Oct 04, 2022  
2022-23 ATSU University Catalog 
2022-23 ATSU University Catalog

School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona

Established in 2007, ATSU-SOMA was founded by the University at the request of the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) to create an osteopathic medical school with a primary focus on training students in community health centers (CHCs) to prepare them to meet the healthcare needs of our nation’s most vulnerable patients and communities.   
At ATSU-SOMA, students begin with an integrated case-based education model, with an emphasis on self-directed and facilitated small-group learning at our Mesa, AZ campus and transition to join one of our 16 community partner sites well-prepared for their second through fourth years of medical training. In this contextual learning environment, students advance in the curriculum while participating in early clinical experiences as integral members of CHC and community interprofessional healthcare teams. 
I am incredibly proud that ATSU-SOMA has been awarded Ten-Year Accreditation with Exceptional Outcomes by the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation. Each year, our graduates enter outstanding residency training programs with a placement rate of 99-100%. ATSU-SOMA continues to fulfill its commitment to producing our nation’s next generation of primary care physicians with 67% of the Class of 2021 entering into primary care specialty residency programs and 82% in primary care + NACHC-needed specialties.  
Our ATSU-SOMA administration, faculty, and staff are thrilled that you have joined us and are dedicated to providing you with a rich and meaningful osteopathic medical education! 
I look forward to working with each of you. 

Sharon J. Obadia, DO, FNAOME  
Interim Dean
Associate Professor, Internal Medicine 
School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona
A.T. Still University of Health Sciences


Program Accreditation

The Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree program is accredited by the American Osteopathic Association’s (AOA) Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA), 142 East Ontario Street, Chicago, IL 60611, Phone: 800.621.1773.

For complaints related to accreditation standards and procedures, individuals may submit the complaint in writing to the Dean. Upon receipt of a written complaint, the Dean will review and evaluate all relevant information and documentation relating to the complaint. If resolution cannot be reached, the student may appeal in writing to the President. At any time, the individual may also file a complaint with the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation at 142 E. Ontario St., Chicago, IL 60611. 

The process for filing a complaint is available on the COCA website at www.aoacoca.org. ATSU-SOMA maintains a strict policy preventing retaliation against any individual who files a complaint concerning accreditation standards with the college or the accrediting body.

The COM Accreditation Standards and Procedures can be found at www.aoacoca.org.

State Licensing

The following is a list of states that have given degree-granting authority to ATSU-SOMA. Please see the State Licensing section under About ATSU  for information related to degree-granting authority by The Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education and A.T. Still University’s participation in NC-SARA.

ATSU-SOMA has been given degree-granting authority by The Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education. At the Arizona campus, if the student complaint cannot be resolved after exhausting the Institution’s grievance procedure, the student may file a complaint with the Arizona State Board for Private Post-Secondary Education. The student must contact the State Board for further details. The State Board address is 1740 W. Adams, Ste. 3008, Phoenix, AZ 85007, phone # 602-542-5709, website address: www.ppse.az.gov.

ATSU-SOMA is authorized to operate as a post-secondary degree-granting educational institution in the State of Hawaii by the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA). Pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) §305J-12(a), authorization by the DCCA is conditioned on the maintenance of accreditation by A.T. Still University and continuing compliance with HRS §305J-14 (financial integrity). Inquiries concerning the standards or school compliance may be directed to the 335 Merchant Street, Room 310, Honolulu, HI 96809.

ATSU-SOMA has been granted authorization to operate in the Chicago and Southwestern Regions and to grant the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree in the Chicago and Southern Regions by the Illinois Board of Higher Education under the “Private College Act” (110 ILCS 1005) and “The Academic Degree Act” (110 ILCS 1010). This authorization is subject to implementation and maintenance of the conditions presented in the institution’s application and that form the basis upon which the authorization is granted. Inquiries concerning the standards or school compliance may be directed to the Illinois Board of Higher Education, 1 N. Old State Capitol Plaza, Suite 333, Springfield, IL 62701-1377.

ATSU-SOMA has been granted the authorization by the Ohio Board of Regents – University System of Ohio to offer clinical and practicum experience in Ohio to fulfill program requirements for the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree. Inquiries concerning the standards or school compliance may be directed to the Ohio Board of Regents, 25 South Front Street, Columbus, OH 43215.

This school is a business unit of a corporation and is authorized by the State of Oregon to offer and confer the academic degrees and certificates described herein, following a determination that state academic standards will be satisfied under OAR 583-030. Inquiries concerning the standards or school compliance may be directed to the Office of Degree Authorization, 3225 25th Street NE, Salem, OR 97302, or PPS@state.or.us.

Under the State Board of Education regulation 22 Pa. Code §36.8, A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona has been granted approval of a Certificate of Authority to operate an education enterprise in Scranton, PA for the purpose of offering credit toward a Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine at the Wright Center for Community Health. Degrees are awarded under the degree-granting authority of the state of Arizona.

ATSU-SOMA is licensed by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, 1122 Lady Street, Suite 400, Columbia, SC 29201, Telephone 803.737.2260, www.che.sc.gov. Licensure indicates only that minimum standards have been met; it is not an endorsement or guarantee of quality. Licensure is not equivalent to or synonymous with accreditation by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

A.T. Still University-School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona has demonstrated that it meets the standards set forth in the rules of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and qualifies for an exemption pursuant to Subchapter G, Chapter 61, Texas Education Code and, as defined in Chapter 7.3 of Board rules from certain, but not all, regulations. This exception will continue as long as the institution maintains its accreditation status with the Accrediting Organization Higher Learning Commission and standards acceptable to the Coordinating Board.  A.T. Still University-School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona is authorized to conduct courses, grant degrees, grant credit toward degrees, and to use protected academic terms in the State of Texas until  expiration of its current grant of accreditation.

A.T. Still University of Health Sciences is authorized by the Washington Student Achievement Council and meets the requirements and minimum educational standards established for degree-granting institutions under the Degree-Granting Institutions Act. This authorization is subject to periodic review and authorizes AT. Still University of Health Sciences to offer specific degree programs. The Council may be contacted for a list of currently authorized programs. Authorization by the Council does not carry with it an endorsement by the Council of the institution or its programs. Any person desiring information about the requirements of the act or the applicability of those requirements to the institution may contact the Council at P.O. Box 43430, Olympia, WA 98504-3430 or by email at degreeauthorization@wsac.wa.gov. For Washington state residents seeking information and resources about student loan repayment or seeking to submit a complaint relating to your student loans or student loan servicer, please visit www.wsac.wa.gov/loan-advocacy or contact the Student Loan Advocate at loanadvocate@wsac.wa.gov. The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) has authority to investigate student complaints against specific schools. WSAC may not be able to investigate every student complaint. Visit https://www.wsac.wa.gov/student-complaints for information regarding the WSAC complaint process.

The transferability of credits earned at A.T. Still University of Health Sciences is at the discretion of the receiving college, university, or other educational institution. Students considering transferring to any institution should not assume that credits earned in any program of study at A.T. Still University of Health Sciences will be accepted by the receiving institution. Similarly, the ability of a degree, certificate, diploma, or other academic credential earned at A.T. Still University of Health Sciences to satisfy an admission requirement of another institution is at the discretion of the receiving institution. Accreditation does not guarantee credentials or credits earned at A.T. Still University of Health Sciences will be accepted by or transferred to another institution. To minimize the risk of having to repeat coursework, students should contact the receiving institution in advance for evaluation and determination of transferability of credits and/or acceptability of degrees, diplomas, or certificates earned.

ATSU-SOMA Mission Statement

Prepare individuals through high-quality, innovative, learning-centered undergraduate and graduate medical education programs to become compassionate osteopathic physicians and healthcare leaders who serve medically underserved populations with a focus on research and community-oriented primary care.

Osteopathic Pledge of Commitment

As members of the osteopathic medical profession, in an effort to instill loyalty and strengthen the profession, we recall the tenets on which this profession is founded: the dynamic interaction of mind, body and spirit; the primary role of the musculoskeletal system; that preventive medicine is the key to maintain health. We recognize the work our predecessors have accomplished in building the profession. We will commit ourselves to continuing that work.

I pledge to:

  • Provide compassionate, quality care to my patients;
  • Partner with them to promote health;
  • Display integrity and professionalism throughout my career;
  • Advance the philosophy, practice and science of osteopathic medicine;
  • Continue life-long learning;
  • Support my profession with loyalty in action, word and deed;
  • Live each day as an example of what an osteopathic physician should be.


A.T. Still University – School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona
5850 E. Still Circle
Mesa, AZ 85206

Sharon J. Obadia, DO, FNAOME
Interim, Dean
Associate Dean of Clinical Education and Services


Deborah M Heath, DO 
Associate Dean of Innovation and Curricular Integration  
Interim Chair OMM Department  

Alissa Craft, DO, MBA 
Associate Dean, Student Achievement and Accreditation  

Carolina Quezada, MD
Assistant Dean of Clinical Education

Mark Coty, PhD
Assistant Dean of Innovation and Curricular Integration
Interim Chair of Basic Science

Christina Weaver, DO
Assistant Dean of Innovation and Clinical Curricular Integration


ATSU-SOMA School Policies

Statement of Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion encompass an authentic understanding and appreciation of difference and, at their core, are based upon the value each human being brings to our society and each person’s access and opportunities to contribute to our University’s cultural proficiency.

Minimal Technical Standards for Admission and Matriculation

Technical standards are the non-academic skills and abilities necessary for the successful completion of the course of study in osteopathic medicine. A.T. Still University of Health Sciences is committed to equal access for all qualified applicants and students. Minimal Technical Standards for Matriculation (the “Standards”) state expectations of ATSU students. The Standards provide sufficient information to allow the candidate to make an informed decision for application. ATSU-SOMA students must be able to meet all of the Standards, with or without reasonable academic adjustments (accommodations). Academic adjustments can be made for disabilities in some instances, but a student must be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner. Applicants and current students who have questions regarding the technical standards, or who believe they may need to request academic adjustment(s) in order to meet the standards, are encouraged to contact Learning and Disability Resources. Procedures to apply for academic adjustments are found at the conclusion of this policy.

Every ATSU-SOMA student is expected to possess those intellectual, ethical, physical, and emotional capabilities required to undertake the full curriculum and to achieve the levels of competence required by the faculty. The holder of a doctor of osteopathic medicine degree must have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care.

Categories of Technical Standards

ATSU-SOMA’s minimal technical standards are as follows. The examples mentioned are not intended as a complete list of expectations, but only as samples demonstrating the associated standards. For additional detail regarding the ATSU-SOMA technical standards, see the ATSU-SOMA Policies and Procedures manual, policy 50-002-01.

  1. Observation: Students must have sufficient vision to observe demonstrations, experiments and laboratory exercises. Students must have adequate visual capabilities for proper evaluation and treatment integration. They must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and up close.
  2. Communication: Students should be able to hear, observe and speak to patients in order to elicit and acquire information, examine them, describe changes in mood, activity, and posture, and perceive their nonverbal communication. Students must also be able to communicate effectively in English, in oral and written form, with staff, faculty members, patients, and all members of the health care team.
  3. Motor: Motor skills include reasonable endurance, strength and precision. Students should have sufficient motor function to execute movements reasonably required for general care and emergency treatment. Such movements require coordination of both gross and fine muscular activity, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.
  4. Sensory: Students need enhanced sensory skills including accuracy within specific tolerances and functional use for laboratory, classroom and clinical experiences. Students who are otherwise qualified but who have significant tactile sensory or proprioceptive disabilities must be evaluated medically. These disabilities include individuals who were injured by significant burns, have sensory motor deficits, cicatrix formation, or have malformations of the upper extremities.
  5. Strength and mobility: Students must have sufficient posture, balance, flexibility, mobility, strength and endurance for standing, sitting and participating in the laboratory, classroom and clinical experiences.
  6. Intellectual, conceptual, perceptual, integrative and quantitative: These abilities include reading, writing, measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. In addition, students should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities.
  7. Behavioral, emotional, and social: Students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities; the exercise of good judgment; the prompt completion of assignments and other responsibilities, especially those attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients; and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships. Students must be able to tolerate physically, intellectually, and emotionally demanding challenges and workloads and be able to adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and function in the face of uncertainties inherent in patient care. Compassion, maturity, honesty, ethics, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all required personal qualities. Students must be able to successfully endure the physical, intellectual, and emotional demands of the medical education curriculum and process as well as the medical profession.

Applying for Academic Adjustments

The institution remains open to possibilities of human potential and achievement, providing support for students with disabilities. Students who have questions regarding disability-related academic adjustments, or who wish to make a request, should contact Learning & Disability Resources (disabilityresources@atsu.edu, 480.245.6248). Communications with Learning & Disability Resources regarding disability and potential academic adjustments have no bearing on the candidate application process. The process for requesting academic adjustments is published in the University Student Handbook. 


ATSU-SOMA programs adhere to the University grading scale .

Auditing a Course

In general, the audit policy is designed for use by ATSU-SOMA students who either need to review course content or are taking an extended course of study. All audits are subject to the approval of the ATSU-SOMA dean or their designee.

The conditions of an audit are as follows:

  • Students are allowed to attend class and may participate in laboratory experiences only on a space available basis.
  • Students are not allowed to take any of the course assessments offered in class.
  • No tuition is charged for the audit(s).
  • No record of the audit(s) appears on the transcript.

Program or Course Cancellation

Should the institution cancel a program or course, each currently enrolled student will be permitted to complete such program or course before it is discontinued. No new students will be permitted to enroll in a program or course that the institution has canceled.

Academic Standards, Guidelines, and Requirements


Please see the ATSU Policies  section of the catalog for the University policy on student absences.

At ATSU-SOMA, attendance is required for all mandatory sessions. In the case of excused absences, make-up classes, lab assignments and/or examinations are provided solely at the discretion of the Associate Dean of Innovation and Curricular Integration and/or their designee.

Promptness is an important trait which students are expected to display during all parts of the program. Tardiness can adversely impact learning, work, and patient care for you, your fellow students, co-workers and preceptors in clinic, and patients.

Absence Policy


ATSU-SOMA’s faculty members recognize that occasionally a student must miss a curricular activity due to a required or unavoidable circumstance. If this occurs, the student must follow the following procedure:

Medical Skills, Osteopathic Principles and Practice, Small Group sessions, Anatomy Lab, Clinic, and any other events marked as “mandatory” require attendance.

Medical Absences

  • OMS Is-  Submit an Excused Absence Request through the App with documentation as soon as you become aware that you will be absent. Absence during any mandatory event related to an illness requires a health care provider or hospital note, or course director permission.
  • OMS IIs- Must report each day of absence to the RDME. Submit an Excused Absence Request through the App with documentation as soon as you become aware that you will be absent. An unplanned absence during any mandatory event due to an illness requires a health care provider’s note or course director’s permission or RDME’s permission on the same day the activity is missed.

Unplanned Non-Medical Absences

  • OMS Is- Submit an Excused Absence Request through the App with documentation as soon as you become aware that you will be absent.
  • OMS IIs- Submit an Excused Absence Request through the App with documentation as soon as possible. Inform your RDME as soon as you become aware that you will be absent.
  • Examples of that documentation include:
    • Family member’s illness or medical procedure: Official documentation regarding the medical issue (e.g. letter from physician, hospital record, etc.)
    • Death of a family member: Published announcement of the death (newspaper clipping or printout from a webpage, etc.) or an original program from the funeral service
    • Flight cancellation: Documentation provided of the flight from the airline

Planned Absences
(Must be submitted at least 2 weeks prior to the event.)

  • Requests cannot be used for exam days (didactic exams, practical exams, OSCEs). Only one Small Group activity may be missed per year for a planned absence. OMS I & OMS II students traveling during ATSU breaks/holidays must plan to be back for the first day following breaks.
    • OMS Is- Six personal days/year permitted. Submit an Excused Absence Request through the App with documentation.
    • OMS IIs- Four personal days/year permitted. Submit an Excused Absence Request through the App with documentation.
  • Submission of an Excused Absence Request form a minimum of two weeks prior to the requested event is required. The nature of the documentation will be determined by the reason for the absence.
  • Typical examples include: 
    • Religious holidays: A program, bulletin, or other printed item from the religious observance held on the day of absence
    • Weddings: For immediate family members, a wedding invitation; if the student is in the wedding party, a wedding program
    • Conferences: Conference schedules (must be in good academic standing and passing current courses in order to attend)
    • Medical Mission trip: Additional forms and approvals are required. (Must be in good academic and professional standing to attend). Please contact International club advisor for additional information on requirements.

Excused/unexcused absences

  • Excused- the student and the course directors (and RDME(s)) will be notified that the student is eligible to make-up an activity or exam.
  • Unexcused- the student and the course directors (and RDME(s)) will be notified that the student is ineligible to make-up an activity or exam.
Make-up for excused absences
  • Make-up exams must be taken within 72 business hours of the originally scheduled date (e.g. if exam is schedule on Monday, exam must be taken by Thursday)
  • For all other activities, a student should contact the course director(s) or RDME(s) to schedule the make-up activity.
  • Students who are unable to make-up an exam within 72 business hours or who are unable to make-up an activity within the course must submit a request to the Associate Dean of Innovation and Curricular Integration for an “incomplete” in the course.

Any exceptions must be approved by the Associate Dean of Innovation and Curricular Integration. Unexcused absences beyond the limits outlined herein may result in a lowered grade (refer to appropriate course syllabi) and referral to the Student Performance Committee.

If the Associate Dean of Innovation and Curricular Integration, or their designee, determines that the absence is excused, the appropriate course directors will be notified that the student is authorized for make-up. A make-up is offered for all major examinations and must be scheduled within 72 business hours of the original examination. After receiving approval for an excused absence, a student should contact the Associate Dean of Innovation and Curricular Integration, or their designee, to schedule the make-up examination. Students unable to make-up an examination within 72 business hours of the original examination must take an incomplete in the course and fulfill course requirements at the end of the academic year.

Some courses or activities have built-in leeway for missing class or a quiz (e.g. the lowest quiz grade is dropped) and no make-up is offered, even if the absence is excused. Due to expenses incurred in providing a make-up, some courses or activities must charge a fee to students in order to be able to provide the make-up, even if it is excused. Sometimes a make-up is not possible due to the nature of the activity even if the student was granted an excused absence. 

Additional requirements for community partner site-based OMS II students

Remember to report each day that you are absent to the RDME(s) at your community partner site and submit an Excused Absence Request through PowerApps.

If an OMS II wishes to participate in any academic activity at a community partner site other than their assigned site, an Excused Absence Request must be submitted through PowerApps no later than two weeks in advance of the planned absence from the assigned site. An OMS II is not permitted to participate in academic activities at another community partner site unless approved by the Associate Dean of Innovation and Curricular Integration and the RDMEs from both sites. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in disciplinary action and/or referral to the Student Performance Committee.

Attendance Policy and Guidelines for OMS III and OMS IV

Clerkship activities are mandatory, and timely attendance is expected at all scheduled clinical and educational events. Clinical activities are required to be completed during each week of the rotation.  

Students are required to adhere to this policy (Attendance Policy and Guidelines found on eValue) and notify their Regional Director of Medical Education (RDME) in a timely manner in anticipation of an absence request. All students receive Flex time throughout the OMS III and OMS IV years. Failure to adhere to the Attendance Policy and Guidelines can result in a clerkship rotation failure and a code of conduct violation, which will result in a referral to the Student Performance Committee (SPC).  

The following are descriptions of each type of absence. 

Excused Absences

Third and fourth year students should submit absence request forms to their RDME. The form can be found on eValue. Students are also responsible for notifying their Regional Education Coordinator (REC) and preceptor immediately for an excused absence to be approved.  

Personal/Conference Days
(Do Not Require Clinical Make-up Time)

Students are allowed up to 3 personal days per academic year. Personal days must be approved in advance by the RDME and cannot be used consecutively without prior approval of the RDME and cannot be carried over from the third year to the fourth year. In the case of an urgent absence, students must notify their REC immediately, who will then submit the request to the RDME for review.

Students are allowed up to 3 days per academic year to attend qualifying conferences. Conference days must be approved in advance by the RDME. Conference days cannot be carried over from the third year to the fourth year.  

Medical excused absences must be approved by the RDME. Whenever possible medical excused absences should be approved in advance.

While Personal/Conference days do not require clinical make-up time, students are not permitted to be absent for more than 2 days for any 2-week period. Missing clinical activities beyond the 2 days will require make up activities to be completed before the clerkship rotation ends.

(Do Not Require Clinical Make-up Time)

Students are allowed 1 day per board exam (COMLEX/USMLE) per academic year. Board exam dates must be approved in advance by the RDME. Excused board exam dates cannot be carried over from the third year to the fourth year. 

While COMLEX/USMLE days do not require clinical make-up time, students are not permitted to be absent for more than 2 days for any 2-week period. Missing clinical activities beyond the 2 days will require make up activities to be completed before the clerkship rotation ends.

Residency Readiness
(Does Not Require Clinical Make-up Time)

Students are required to attend Residency Readiness in the Spring of their fourth year and will be excused from clinical activities during the designated period of time, so long as all required prep work, assignments, and participation requirements are met. It will be the student’s responsibility to ensure that the preceptor is notified of this requirement and associated dates/schedule with sufficient notice. 

Postgraduate Interviews
(Do Not Require Clinical Make-up Time)

For postgraduate interviews, students are allowed 4 Interview Days during OMS IV year. Students must complete the required absence request form and discuss with and obtain approval the RDME and REC prior to the absence. Students may not use more than 2 Interview Days per 4-week rotation block. Students are encouraged to schedule interviews for postgraduate programs during vacation, Flex time, personal days, etc. and to limit time off during clerkship rotations.

Students are not permitted to be absent for more than 2 days for any 2-week period. Missing clinical activities beyond the 2 days will require make up activities to be completed before the clerkship rotation ends.

Flex time

Flex time is defined as time during OMS III and OMS IV years when a student is not on clerkship rotations. Flex time can be used to fill in gaps in student schedules between rotations. It can also be used for other purposes including vacation, personal time, non-credit academic time, residency interviews, etc. 

  • Flex time must be taken in weekly increments
  • Flex time may not exceed 3 weeks without the approval of the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education.
  • Flex time may not be used to make-up clinical time or to participate in clerkship rotations. 
  • Students must coordinate with their RDME/REC to schedule Flex time.


Students will follow their preceptor’s/clinical site’s schedule. If the clinical site is closed during a holiday, the student can be excused from clinical activities for the observed holiday.

While observed holidays may not require clinical make-up time (i.e. clinical site is closed), students are not permitted to miss clinical activities for more than 2 days for any 2-week period. Missing clinical activities beyond the 2 days will require make up activities to be completed before the clerkship rotation ends.

Cumulative Absences

Students are not permitted to be absent for more than 2 days for any 2-week period. Missing clinical activities beyond the 2 days will require make up activities to be completed before the clerkship rotation ends. 

It is the student’s responsibility to notify their preceptor, RDME and REC when there is an unexpected absence (i.e. illness, clinical site closure, preceptor is out sick, etc.) and ensure that cumulative absences do not exceed the 2 days for any 2-week period. Failure to communicate this can result in a clerkship rotation failure, code of conduct violation and a referral to the SPC committee. 

Management of Illnesses during OMS III and OMS IV

If a student contracts an illness, they should contact the RDME and REC to notify them of their medical status. The attending preceptor should also be contacted by the student or RDME/REC should the student be incapacitated. Students should follow the CDC recommendations that people with illness remain at home until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever (100 degrees F) or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. Should further guidelines related to illness be established by the clinical site to which the student is assigned, the student should also follow the clinical site’s guidelines. If the illness requires the student to be absent in excess of the 2 days per 2-week period, the clinical time will need to be made up before the end of the rotation. If an extended absence (absence lasting 6-15 days) is required, please contact the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education. 

Supplemental Assignments (SA)

Supplemental assignments are to be used when clinical make-up time is not possible. There must be clinical activities during each week of the clerkship rotation. Cumulative absences cannot exceed 2 days per 2-week period. The approved SA list will be listed on CANVAS under the student’s assigned clerkship rotation and completed in order (1-4). SA’s must be submitted on a timely basis to CANVAS and before their rotation ends. If a student needs to complete a SA, they must get this approved by their RDME and notify their Clerkship Director. 

SA’s are approved for the following reasons:

  • COVID Illness
  • Clinical site closure (i.e. inclement weather, COVID)
  • Clinical Preceptor unexpectedly calls out sick

If a student needs to complete a SA for any other reason than those stated above, they will need approval by the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education. The student will need to notify their Clerkship Director of the SA being completed and submit it in a timely manner. Supplemental assignments are not to be used for planned absences or to make up unexcused absences. 

Extended Absence and Student Leave Policy

As per the ATSU Student Handbook: Extended Absence – For students who request consideration for a longer absence (defined as a period of time from 6 to 15 consecutive class days), the Extended Absence may be considered. This request must first be approved by the individual program’s Dean or designee. Please note a signed contract is required to complete the process. This contract provides structure, uniformity, and communication between student, faculty, program administration, and all Student Affairs departments. 

