Jun 13, 2024  
2020-2021 ATSU University Catalog 
2020-2021 ATSU University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona

Welcome to the 2020 - 2021 Academic Year!

Whether you are an entering student, a returning student, or an applicant who is looking for more information about ATSU-SOMA, you will find that ATSU-SOMA is a unique osteopathic medical school with an important vision: To improve the delivery of distinctly osteopathic healthcare to underserved populations through innovative selection, training, and placement of graduates, leading to improved well-being for the individual and community. 

ATSU-SOMA’s innovative program combines our clinical presentation curriculum with contextual learning by embedding our osteopathic medical students (OMS) within one of our community health center (CHC) partner sites in years two through four (OMS II – IV). This early clinical exposure, working with underserved patients as part of the healthcare team, provides ATSU-SOMA students with an enriched contextual learning experience during the didactic portion of the OMS II curriculum and increases their level of confidence as they move into the clinical training portion of years three and four.

From the beginning, ATSU-SOMA’s focus has been to train students who have demonstrated an interest in primary care and a passion for working with underserved populations. Although ATSU-SOMA’s program is relatively new, we are already seeing significant success with 99% residency placement rates, approximately 70% of graduates entering primary care specialties and over 85% entering “specialties of need” as identified by the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). ATSU-SOMA’s residency training creation, in partnership with the Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education, of an innovative national network CHC-based family medicine residency program at multiple locations across the country is further evidence of our commitment to this focus.

As you begin this academic year, be sure to remember that you are the future of medicine and will play a critical role in being part of the solution to our nation’s healthcare needs. I wish you all the best for both personal and professional success this year!

Jeffrey W. Morgan, DO, MA, FACOI
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, students must 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. If the student has followed the complete appeals process and the student believes that the complaint provides evidence that the school is not following accreditation standards and procedures the student may consult with the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation at 142 E. Ontario St., Chicago, IL 60611. 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 has been granted a Certificate of License to Operate an Institution of Higher Education from the District of Columbia Education Licensure Commission in accordance with the provisions of Title 38, Chapter 13, of the District of Columbia Official Code (D.C. Official Code .§38-1301 et seq.) and applicable regulations of the DC Education Licensure Commission. D.C. Higher Education Licensure Commission, 1050 First Street, NE, Washington, DC  20002.

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 Operating Authority in the Chicago Region 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.

ATSU-SOMA is licensed by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, 1122 Lady Street, Suite 300, 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 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.

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 to 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 the profession with loyalty in action, word and deed; and
  • 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

Jeffrey W Morgan, DO, MA, FACOI

Deborah M Heath, DO
Associate Dean of Curricular Integration

Sharon Obadia, DO, FNAOME
Associate Dean of Clinical Education & Services

Valerie Sheridan, DO, FACOS, FACS
Assistant Dean of Clinical Education, Assessment and Outcomes

Rupal Vora, MD, FACP
Assistant Dean, Student Achievement

ATSU-SOMA School Policies

Minimal Technical Standards for Admission and Matriculation

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.

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. Minimal Technical Standards for Matriculation are a guide to accommodation of students with disabilities. 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.

  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.

Additional Information

Records and communications regarding disabilities and academic adjustments with the Director of Learning and Disability Resources have no bearing on the application process. You may contact the director at Learning and Disability Resources, A.T. Still University of Health Sciences, 800 W. Jefferson Street, Kirksville, MO 63501, disabilityresources@atsu.edu, or by phone at 660.626.2774.

Applying for Academic Adjustments

The institution remains open to possibilities of human potential and achievement, providing support for students with disabilities. The Vice President for Student Affairs is responsible for the administration of and compliance with the Technical Standards and Academic Adjustments Policy  (ATSU Policy #20-110) through the Director of Learning and Disability Resources. Please see the University Student Handbook for information on how to apply for academic adjustments, or email disabilityresources@atsu.edu.


Each ATSU-SOMA student is assigned a primary Mesa faculty advisor, a secondary Mesa faculty advisor, and RDME faculty advisor(s). 

  • The Mesa primary faculty advisor is the student’s main support and contact during the OMS I year and continues to provide guidance for the duration of the student’s tenure at ATSU-SOMA.
  • RDME faculty advisors serve the primary advising role in OMS II-IV years (and are additionally available for guidance as needed during the student’s OMS I year).
  • The secondary Mesa faculty advisor may provide additional student support and is selected based upon the student’s CHC assignment.

