Student Spotlight

Valerie Martin, OMS I

Class of 2021

  • Hometown: Plymouth, UT
  • Undergraduate Studies: Biology with a minor in Chemistry (University of Utah)
  • Clubs and Activities:

Why did you choose RVU? I was raised on a farm in a small town where we had limited access to healthcare. RVUCOM places great emphasis...
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Faculty Spotlight

Jacquelyn Waller, PharmD, BCPS

Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, Director of Faculty Development

  • Hometown: Craig, CO
  • Graduate Studies: Doctor of Pharmacy (University of Montana); Postgraduate Pharmacy Residency (Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children's Hospital)

What class do you teach? Pharmacology in both the College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) and Master of Science in...
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Christopher Unrein, DO, FACOI, FACP, CMD

Professor of Internal Medicine, Chief Academic Officer of Rocky Mountain OPTI, Medical Director of Rocky Vista Health Center

What class do you teach?
I teach some cardiovascular disease and EKG interpretations, hepatitis and infectious diarrhea, genitourinary infections, ethics and end-of-life issues, hospice and palliative medicine, and geriatrics

Why did you choose to teach at RVUCOM?
I have been involved in the medical education of residents and medical students since 1996 through the University of Colorado School of Medicine; when Rocky Vista came into being, as an osteopathic physician, I wanted to avail myself of the opportunity. I liked it so much, RVU eventually became my full-time employment.

What do you like most about teaching at RVUCOM?
I like our sense of community; everyone is friendly, has an open-door policy, and is willing to help each other.

What was your favorite teaching moment?
I missed the last step on the stairs of the lecture hall while teaching some students from the Class of 2016.  The audio recording of the incident has a collective gasp of the entire class. I’m healed now, but at the time, it was quite surprising.

What was the most challenging question you have had to answer?
How do you tell someone that they are near death?

What advice do you have for first-year students?
Be prepared to work hard; a medical education will not be handed to you, you have to earn it. But realize that all that hard work will eventually pay off. There is something to be said for delayed gratification.

What advice do you have for prospective students?
Don’t memorize and regurgitate what is on the AOA website. Instead, understand what osteopathic physicians are by working/shadowing them and hearing their perspectives.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in medicine?
My father owned Ambulance Service Company in the Denver area from 1948-1992. I was an EMT and the supply and purchasing manager through much of high school and college, but I started as a janitor. During a year off between high school graduation and college, I realized I missed learning and desired a challenging career. With my exposure at the ambulance company, medicine felt like a natural fit.

Do you participate in any RVU clubs or organizations?
I am the advisor for the Colorado Medical Society club on campus. As a past president of the Colorado Medical Society, I felt it is important to have this organization’s presence on campus. I volunteer with various clubs for the free health fairs throughout the community.

What projects and/or research are you currently working on (or plan to work on in the future)?
I am the RVU site principal investigator for a multi-center nationwide trial through the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute called the Cardiovascular Inflammation Reduction Trial (CIRT).

Outside of RVU, do you participate in any organization?
I am a member of the Colorado Medical Society and serve as the vice chair of their political action committee.  I serve on CMS’s Council on Legislation and several other committees. I serve on the Colorado Chapter of the American College of Physicians Governor’s political advisory council and I am the public policy chair for the Colorado Society of Osteopathic Medicine.

What do you do in your spare time?
I am a political junkie, involved in health policy issues locally and at the national level.  I also like to SCUBA dive; I have been a certified diver since I was 13 years old.