Meeting the Mission

With a unique approach to educate and train students to serve through the field of osteopathic medicine, graduates will use their presence, communication skills, and reasoning abilities to administer the best treatment possible. You will find that we are servant leaders caring for those in need.

CORE COMPETENCIES

With a primary aim to train physicians for careers in primary care medicine, the WCUCOM curriculum is based upon core competencies in medical education as identified by the AOA and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM):

  • Osteopathic Principles and Practice;
  • Medical Knowledge;
  • Patient Care;
  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills;
  • Professionalism;
  • Practice-based Learning and Improvement; and
  • System-based Practice.

The first competency, Osteopathic Philosophy and Practices (OP&P), is the lynchpin competency that holds the other seven competencies together, with integration.

Program Overview


Hours

A credit hour is defined by the regulations of the U.S. Secretary of Education at 34 CFR 600.2 except as provided in 34 CFR 668.8(k) and (l), a credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than—

(1) One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or

(2) At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

The above assignment of credit hours assumes a minimum of two hours of out of class student work for each hour of lecture. and equivalent amount of work as for other academic activities as established by WCUCOM including laboratory work, externships, practica, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours. For federal financial aid purposes, 16 to 56 credit hours per semester is considered full time. Off-cycle students finishing rotations and enrolled for eight credit hours are considered half-time students and are considered eligible for federal financial aid on a prorated monthly basis.

Credit Hours Assigned to Rotations

Credit hours assigned to clinical rotations have been calculated as follows: A total of 60 hours of effort per week has been assumed. These hours consist of diverse efforts including both didactic and non-didactic work, with one credit hour assigned for every 30 hours of effort. This yields a total of two credit hours per week, resulting in eight total credit hours for a normal four-week rotation.


Delivery Method

Students and Curriculum can be referred to by Osteopathic Medical Student (OMS) followed by an Arabic numeral that corresponds to placement in training; therefore, students or curriculum may be referred to as OMS 1, OMS 2, OMS 3, or OMS 4 respectively. The pre-clerkship curriculum includes a total of four semesters, two semesters in the OMS 1 year and two in the OMS 2 year. Students are immersed in introductory basic science concepts and develop skills in physical examination, doctor-patient interactions, and osteopathic principles and practice. Courses provide integrated presentations of basic and behavioral science concepts and also the clinical aspects of osteopathic medical education. Students are required to demonstrate competency in clinical skills associated with their clinical science courses each semester by engaging in a variety of integrated clinical experiences (e.g., simulation, surrogate and standardized patient encounters, case-based learning scenarios).

Courses follow a developmental sequence in that foundational courses (e.g., Clinical Anatomy, Medical Physiology, Histology, and Medical Biochemistry) provide the anatomic and cellular/molecular underpinnings of the science of medicine taught through clinically relevant application. The OMS 2 year continues with expanded integration of the basic and clinical sciences, with increased opportunities for self-directed learning and self-assessment.

The clinical clerkship curriculum leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree is a 20-month program designed to educate and equip osteopathic physicians with skills necessary to enable them to enter graduate medical education programs. The curriculum is designed to support the WCUCOM mission and emphasizes primary care. In the OMS 3 and OMS 4 years of the curriculum, students learn patient care, develop clinical technical skills, and serve as members of a medical team. Students spend time with clinical faculty at regional hub sites throughout the Gulf South. A “hub site” must have at least one accredited full-service hospital and may also contain critical access hospitals, public and private clinics, and individual practitioners. Travel time between facilities within a hub site is limited to 60 minutes to minimize the amount that travel encroaches on student study time or contributes to student fatigue. Students are responsible for transportation to and from assigned rotation locations without the assistance of WCUCOM. Hub sites provide access to a library (virtual or real space), study space, sleeping space (if needed for call), computer access, and Internet access. The first 10 months of the clerkship experience occurs at a single hub site whenever possible. Basic procedures are demonstrated and practiced by students in each area of study. Students learn about the standard operating procedures of the hospital and office practice. Clerkship rotations provide increased continuity in training and offer students experience working with a variety of allied health professionals.

The OMS 4 curriculum begins with an introductory course (Advanced Clinical Integration—OMS 8000) which prepares students for the increased responsibilities and expectations that they will encounter in their OMS 4 year. This experience incorporates on-campus, hands-on OMT review, clinical simulation and professional development sessions, as well as study and review for the COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE.

In the OMS 4 year, the primary purpose of instruction is to help students apply the didactic background and preliminary clinical training received in core rotations to more intensive clinical experiences. Students are given greater patient-care responsibilities than in the OMS 3 year but remain under the direct supervision of a resident or attending physician. During this year, they are allowed to select their own curriculum. This allows the students to foster interests that have developed regarding a given specialty or to shore up areas of their knowledge that they would like to strengthen. They select 36 total weeks on rotations, a minimum of 16 weeks of rotations in medical specialties, such as cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, general internal medicine, geriatrics, hematology/oncology, infectious diseases, nephrology, neurology, pulmonology, research, and medical critical care. Additionally, a minimum of 16 weeks of rotations must incorporate surgical specialties, such as orthopedics, ophthalmology, neurological surgery, urology, or trauma surgery. Students may elect to perform these rotations in any area of the country. As this curriculum remains unique to each individual student, course descriptions of the OMS 4 electives are not provided in the WCUCOM Student Handbook


Academic Requirements for Admission

The minimum academic requirements for admission are detailed below.

Students must take the Medical College of Admissions Test (MCAT) exam and have the official scores sent to AACOMAS. MCAT test scores are valid for three years from the original date.

Applicant must show satisfactory completion with a final passing grade in each of the following college courses, including laboratory work where applicable as determined by WCUCOM:

  • English Composition and Literature - 6 Semester Hours
  • General Chemistry - 8 Semester Hours
  • Organic Chemistry - 8 Semester Hours
  • Physics - 8 Semester Hours
  • Biological Sciences - 12 Semester Hours

These basic requirements must be passed and taken for credit at an accredited college or university. Courses which are designated as “writing intensive” are generally not acceptable to meet the English requirement.

Transcripts must be received from all colleges and universities attended. They should be submitted with the AACOMAS application. Courses completed after submission of the AACOMAS application must be documented by an official transcript sent directly to WCUCOM.

The minimum requirement for admission to a COM must be no less than 75 percent of the credits needed for a baccalaureate degree from a college or university accredited by an agency recognized by the United States Department of Education. The above minimum requirements may not necessarily be completed prior to application for admission. Approval of admission is tentative, pending satisfactory completion of minimum requirements and maintenance of a satisfactory academic record before the date of registration.

Credit by examination is not available at WCUCOM. “Online” or “distance learning” courses are not acceptable for credit at WCUCOM.

The ability to use a computer is an essential skill that is required to complete WCUCOM course work. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that each entering student have a good working knowledge of computer use and applications. WCUCOM utilizes the latest in Microsoft and Windows applications. Computer specifications and PC Requirements are listed in the Examination Policies of this document.

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