate Research & Pre-Professional Programs. “I first met her when she was a high school sophomore so it has been really great seeing her progress throughout this past decade.”
Arcibal decided to become a DO because she believes that DOs bring a unique, patient-centered approach to every specialty across the full spectrum of medicine. She also appreciates the University’s curriculum, which aligns with the Marianist values she learned while at Chaminade.
The Complete Doctor, a hallmark of the KCOM curriculum, incorporates early clinical experiences with didactic study in physical exam skills, communication skills, social determinants of health, spirituality in medicine, medical jurisprudence and ethics. Reflecting the osteopathic philosophy, the curriculum also emphasizes preventive medicine and holistic patient care.
“DOs bring a whole-person approach to care by focusing on looking beyond patients’ symptoms to understand how lifestyle and environmental factors impact their wellbeing,” said Arcibal, citing the Kirksville College of Osteopathic’s program description. “The osteopathic philosophy of medicine sees an inter-related unity in all systems of the body, with each working with the other to heal in times of illness.
“As part of their education, DOs receive special training in the musculoskeletal system, your body’s interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones,” Arcibal further cited. “By combining this knowledge with the latest advances in medical technology, they offer patients the most comprehensive care available today.”
As a SIU School of Medicine Post-Graduate Year 1 (PGY1) resident, Arcibal has many years before she completes her residency training, qualifies to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE board exam), and then becomes a fully credentialed doctor.
When she does graduate to Dr. Arcibal—and no longer a doctor-in-training after finishing medical school—she plans to return to Waianae to serve her community.
“I would not have gotten this far without my supportive family, friends and mentors, who for some, I met way back in high school,” Arcibal said. “It is only right that I come back and serve the very people who motivated me to get this far.”