The roles of a faculty advisor include:

  • Assisting students with the policies and practices of ATSU.
  • Addressing questions or concerns regarding course requirements and expectations, performance criteria, academic standing, and professionalism.
  • Providing feedback on student progress in course and/or clinical requirements, faculty expectations, graduate competencies and program goals.
  • Providing support for student personal and professional growth. This support may include referrals to Student Affairs or external sources as needed.
  • Discussing academic performance in an effort to optimize learner success.
  • Assisting students deemed to be at-risk by providing guidance and support.

Students must meet with their faculty advisor at least once per semester in the first and second year and once per year in the third and fourth year to promote professional development and self-reflection. Advisees are required to complete a self-assessment prior to these once-per-semester mandatory advising meetings. Advisees will be notified by the Assessment Team of the time during which they are required to schedule their advisor/advisee meetings. Students are expected to contact their faculty advisor as soon as they are notified. Failure to do so may be considered a professionalism violation. It is the student’s responsibility to contact their advisor when issues need to be discussed at other times.


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 Assistant or Associate Dean of Curricular Integration and/or their designee.

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. Any missed mandatory activity must have an Excused Absence Request form submitted with proper documentation to SOMAabsences@atsu.edu in order to receive approval for an absence. There are separate forms for the OMS I and OMS II classes.

1. Medical Absences:

a. OMS Is- Submit the Excused Absence Request form with documentation to SOMAabsences@atsu.edu 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.

b. OMS IIs- Must report each day of absence to the RDME(s). Submit the Excused Absence Request form with documentation to SOMAabsences@atsu.edu as soon as you become aware that you will be absent. The absence form must have the RDME(s) approval signature and necessary documentation (e.g. health care provider or hospital note, or course director or RDME(s) permission) when submitting to SOMAabsences@atsu.edu.

2. Unplanned Non-Medical Absences:

a. OMS Is- Submit the Excused Absence Request form with documentation to SOMAabsences@atsu.edu as soon as you become aware that you will be absent.

b. OMS IIs- Inform your RDME(s) as soon as you become aware that you will be absent. Submit the Excused Absence Request form with documentation to SOMAabsences@atsu.edu as soon as possible. Copy your RDME(s) on this email.

Examples of that documentation include:

  1. Family member’s illness or medical procedure: Official documentation regarding the medical issue (e.g. letter from physician, hospital record, etc.)
  2. 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
  3. Flight cancellation: Documentation provided of the flight from the airline

3. Planned Absences:

(Must be submitted at least 2 weeks prior to the event. Earlier than 2 weeks is preferred.)

Requests cannot be used for exam days (didactic exams, practicals, 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.

a. OMS Is- Six personal days/year permitted. Submit the Excused Absence Request form with documentation to SOMAabsences@atsu.edu.

b. OMS IIs- Four personal days/year permitted. The Excused Absence Request form must have RDME(s) approval and signature with documentation. Submit to SOMAabsences@atsu.edu.

c. 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.

d. Typical examples include: 

1. Religious holidays: A program, bulletin, or other printed item from the religious observance held on the day of absence

2. Weddings: Wedding invitations, proof of being in a wedding party

3. Conferences: Conference schedules (must be in good academic standing in order to attend)

4. Medical Mission trip: Additional forms and approvals are required (must be in good academic standing to attend). Please contact the International Club advisor for additional information on requirements.

4. Excused/non excused absences: 

a. 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.

b. 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.

5. Make-up for excused absences:

a. 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)

b. For all other activities, a student should contact the course director(s) or RDME(s) to schedule the make-up activity.

c. 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 Curricular Integration for an “incomplete” in the course.

Any exceptions must be approved by the Associate Dean of 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.

Make-up for excused absences:

If the Assistant or Associate Dean of Curricular Integration 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 Assistant or Associate Dean of Curricular Integration 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. Finally, 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 CHC-based OMS II students

  1. Remember to report each day that you are absent to the RDME(s) at your CHC and electronically copy your RDME(s) when sending excused absence requests to ATSU-SOMA absences@atsu.edu.
  2. If an OMS II wishes to participate in any academic activity at a CHC other than their assigned site, an excused absence request must be submitted to ATSU-SOMA absences@atsu.edu 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 CHC unless approved by the Assistant or Associate Dean of Curricular Integration. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in disciplinary action and/or referral to the Student Performance Committee.

CHC-based OMS III and OMS IV

Clerkship activities are mandatory and timely attendance is expected at all scheduled clinical and educational events.