The contract must be signed and approved by all parties at least 14 days prior to the anticipated absence, or within 48 hours of the onset of an emergency or unexpected circumstance. No more than one extended absence contract is allowed within a 30-day period. Multiple requests for extended absence contacts within the same academic term will require additional review by the program Dean. 

Any absence that will extend beyond the 15th day will require a request for approval under the Student Leave Policy. If the official Student Leave request is not approved and the student does not return within the timeframe outlined in the Extended Absence Contract, the student will be administratively withdrawn from the program and must re-apply for admission. 

The Extended Absence Request Form may be found at: https://www.atsu.edu/pdf/extendedabsencerequestform.pdf

HIPAA and OSHA Training

All ATSU-SOMA students must complete Health Information Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training annually. In addition, all ATSU-SOMA students must complete Human Subjects and Bloodborne Pathogens training. Mask fitting prior to clinical experiences is a site-dependent requirement.


ATSU-SOMA requires all entering students to provide proof of their immunizations in order to enroll in courses. This is necessary for the student’s protection, as well as the protection of any individuals with whom they come in contact. It is the responsibility of the student to maintain up-to-date immunization protection throughout the entire duration of enrollment. Non-compliance at any time during a student’s enrollment could result in suspension and/or dismissal. Documents related to immunizations and screenings will be maintained and monitored by ATSU-SOMA administration. All testing is at the expense of the student.

  1. Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis: Students are required to receive either the primary series of Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis or booster dose within ten (10) years prior to the beginning of the academic year. A single dose of Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, acellular Pertussis) between ages 19 and 64 is required if the student has not previously received Tdap, or to replace one decennial Td booster.
  2. Polio: Students are required to provide documentation that they have received the primary series of polio vaccine. If documentation cannot be produced, the student must receive the primary series of inactivated polio vaccine.
  3. Measles, Mumps, and Rubella: Students born after 1956 are required to provide documentation of the MMR vaccine prior to matriculation. If the vaccination was given prior to 1975, evidence of a re-booster is recommended.
  4. Hepatitis B: Students are required to initiate a series of Hepatitis B vaccine prior to matriculation. Students must complete the series according to the prescribed timeline (completed within 6 months of matriculation).
  5. Tuberculosis (TB) Screening: 2-Step PPD Tuberculosis Screening OR IGRA/Chest X-Ray; must be dated within matriculation year.
  6. Varicella immunization, serum titer, or healthcare provider documentation of date of contraction.
  7. COVID-19 vaccine: Required for all enrolled students at ATSU-SOMA*
    • Pfizer: 2 shots and booster,
    • Moderna: 2 shots and booster, or
    • Johnson & Johnson: 1 shot and booster (Pfizer/Moderna)

*Refer to CDC guidelines for continued booster recommendations

*For more information, please reference The COVID-19 Vaccine Policy for Students  found within ATSU Policies section of this catalog.

Recommended Immunizations (some clinical training sites may require some or all of these):

  • Influenza
  • Hepatitis A
  • Meningococcal
  • Pneumococcal


Some clinical training sites require that students show proof of immunity (e.g. measles) before being allowed to train at the site. Therefore, it is recommended that students have this testing done in advance of their clinical training portion of the curriculum. Not all insurance plans cover the costs of titers. Students will be responsible for those costs not covered by insurance.

Immunization Exemptions

For medical conditions or religious beliefs, a request for exemption from Risk Management requirements will be considered. However, ATSU cannot guarantee the ability to participate in patient encounters and placement in clinical rotations if this exemption is granted. Consequently, students receiving an exemption from vaccine requirements may take longer to complete the curriculum and graduate, or the student may not be able to complete the curriculum and graduate. Students seeking exemptions should submit the Request for Exemption from ATSU Vaccination Requirement form. If students are granted immunization exemptions, they must acknowledge the above risks by signing and submitting to the Clinical Education Project Coordinator an Immunization Exemption Risk Acknowledgement and Additional Disclosures and Requirements form.

Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Basic Life Support (BLS)

ATSU-SOMA requires that all students obtain and maintain BLS certification throughout the entire duration of enrollment. Proof of certification must be on file by the end of OMS I orientation. It is the student’s responsibility to renew certification prior to the expiration date. Students are responsible for the costs of BLS recertification. Proof of ACLS certification must be obtained prior to reporting for clerkship duty in the OMS III year. ATSU-SOMA will not cover the costs for ACLS renewal. First-time certification must be completed via an in-person course. Non-compliance at any time during a student’s enrollment will result in suspension and/or dismissal.

Dress Code

For all classroom and real or simulated activities (e.g. those that involve patients or standardized patients), all students must maintain an appearance that demonstrates respect, trust and credibility. The reasons for appropriate attire and hygiene are rooted in infection control, communication and cultural sensitivity. This prepares the student for their role as a professional health care provider. Patient trust and confidence in their health care provider are essential for successful treatment experiences and outcomes. The message communicated by the provider by their dress and appearance plays a fundamental role in establishing this trust and confidence. Students should consider the cultural sensitivities of their most conservative potential patients and present themselves in a manner that will earn the patients’ respect, ensure trust and make them feel comfortable.

Business casual attire is required. In general, all clothing should be neat, clean and of appropriate size and fit for the clinical setting. Good personal hygiene is expected. The Osteopathic Principles and Practice and Medical Skills courses have a dress code specific to lab days. Please refer to the course syllabi for additional details. For students in OMS II through OMS IV, please refer to the Clinical Education Manual on the eValue home page for specific dress code requirements. Each community partner site may make modifications to the official Dress Code that conform to regional standards. Students are responsible to check with the community partner site RDME(s) with any questions concerning the Dress Code for their region.


Examination content is derived from course goals and objectives. Rescheduling an examination or other assessment can be accommodated if a student receives an excused absence. If you cannot attend an examination or assessment, you are required to follow the Excused Absence Policy in the ATSU-SOMA Catalog. ATSU-SOMA reserves the right to assess students for the cost of reproducing examinations or assessments where the reproduction of said exam or assessment would be excessive (i.e., require special scheduling of standardized patients).

ATSU-SOMA students are expected to exhibit the highest degree of intellectual honesty during the administration of examinations and completion of assignments given by ATSU-SOMA, and must adhere to the exam protocols provided at the beginning of each academic year. Behaviors that are not consistent with this standard are subject to disciplinary actions by the ATSU-SOMA Student Performance Committee.

All assignments and projects submitted for any course are the property of ATSU-SOMA and may not be available for return to the student. Students should maintain a copy of all work assignments submitted. All work on exams, exercises and assignments are to be completed individually unless direction is given by the faculty member that said assignment may be completed as a group project or with the assistance of others.


An important aspect of any professional educational curriculum is the development of professional behaviors and role identity. Medical education literature demonstrates that unprofessional behavior exhibited during training is a predictor of future referrals to state regulatory boards and/or the need for disciplinary actions. Since such behavior presents a potential danger to the provision of good patient care and issues for the credibility of the profession, equal importance is placed on professionalism, as is placed on academic performance and clinical skills. ATSU-SOMA considers breaches of professional conduct as academic deficiencies. Recognizing the responsibility to display appropriate professional behaviors, ATSU-SOMA sets expectations for professional conduct and evaluates students in this sphere to document satisfactory acquisition of these important behaviors.

Listed below are examples of expectations of professionalism adapted by ATSU-SOMA from the Behaviors Reflecting Professionalism identified by the National Board of Medical Examiners. It is expected that each member of ATSU-SOMA will model these behaviors to ensure respect to others, quality patient care and growth of the profession.


  • Helps colleagues and team members who are busy.
  • Takes on extra work to help the team.
  • Serves as knowledge or skill resource to others.
  • Advocates for policies, practices and procedures that will benefit patients.
  • Endures inconvenience to accommodate patient needs.

Honor and Integrity (honesty)

  • Admits errors and takes steps to prevent recurrence.
  • Deals with confidential information appropriately.
  • Does not misuse resources (i.e. school property).
  • Attributes ideas and contributions appropriately for other’s work.
  • Upholds ethical standards in research and scholarly activity.
  • Submits original work at all times and on time for graded assignments.
  • Requests help when needed.
  • Assumes personal responsibility for mistakes.

Caring and Compassion

  • Treats the patient as an individual, considers lifestyle, beliefs and support systems.
  • Shows compassion to patients and maintains appropriate boundaries in professional relationships.
  • Responds to patient’s needs in an appropriate way.
  • Optimizes patient comfort and privacy when conducting history, physical examination and procedures.


  • Respects institutional staff, representatives, faculty, and colleagues at all times.
  • Adheres to stated ATSU-SOMA dress code policy.
  • Participates constructively as a team member.
  • Adheres to institutional and departmental policies and procedures.
  • Displays compassion and respect for all patients even under difficult circumstances.
  • Discusses patients/faculty/colleagues without inappropriate labels or comments.

Responsibility and Accountability

  • Presents self in an appropriate manner to patients and colleagues.
  • Completes assignments and tasks in a timely manner.
  • Responds promptly when contacted (emails, texts, phone calls, etc.).
  • Intervenes or seeks help when unprofessional behavior presents a clear and present danger to self or others.
  • Uses resources effectively.
  • Responds appropriately to an impaired colleague.
  • Responds to and reflects on own or other’s lapses in conduct and performance.
  • Makes valuable contributions to class, rounds and group interactions.
  • Elicits patient’s understanding to ensure accurate communication of information.
  • Facilitates conflict resolution.
  • Remains flexible to changing circumstances and unanticipated changes.
  • Balances personal needs and patient responsibilities.
  • Respectfully provides honest and constructive feedback.


  • Has internal focus and direction, sets goals to achieve excellence.
  • Takes initiative in organizing, participating and collaborating with peer groups and faculty.
  • Maintains composure under difficult situations.
  • Inspires confidence in patients by proper preparation for clinical tasks and procedures.

Community Partner Sites General Policies and Procedures

Assignment to Community Partner Site Location

Assignment to a community partner site involves the consideration of various factors including the student’s expressed desire concerning location. Community partner site assignments are ultimately under the purview of the School and ATSU-SOMA reserves the right to make all community partner site and clinical assignments. Unauthorized trading or attempts to influence community partner site placements by bartering, coercion or offering goods or services are grounds for disciplinary action.

Placement at a community partner site is considered a permanent assignment. It is only under extraordinary circumstances that transfer from one community partner site to another will be considered. Requests for transfer and questions about community partner sites should be addressed to the Associate Dean of Clinical Education and Services.

Travel to Clinical Experiences

Many of the courses required to complete the curriculum require travel to participate in clinical experiences. Unless otherwise published, travel is at the student’s expense and not paid for by ATSU-SOMA or clinical agencies. Most students find having a car and valid driver’s license a necessity to complete the program of study. In particular, students are encouraged to consider the travel requirements associated with specific community partner sites prior to their indication of interest in attending that community partner site.

At each site the weather conditions may make travel hazardous. Students should take their cue on travel from the site supervisor and follow local policy that may dictate procedures. Ultimately the decision to travel or not travel should be made using the individual’s best judgment based on the available information.


Students are responsible for making arrangements for and payment of their housing needs. Please be advised that there are occasions when students will be assigned at a distance from their community partner site. In very select cases some subsidies may be available at certain locations. However, housing costs remain the ultimate responsibility of the student. Students are encouraged to investigate housing costs prior to community partner site selection.

Community Partner Site General Policies and Procedures

Injuries, Accidents, and Disease Prevention

Students are expected to follow Universal Precautions at all times.

Universal Precautions is an approach to infection control to treat all human blood, certain human body fluids and tissues as if they were known to be infectious for HIV, HBV and other bloodborne and aerosolized pathogens. All students are required to read and understand the Disease Exposure Prevention and Control Plan Policy. 

All students should take precautions to prevent injuries caused by needles, scalpels, other sharp instruments, or any exposure to bloodborne or airborne pathogens. A student is encouraged to use needle and scalpel safety devices when available.  All students are required to use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) in any clinical or research experience if possible, exposure to bloodborne or airborne pathogens could occur.

Report and seek treatment for occupational exposures immediately.

Any student who sustains an injury or potentially infectious exposure while on their clinical experience must notify their RDME(s) as soon as possible. A needlestick protocol checklist and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) guideline is provided on the eValue homepage. See the ATSU-SOMA Needlestick and Bloodborne Pathogens Policy for additional details.

Safety Issues

Every site should have a disaster plan directing individuals’ actions in the event of an emergency (i.e. tornado, violence at the site, etc.). In the event of an emergency follow the site’s emergency plan and the direction of your site supervisor. As soon as it is safe and feasible please notify the ATSU-SOMA Administration regarding your status.

Students are required to become familiar with the safety procedures that are established at each of the community partner sites. As in every situation, especially when one is in an unfamiliar environment, it is prudent to maintain good situational awareness and to be cognizant of one’s surroundings.

Professional Conduct

Students are under the supervision of, and responsible to, the community partner site faculty, including the RDME(s) and clinical preceptors. The student may be subject to review and removed from the community partner site by the ATSU-SOMA administration if their conduct is deemed unsafe or inappropriate by the faculty at the community partner site.

Student Responsibilities at the Community Partner Site

The student is expected to put a patient’s needs and safety as the top priority during all clinical encounters.

The student is expected to adhere to the schedule provided by the community partner site RDME(s) for both didactic courses and clinical courses. The student is expected to attend conferences assigned by the community partner site faculty as part of their OMS II curriculum. It is the student’s responsibility to review the curricular objectives and augment didactic and clinical experiences with independent research and discussion with the community partner site faculty.

Community Partner Site Responsibility to the Student

The community partner site must organize an orientation at the start of each year to provide general information about the site, student requirements, and contact information for key personnel. The community partner site must ensure that on-site faculty guidance is available to assist students in their concerns related to the curriculum. The student will be provided with information and procedures to handle injuries and other health concerns sustained at the community partner site.

Postgraduate Placement

Postgraduate (i.e. residency) match results which may include a student’s name, specialty, and residency program placement will be made public by ATSU-SOMA unless the student opts out. Students may opt out at any time by contacting the Dean’s Office up to one month prior to graduation.

ATSU-SOMA does not guarantee job placement or graduate medical education placement to graduates upon program/course completion or upon graduation. SOMA graduates should adhere to and review licensure requirements and procedures in the state in which they intend to practice.

Audio-Video Recording

ATSU-SOMA uses an audio-video recording system for special events. This is not intended to serve as an alternative to on-site attendance. 

Annual Catalog, Handbook, and Clinical Education Manual Review

All ATSU-SOMA students are required to read the ATSU University Catalog and the University Student Handbook annually. In addition, the OMS III and OMS IV students must also read the ATSU-SOMA Clinical Education Manual annually. An attestation is sent via the eValue system to all students annually. Each student must sign and submit the form, affirming that they have read the required items. Failure to do so may be considered a professionalism violation and may result in a delay in the student’s course work, and may result in the student appearing before the Student Performance Committee.