Jun 23, 2024  
2024-25 University Catalog 
2024-25 University Catalog

School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona


Program Accreditation and Complaints

State Licensing

Mission Statement

School Policies

Academic Standards, Guidelines, & Requirements


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 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 and 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 2022 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  
Associate Professor, Internal Medicine 


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

Sharon J. Obadia, DO, FNAOME
Associate Professor, Internal Medicine 

Don Altman, DDS, DHSc, EdD, MPH, MBA, MA
Interim Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs  

Carolina Quezada, MD
Assistant Dean of Clinical Education
Christina Weaver, DO
Assistant Dean of Clinical Curriculum,
Simulation, and Interprofessional Education
Erin Messer, PharmD, EdD, MBA
Assistant Dean for Preclinical Curriculum
Anna Wright, MBA
Director of Operations

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.

ATSU-SOMA promotes conflict resolution using a chain of communication hierarchy. If a student has followed the chain of communication to attempt to resolve concerns without success, a complaint related to accreditation standards and procedures may be submitted to the ATSU-SOMA Dean. Upon receipt of a written complaint, the Dean or designee will review and evaluate all relevant information and documentation relating to the complaint and determine the appropriate pathway for adjudication. All student complaints will be forwarded to and logged by the Associate Dean of Student Achievement and Accreditation and made available to the COCA visit committee at the next regularly scheduled COCA site visit. Log entries will include supporting documentation, actions, resolutions, and other pertinent information. If the issue is not resolved by the ATSU-SOMA Dean, the student may report the issue to the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs. The student can seek guidance from the Associate Dean of Student Achievement and Accreditation or Vice President for Student Affairs, as needed.

Anonymous Complaints

A student may file an anonymous complaint at any time via either of the following options:

  • Students may at any time call the ATSU Fraud Hotline at 1.855.FRAUD.HL, or visit www.fraudhl.com/submit-a-report, company ID “ATSU”. Students may file complaints with the College or University without retaliation.
  • If the student has a complaint that the school is not following the COM Continuing Accreditation Standards, the student can make a complaint to the COCA, in writing following the information found on the COCA website (https://osteopathic.org/accreditation/accreditation-guidelines/). All complaints must be signed by the complainant. Per the COCA, complaints will not be processed if submitted anonymously. The complainant must use the proper COCA complaint form to provide a narrative of allegations in relationship to the accreditation standard(s) or procedures and include any documentation that could support the allegation. Complaints made directly to the COCA will be kept anonymous to the School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona.

ATSU-SOMA follows a strict policy prohibiting retaliation against any individual who submits a complaint using any of the above mechanisms.

State Licensing

The following is a list of states that have given degree-granting authority to ATSU-SOMA.

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. In South Carolina, if the student complaint cannot be resolved after exhausting the Institution’s grievance procedure, the student may file a complaint with the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. The Commission has the final authority over grievances related to state policies and procedures and authorization concerns that cannot be resolved at the institutional level.

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.

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.

See ATSU Policy #90-210, Non-Discrimination Policy within the ATSU Policies  section of this catalog. 

Minimal Technical Standards for Admission, Matriculation, & Ongoing Enrollment

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 Resources & Accommodation Services. Procedures to apply for academic adjustments are found within this handbook.

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 Resources & Accommodation Services (accommodations@atsu.edu, 480.245.6248). Communications with Learning Resources & Accommodation Services 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.

International Student Admission

All ATSU-SOMA applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Academic Standards, Guidelines, & 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 Dean 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.

Returns to Campus (OMS II – OMS IV Years)

Students may be expected to return to the Mesa campus (or other specified location) one to two times each year during the OMS II, OMS III, and OMS IV years. Students will participate in mandatory educational activities at these times such as Rotation Readiness, Residency Readiness, OSCEs, and more. The cost of all campus returns is borne by the student.

Absence Policy

Absence Policy and Guidelines for OMS I and OMS II

Unplanned Absences

  • OMS Is- A student is required to submit an Excused Absence Request with documentation as soon as the student becomes aware they will be absent. Absence during any mandatory event related to an illness requires a health care provider or hospital note.
  • OMS IIs- A student must report each day of absence to the RDME and submit an Excused Absence Request with documentation as soon as the student becomes aware they will be absent. Absence during any mandatory event due to an illness requires a health care provider or hospital’s note.
  • Absences for OMS I and OMS II students will be approved for major life events, for example: properly documented illness, death in the immediate family, religious observances, wedding, birth of a child, and professional conferences where a student is serving in office or presenting scholarly work.

