Academic Program: Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
The NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine is guided by its mission to train outstanding physicians spanning the continuum of medical education that encompasses pre-clinical education, clinical education, and graduate medical education.
Pre-Clinical Curriculum: Two Tracks
We proudly offer students a choice of two pre-clerkship curricular tracks:
- A systems-based curriculum, Lecture-Discussion Based (LDB) track, that utilizes large group presentations along with small group discussion-based sessions to integrate the biomedical and clinical sciences along continuous didactic threads to address osteopathic core competencies.
- A problem-based curriculum, the Doctor-Patient Continuum (DPC) track, whose cornerstone is small-group, case-based learning as a means to address the osteopathic core competencies.
In both pre-clerkship curricular tracks of the first two years of the educational continuum, a student-centered, patient-focused approach integrates basic and clinical science content. Both LDB and DPC tracks feature small-group instruction in basic and clinical science labs, including practical components of the doctor-patient relationship and osteopathic manipulative medicine. State-of-the art patient simulation encounters allow students to develop and to assess their medical decision making skills in realistic clinical scenarios
The major difference between the two pre-clerkship curricular tracks lies in how learning objectives are defined. In the LDB track, faculty identify the learning activities, which include large-group classroom sessions, as well as small-group clinical skills labs and individual simulated patient experiences. LDB courses are structured according to an approved syllabus that includes a list of faculty-defined objectives. In contrast, students in the DPC track identify their own learning objectives as they explore patient case studies in small learning group sessions. Like their LDB colleagues, students enrolled in the DPC curriculum also participate in small-group clinical skills labs and individual simulated patient experiences.
Third- and fourth-year clinical clerkships provide a variety of clinical exposures and experiences, from one-on-one preceptorships in physicians' private practices to membership on interprofessional teams in tertiary care hospitals. Additionally, the students are exposed to a wide range of patient populations in both rural and urban locations during the clerkship years. As their skills develop, our students assume increasing responsibility and participate in advanced medical procedures.
The college curriculum committee examines course content and pedagogy for all four training years on an ongoing basis and acts as an advisory board to the dean to suggest enhancements each year. At the conclusion of each course and clinical clerkship, students provide feedback on course/clerkship content and delivery, utilizing a campus wide course analysis system. Additionally, representatives of the student body meet regularly with course and college administrators to address concerns and consider suggestions for improvement of the learning program.
Throughout the educational continuum, the teaching program promotes the integration of structural evaluations, osteopathic manipulative treatment, and a deep awareness of psychosocial factors, legal issues, and ethical concerns relevant to the delivery of health care in the 21st century.
Pre-Clerkship Curricular Overview and Thread Descriptions
Courses in the first half of this four-year curricular continuum are organized in a systems-based format. The systems courses are preceded by a foundational course, Foundations of Osteopathic Medicine. Each subsequent course addresses a one or more body systems, including the musculoskeletal, integumentary, neurological, immunological, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, and reproductive systems. Each course is composed of three "threads" that transcend the individual systems, and provide a longitudinal perspective on three major divisions of medical knowledge:
- Foundational Sciences – covering essential basics in anatomy, biochemistry, ethics, genetics, histology, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology and physiology.
- Doctoring – offering an analysis of the broad context in which medicine is practiced and initiating the training in clinical examination, communication and other skills.
- Osteopathic Doctoring – consisting of an overview of osteopathic manipulative medicine as a foundation of osteopathic Medicine.
This traditional organ system approach allows for integration between the biopsychosocial and clinical sciences in a student-centered/patient-focused curricular approach.
The Foundational Sciences thread addresses the foundational scientific principles and underpinnings specific to each organ system as it relates to the study of health, disease, and wellness altogether. A key component of this thread is the integration of and contextualization of basic science within clinical practice.
The Doctoring thread serves as the systems- based introduction to the essentials of clinical medicine, including the integration of osteopathic principles and practice, medical knowledge, patient care, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, practice-based learning and improvement, team- and systems-based practice, counseling for health promotion and disease prevention as well as cultural competencies. This thread also includes topics on ethics and law as contextualized to the practice of medicine. These experiences allow for the acquisition of behavioral and social skills, as well as the development of clinical skills and osteopathic diagnosis and treatment including medical interviewing/history taking, physical examination, and record-keeping.
The Osteopathic Doctoring thread comprises osteopathic principles and practice (OPP) as related to the entire patient management and the rational integration thereof. A major component of osteopathic doctoring is osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) for both diagnosis and treatment purposes. The student will learn to apply foundational theoretical knowledge to clinical and hands-on patient/student interactions through dedicated laboratory and other practical clinical sessions.
[Note: Following acceptance to the College of Osteopathic Medicine through the regular admissions process, students are afforded the opportunity to file a secondary application for admission to the DPC program. Enrollment in the DPC curriculum is limited to approximately 36 students from each year's entering class at the Old Westbury, N.Y. site only.]
The Doctor Patient Continuum (DPC) is a hybrid problem-based curriculum founded on "continuum" education principles. Throughout the curriculum, learning activities are clustered within the context of clinical-case scenarios, serving as an interface between the patient and the physician, where the acquired knowledge, attitudes, and skills of the practicing clinician will later be applied. Curricular content is rooted in the scientific underpinnings of modern evidence-based medicine. The developing student-doctors are expected to explore aspects of health and disease pertinent to the clinical case at seven levels, including molecular; cellular; tissue; organ; integrated organ system; whole person; and family, society, and environment. At the same time, clinical relevance is stressed by highlighting the nexus between the "science" and its "application". The curriculum is designed and implemented so as to achieve consistency among curricular goals, content, learning activities, and student evaluation.
Beginning on the first day of medical school, and continuing throughout the four years of undergraduate medical education, learning activities are organized according to a continuous, iterative building process.
The goal is not only for each student to achieve his/her full potential as a well-trained, highly competent graduating osteopathic physician, but also to provide a framework for continuing education through postgraduate training and into clinical practice. The DPC curriculum is highly student centered, featuring "student learners," and promotes the development of critical thinking and clinical problem-solving skills.
Courses for the DPC curriculum include:
- A series of courses in Biopsychosocial Sciences, including small-group case-based learning, anatomy/microanatomy, and large-group faculty-directed problem sets, and resource hours;
- A series of courses in clinical sciences, including didactic and laboratory experiences in osteopathic manipulative medicine and in physical diagnosis. The fundamentals of the doctor-patient relationship are addressed through involvement with community-based physician mentors (Clinical Practicum), as well as experiences with standardized and simulated patients in the Institute for Clinical Competence.