All students receive flex-time throughout the OMS III and OMS IV years. Flex-time may be used for vacation, non-credit academic study, residency interviews or conference time to avoid absence days.


  1. An OMS III or OMS IV may request a pre-arranged or emergency-related schedule change during clinical rotations for personal, emergency, compassionate, professional, or health related reasons. 
  • It is the responsibility of the student to contact the RDME(s) and the site/preceptor prior to the schedule change request to identify the make-up time arrangement. The RDME(s) will grant approval of such a schedule change.
  •  If clinical make-up time is not arranged or in the event that a rotation does not provide time to be utilized for make-up days, the student will be given a case study assignment topic* from the RDME(s). The case study* as described below is to be completed 14 days after the completion of the rotation. 
  • It will be the responsibility of the RDME(s) to track each student’s approved schedule changes within their CHC for competency and safety reasons. This information is to be presented to ATSU-SOMA CED only if requested. 
  • If the student neglects to complete or perform the make-up time or the case study assignment(s), the absence will be unexcused and the student will be referred to the SPC for a professionalism violation.
  1. The following excused absences will not require clinical make-up days unless specified by the RDME(s). These days may not be taken on the day of Grand Rounds or the day prior to a COMAT/End of Rotation or COMLEX/USMLE exam unless approved by the RDME(s). These days MUST be pre-approved by the RDME(s).

PERSONAL DAYS–Each OMS III and OMS IV student is allowed three days per year. It is the responsibility of the student to contact their preceptor to let them know they will be absent that day, after the RDME(s) has approved the request. These days may not be used consecutively and no more than two per rotation block may be used without approval from the RDME(s). Generally, no documentation is required unless requested by the RDME(s) or ATSU-SOMA.

These personal days can be utilized for the following reasons:

  • Personal illness, family member’s illness (including surgeries), mental health day (does not include day before ANY exam), religious holidays, weddings, major family functions, funerals or bereavement days, additional interview or conference days (including travel).
  • Personal day requests approved by the RDME(s) are to be submitted to the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education (for recording purposes) as approved.
  1. The following absence requests must be sent to and approved by the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education. Once approved, these absences will not require clinical make-up days unless specified. Supporting documentation is REQUIRED for these absences. Requested days may not be taken on the day of Grand Rounds or the day prior to a COMAT/End of Rotation or COMLEX/USMLE exam unless approved. All required documentation items, including an excused absence form, are to be submitted with the absence request. Once approved and documented, the requests will be forwarded to the RDME(s) for final approval. It remains the student’s responsibility to collaborate with the preceptor regarding missed rotation days. These days are specific to each OMS year and are not cumulative. These include:
  • INTERVIEW DAYS– OMS IV’s are allowed four days; however, no more than two days may be taken per rotation block. 
    Documentation examples: Email or letter/invite from site coordinator or Program Director.
  • CONFERENCE DAYS – Conference day requests must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the event.
    Documentation may include a copy of the conference registration or invitation to present a poster/give a presentation or proof of necessary attendance as an organizational officer.
    • OMS III’s are allowed two conference days. They cannot be taken during a CORE rotation without approval from the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education. All student officers and representatives in each CHC must know the conferences they are requested or required to attend per their position and plan their schedules accordingly using flex-time if necessary. 
      **Typical conference student attendance may include the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) House of Delegates (HOD) meeting every July and the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) meeting every August for poster and research presentations. Any additional requested conference days throughout the OMS III year MUST be approved by the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education and will require make-up time or a case presentation assignment.
    • OMS IV’s are allowed three conference days. They cannot be taken during a CORE rotation without approval from the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education. They may be taken consecutively if approved by the RDME(s); however, students may not have more than three absence days per rotation block. Any additional requested conference days throughout the OMS IV year MUST be approved by the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education and will require make-up time or a case study assignment.
  1. COMLEX/USMLE exams
  • Students are permitted a 24-hour excused absence to take COMLEX Level 2 CE/USMLE 2CK exams if a request is submitted to the CED at least 10 business days in advance of the examination date. This absence does not require clinical make-up time.
  • Students are permitted a 72-hour excused absence from rotation if out-of-state travel is required for taking the COMLEX Level 2-PE exam if a request is submitted at least 10 business days in advance of the examination date. If taking the exam in state while on rotation, a 24-hour excused absence to take the COMLEX Level 2-PE exam will be permitted if a request is submitted at least 10 business days in advance of the examination date. This absence does not require clinical make-up time.
  1. Regardless of approved absences for any reason, no more than three days can be missed in any four-week rotation block or more than two days in any two-week rotation block; or a failure of the rotation will result, and the rotation will need to be repeated. It remains the student’s responsibility to collaborate with their preceptor regarding missed days to ensure the appropriate documentation from the preceptor occurs on the student’s evaluation.
  2. Failure to comply with any of the above-stated requirements may result in disciplinary action and/or referral to the SPC.
  3. Unexcused absences will be referred to the SPC as a professionalism violation.
  4. Absences greater than 5 days for any reason will require an ‘Extended Absence Form’ or ‘Personal Withdrawal’ per the University Student Handbook. These forms must be obtained from and submitted to the Student Affairs Office.

