LSU Health Shreveport home to the future of medicine


SHREVEPORT, La. – A new group of medical professionals will start their careers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

LSU Health Shreveport’s School of Medicine graduated 124 students.

Dr. Jessica Johnson was one of those graduates.

“Bittersweet because graduation is intended to be the first time that you hear your name be announced as a doctor. My classmates and I will not have that experience.”

This week they received an electronic diploma.

“Graduation is a ceremony and it does not diminish our accomplishment in anyway.”

Their graduation comes two months earlier than scheduled because of the coronavirus. Due to some states expediting the graduates’ medical licenses many will join the fight against COVID-19 next month. Governor John Bel Edwards expressed his appreciation on Monday.

“Louisiana is gaining 124 new medical professionals today. 124 graduates from the LSU Health Science Center in Shreveport will be graduating early today. And so they are going to be able to help support the surge across Louisiana. Some of them will leave the state, but we’re especially proud of the majority of them who are going to be staying here.”

Dr. Raquel Candal is one of those graduates.

“Starting our residency during the COVID-19 pandemic is intimidating. I’m not going to lie, but our classmates and I have been rigorously prepared throughout our medical education at LSU Shreveport so I have no doubt we will be able to contribute greatly during this time.”

Dr. Candal has agreed to enter the work force as soon as she receives her medical license. She’s from south Louisiana, but will be starting her residency in Shreveport.

“In this time of uncertainty I’m just happy that I can help and give back to the community that has given me so much.”

Dr. Johnson will begin her residency in Texas in June starting what she too was called to do.

“This is what I went to school for. This is what I sacrificed a number of years to gather all the skills and knowledge that I have obtained for times such as these.”

Dr. Candal is likely going to start in the Emergency Room at LSU Health Shreveport.

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