Excused/Unexcused Absences

  • Excused Absence: 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 Absence: The student and the course directors (and RDME(s)) will be notified that the student is ineligible to make-up an activity or exam and receive a score of zero (0) for that activity.

Absence 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 the Attendance Policy and Guidelines found in the Clinical Education Manual. Failure to adhere to the Attendance Policy and Guidelines can result in a clerkship rotation failure and a code of conduct violation. 

Extended Absence and Student Leave Policy

Extended absences and student leave of absence are addressed in the ATSU Student Handbook.

HIPAA & 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.

Physical Health Services & Health Insurance

All ATSU-SOMA students are required to maintain health and disability insurance throughout their enrollment. Please see the ATSU University Handbook for additional information.


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 and immunizations are 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.

ATSU-SOMA strongly recommends the following immunizations. Please note that many of ATSU-SOMA’s external clinical partners require students to be vaccinated prior to training in their facilities and exemptions may not be accepted. Clinical external rotation sites may require additional testing for their site and will be at the expense of the student. Consequently, unvaccinated students may be delayed in completing or unable to successfully complete program requirements.

  • Influenza
  • Hepatitis A
  • Meningococcal
  • Pneumococcal
  • COVID-19 and boosters are strongly recommended.


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 Dean or designee an Immunization Exemption Risk Acknowledgment and Additional Disclosures and Requirements form.

Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) & 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 for specific dress code requirements. Each community partner site may make modifications to the official Dress Code that conform to regional standards.

Examinations, Quizzes, & Graded Assignment Policies

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 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.

Rescheduling an examination or other assessment can be accommodated if a student receives an excused absence. If a student is unable to attend an examination or assessment, the student is 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).

  • Make-up exams/activities must be completed within 72 business hours of the originally scheduled date (e.g. if exam is schedule on Monday, exam must be taken by Thursday)
  • Students who are unable to make-up an exam/activity within 72 business hours will receive an “incomplete” in the course.
  • Incomplete courses must be completed by a date scheduled at the discretion of the Dean or designee.
  • 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.


An important aspect of this professional educational curriculum is the development of professional behaviors and 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 & 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. Questions about community partner sites should be addressed to the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education.

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. Students are required to provide transportation to their clinical rotation sites to complete the program of study. This typically requires that students have a driver’s license and their own vehicle. 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.


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 rotations at a distance from their community partner site. Housing costs remain the ultimate responsibility of the student. Students are encouraged to investigate housing costs prior to community partner site selection.

Injuries, Accidents, & 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 the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education as soon as possible. A needlestick protocol checklist and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) guideline is provided. See the ATSU-SOMA Needlestick and Bloodborne Pathogens Policy for additional details.

Safety Issues

ATSU-SOMA utilizes the RAVE system to notify students in all academic years of safety and emergency issues. All students must remain enrolled in the RAVE system while attending ATSU-SOMA. In addition, every site will have a local 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, the student should follow the site’s emergency plan and the direction of their site supervisor. As soon as it is safe and feasible, the student should notify the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education and their RDME(s) regarding their status. Students are required to become familiar with the safety procedures that are established at each of the community partner sites.

Professional Conduct

Students are under the supervision of, and responsible to, the ATSU-SOMA Administration, 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.

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 no later than April 1 of their graduation year.

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

AOA Code of Ethics

ATSU-SOMA students, faculty, staff, and administration have all adopted and adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics, as written below:

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Code of Ethics is a document that applies to all physicians who practice osteopathically throughout the continuum of their careers, from enrollment in osteopathic medical college/school through post graduate training and the practice of osteopathic medicine. It embodies principles that serve as a guide to the prudent physician. It seeks to transcend the economic, political, and religious biases, when dealing with patients, fellow physicians, and society. It is flexible in nature in order to permit the AOA to consider all circumstances, both anticipated and unanticipated. The physician/patient relationship and the professionalism of the physician are the basis for this document.

The AOA has formulated this Code to guide its member physicians in their professional lives. The standards presented are designed to address the osteopathic and allopathic physician’s ethical and professional responsibilities to patients, to society, to the AOA, to others involved in health care and to self.

Further, the AOA has adopted the position that physicians should play a major role in the development and instruction of medical ethics.

Section 1. The physician shall keep in confidence whatever she/he may learn about a patient in the discharge of professional duties. Information shall be divulged by the physician when required by law or when authorized by the patient.

Section 2. The physician shall give a candid account of the patient’s condition to the patient or to those responsible for the patient’s care.

Section 3. A physician-patient relationship must be founded on mutual trust, cooperation, and respect. The patient, therefore, must have complete freedom to choose her/his physician. The physician must have complete freedom to choose patients whom she/he will serve. However, the physician should not refuse to accept patients for reasons of discrimination, including, but not limited to, the patient’s race, creed, color, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. In emergencies, a physician should make her/his services available. View further interpretation.

Section 4. A physician is never justified in abandoning a patient. The physician shall give due notice to a patient or to those responsible for the patient’s care when she/he withdraws from the case so that another physician may be engaged.

Section 5. A physician should make a reasonable effort to partner with patients to promote their health and shall practice in accordance with the body of systematized and scientific knowledge related to the healing arts. A physician shall maintain competence in such systematized and scientific knowledge through study and clinical applications.

Section 6. The osteopathic medical profession has an obligation to society to maintain its high standards and, therefore, to continuously regulate itself. A substantial part of such regulation is due to the efforts and influence of the recognized local, state and national associations representing the osteopathic medical profession. A physician should maintain membership in and actively support such associations and abide by their rules and regulations.

Section 7. Under the law a physician may advertise, but no physician shall advertise or solicit patients directly or indirectly through the use of matters or activities which are false or misleading. View further interpretation.

Section 8. A physician shall not hold forth or indicate possession of any degree recognized as the basis for licensure to practice the healing arts unless she/he is actually licensed on the basis of that degree in the state or other jurisdiction in which she/he practices. A physician shall designate her/his osteopathic or allopathic credentials in all professional uses of her/his name. Indications of specialty practice, membership in professional societies, and related matters shall be governed by rules promulgated by the American Osteopathic Association. View further interpretation.

Section 9. A physician should not hesitate to seek consultation whenever she/he believes it is in the best interest of the patient.

Section 10. In any dispute between or among physicians involving ethical or organizational matters, the matter in controversy should first be referred to the appropriate arbitrating bodies of the profession.

Section 11. In any dispute between or among physicians regarding the diagnosis and treatment of a patient, the attending physician has the responsibility for final decisions, consistent with any applicable hospital rules or regulations.

Section 12. Any fee charged by a physician shall compensate the physician for services actually rendered. There shall be no division of professional fees for referrals of patients.

Section 13. A physician shall respect the law. When necessary a physician shall attempt to help to formulate the law by all proper means in order to improve patient care and public health.

Section 14. In addition to adhering to the foregoing ethical standards, a physician shall recognize a responsibility to participate in community activities and services.

Section 15. It is considered sexual misconduct for a physician to have sexual contact with any patient with whom a physician-patient relationship currently exists.

Section 16. Sexual harassment by a physician is considered unethical. Sexual harassment is defined as physical or verbal intimation of a sexual nature involving a colleague or subordinate in the workplace or academic setting, when such conduct creates an unreasonable, intimidating, hostile or offensive workplace or academic setting.

Section 17. From time to time, industry may provide some AOA members with gifts as an inducement to use their products or services. Members who use these products and services as a result of these gifts, rather than simply for the betterment of their patients and the improvement of the care rendered in their practices, shall be considered to have acted in an unethical manner. View further interpretation.

Section 18. A physician shall not intentionally misrepresent himself/herself or his/her research work in any way.

Section 19. When participating in research, a physician shall follow the current laws, regulations and standards of the United States or, if the research is conducted outside the United States, the laws, regulations and standards applicable to research in the nation where the research is conducted. This standard shall apply for physician involvement in research at any level and degree of responsibility, including, but not limited to, research, design, funding, participation either as examining and/or treating provider, supervision of other staff in their research, analysis of data and publication of results in any form for any purpose.