*Any student receiving a case study assignment MUST notify their respective CEC in the CED of the date the case was assigned. 

The case study assignment topics will be chosen by the RDME(s) for every missed clinical day of rotation that cannot be made up. They will be consistent across CHCs with a consistent template and grading rubric. The case study assignment will be in the missed rotation discipline. It will be assigned by the RDME(s) if the absence is identified during the rotation. The assignment is to be completed and submitted to the RDME(s) and the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education within 14 days of the end of the rotation. If an absence is identified and cannot be verified on the student evaluation, the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education will assign a case study topic for each missed day without verification. This assignment will be due 14 days after assigned by the RDME(s) and the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education. It will be completed by the student based on the topic they are given. It will have defined objectives, which will include providing five differential diagnoses and five plans for each of the differential diagnoses. They will also need to prepare a board-style question about the case and provide the correct answer and explanations about why the choices are correct or incorrect. The grading rubric will be standard for all student case assignments. It will be a P/F grade and will not count toward their overall clerkship grade for CORE rotations; yet, their final clerkship grade will not be submitted to Enrollment Services until the case study assignment is completed and graded. If a Fail grade is given, the assignment must be repeated with a different topic assigned by the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education (as a learning experience) or the student may be referred to the SPC if the assignment is NOT completed.


Flex-time is defined as the time during the OMS III and IV years when a student is not on clerkships (clinical rotations). Often, flex-time is used to fill in the gap between the end date of one rotation and the start date of the next rotation. Flex-time can also be used for a variety of other purposes including vacation, non-credit academic study, residency interviews, etc. Flex-time may NOT be used to take additional clinical rotations. Depending on the academic calendar in a given year, students generally have 12 weeks of flex-time during the two clerkship years. Flex-time must be taken in increments of one-week blocks (no partial weeks) and can include multiple consecutive weeks.If approved, students may take up to three consecutive weeks of flex-time.   

Students wishing to schedule flex-time must discuss this with their RDME(s) and if approved, submit a request to the Clinical Education Department (CED). If approved by the CED, the flex-time will be entered into the student’s schedule by the Clinical Education Coordinator (CEC). Any student wishing to take more than three consecutive weeks of flex-time must seek additional approval from the assistant dean of clinical education, assessment and outcomes. If approved, after four weeks of flex-time the student must enroll in a Directed Studies course, or take a leave from school approved by the dean of ATSU-SOMA.  

Class Schedules

ATSU-SOMA classes are generally scheduled between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday thru Friday. Please check individual course syllabi and class schedules for specific class times. When class times must be changed due to circumstances beyond the control of ATSU-SOMA, every effort will be made to provide as much advanced notification as possible. Official ATSU holidays are published in the Academic Calendar; students are advised to check this calendar prior to making travel plans for holidays and time away from campus. Occasionally, it is necessary to schedule class activities on evenings or weekend days. Every attempt will be made to provide as much advanced notice as possible for these activities.

Occasionally classes may end early or run late or other circumstances may occur that will cause some lapse in the published schedule. Students are advised to maintain access to study materials during these periods so that time may be utilized productively. Please be advised that faculty are directed to begin and end classes on the published ATSU-SOMA schedule.

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 Skin Test: Students must have had a tuberculosis skin test (PPD) or a Quantiferon blood test within the year prior to matriculation. In those individuals who have had a positive PPD test in the past, PPD testing is not advisable. The Quantiferon test, a negative CXR, or a record of INH treatment may provide evidence of absence of TB disease. In individuals who have had BCG vaccination, PPD testing or the Quantiferon should be performed as noted above. TB status must be updated annually.
  6. Varicella immunization, serum titer, or healthcare provider documentation of date of contraction.

Recommended Immunizations (some clinical training sites may require some of 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.

Immunization Exemptions:

Under certain religious or health circumstances, a request for exemption from preventive health requirements may be provisionally granted. However, ATSU-SOMA cannot guarantee placement at a CHC or in clinical clerkships (rotations) when this exemption is granted, as some sites may require immunizations to begin rotations. Consequently, students receiving an exemption from preventive health requirements may take longer to complete the curriculum and graduate, or the student may not be able to complete the curriculum and graduate.

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. These requirements may only be met using an online course if it is a certification renewal. First-time certification must be completed via a live 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 CHC may make modifications to the official Dress Code that conform to regional standards. Students are responsible to check with the CHC 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 in the writing 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. Evidence shows 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, they share equal importance to academic and manual 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.

During this pandemic, it is of utmost importance for every student to recognize the importance of professional behavioral choices. Preceptors, clinics, and hospital systems expect behaviors from medical students that will not endanger their patients or staff. With the potential threat to life for some that become positive with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, all clinical learning environments are on high alert with adding medical students to their practices. Therefore, student choices during ‘off hours’ are just as important as those made during rotational duty hours. As future physicians who have achieved COVID-19 training, it is expected that students are able to identify the pandemic-associated potential dangers to themselves and others. Students are expected to respect the opportunity to further their knowledge and professional growth while keeping themselves and others in the clinical learning environments and community safe.

Below is a list of minimal expectations of professionalism for ATSU-SOMA students. Each member of ATSU-SOMA should model these behaviors to ensure quality patient care and growth of the profession. In addition to the expectations below, students are also expected to adhere to the ATSU Code of Academic Conduct as described in this catalog and the ATSU Code of Behavioral Standards as described in the ATSU Student Handbook.


  • 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.
  • 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 and representatives; respects faculty and colleagues during teaching sessions.
  • Adheres to local dress code.
  • 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 called or when pages, emails or phone calls are sent.
  • Intervenes when unprofessional behavior presents a clear and present danger.
  • Uses resources effectively.
  • Responds appropriately to an impaired colleague.
  • Reacts to 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.
  • Provides 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.

Students are expected to adhere to the highest standards of the osteopathic profession.

Community Health Centers

Assignment to CHC Location

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

Placement at a CHC is considered a permanent assignment. It is only under extraordinary circumstances that transfer from one CHC to another will be considered. Requests for transfer and questions about CHCs 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 CHCs prior to their indication of interest in attending that CHC.

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 CHC. 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 CHC selection.

Community Health Center General Policies and Procedures

Injuries and Accidents

Any student who sustains an injury or bloodborne pathogen exposure while on their clinical experience must notify their RDME(s) as soon as possible. A needle-stick protocol checklist and post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) guideline is provided on the eValue homepage. See the ATSU-SOMA Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Needlestick Policy (pdf)  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 CHC. 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 CHC faculty, including the RDME(s) and clinical preceptors. The student may be subject to review and removed from the CHC by the ATSU-SOMA administration if their conduct is deemed unsafe or inappropriate by the faculty at the CHC.

Student Responsibilities at the Community Health Center

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 CHC RDME(s) for both didactic courses and clinical courses. The student is expected to attend conferences, rounds, and clinics assigned by the CHC 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 CHC faculty.

Community Health Center Responsibility to the Student

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

Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)

The Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE), previously the “Dean’s Letter”, is a document utilized in the residency application process. It serves as an evaluation of a medical student’s performance  and describes, in a sequential manner, a student’s performance through three full years of medical school and, as much as possible, the fourth year. As per the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), “the purpose of the MSPE is not to advocate for the student, but rather to provide an honest and objective summary of the student’s personal attributes, experiences, and academic accomplishments based, to the greatest degree possible, on verifiable information and summative evaluations.” Once the MSPE draft has been created for each student, students will be provided the opportunity to review their MSPE and correct factual errors in the MSPE, but not to revise evaluative statements in the MSPE. The national release date for the MSPE to residency programs is October 1 of the student’s final academic year preceding the match(es). 

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.


ATSU-SOMA uses Echo360 for video and audio recording of many didactic presentations for later playback; however, as with any technology, the Echo360 system may not work at times. ATSU-SOMA will notify students via ATSU e-mail when the Echo360 is unavailable. The student is always responsible for the material covered in a session, even if an Echo360 recording is not available. Echo360 is not intended to serve as an alternative to classroom 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.


    Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine