Apr 14, 2024  
2022-23 ATSU University Catalog 
    
2022-23 ATSU University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Osteopathic Medicine, DO (SOMA)


Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (SOMA)


The ATSU-SOMA curriculum is aligned with the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Seven Osteopathic Core Competencies for Medical Students. Under each of these competency domains, there are measurable curricular goals which, upon student attainment and completion, indicate competence in the domain. These curricular goals broadly shape and define the courses and clerkships (clinical rotations) within the four-year ATSU-SOMA curriculum. For each curricular goal, there are accompanying learning activities, whose purpose is to help students achieve the goal and learn course content. Each learning activity is guided by a set of specific, measurable learning objectives that state what the student will accomplish during the activity.

  1. Osteopathic Principles & Practices
    “Graduates must demonstrate knowledge of osteopathic principles and practice (OPP), and they must exhibit and apply knowledge of somatic dysfunction diagnosis and osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) in clinical settings.”
    • Demonstrate and communicate knowledge of osteopathic principles and osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT) including the scientific basis and physical findings of somatic dysfunction as well as the mechanism of action, indications, contraindications, and basic application of OMT.
    • Perform and document a complete and appropriately focused osteopathic structural examination in a respectful, logical, and organized manner.
    • Apply osteopathic principles and OMT consistently and appropriately into specific patient care plans.
    • Demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to integrate osteopathic principles and practice into all aspects of whole person healthcare.
  2. Clinical Skills & Osteopathic Patient Care
    “Graduates must demonstrate effective use of motor and cognitive skills in diagnosis, management and prevention of common health problems encountered in patient care within a variety of clinical settings and across the lifespan.”
    • Elicit a comprehensive and appropriately focused history and generate a list of a patient’s concerns in a respectful, rationale and organized manner.
    • Perform a complete and appropriately focused physical examination in a respectful, rationale and organized manner; and correlate abnormal findings to clinical presentations and disease processes.
    • Perform basic clinical procedures essential for general osteopathic medical practice.
    • Utilize clinical reasoning strategies to accurately diagnose medical conditions originating from common clinical presentations.
    • Determine and implement evidence-based clinical intervention plans and management strategies, while monitoring their effectiveness and adjusting appropriately.
    • Incorporate health education counseling, preventive medicine approaches, and health promotion strategies during patient encounters.
  3. Medical Knowledge
    “Graduates must demonstrate knowledge and application of osteopathic, biomedical, clinical, epidemiological, biomechanical, social and behavioral sciences in the context of patient-centered care.”
    • Recognize and explain normal structure and function across the lifespan.
    • Identify and explain the molecular, biochemical and cellular mechanisms that support normal structure and function.
    • Distinguish between the mechanisms of disease pathogenesis, describe their impact on the body, and relate them to patient signs and symptoms.
    • Explain and apply principles of contemporary therapeutics, including osteopathic, surgical, pharmacologic, molecular, biologic, behavioral and contemporary/alternative.
    • Interpret diagnostic studies and correlate abnormal findings to disease states.
    • Describe the epidemiology of common disease states within a defined population, and the systematic approaches useful in reducing the incidence and prevalence of those disease states.
  4. Professionalism
    “Graduates must demonstrate through knowledge, behavior and attitudes, a commitment to the highest standards of competence, ethics, integrity, and accountability to patients, society and the osteopathic profession.”
    • Demonstrate respect, altruism, compassion, interest, integrity, honesty, accountability and trustworthiness in all interactions with patients, their families, faculty, staff, peers and colleagues.
    • Apply ethical decision making in all aspects of professional practice.
    • Demonstrate awareness, sensitivity and responsiveness to culture, socio-economic status, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, and mental/physical disabilities of patients, their families, faculty, staff, peers and colleagues.
    • Demonstrate professional work behaviors such as punctuality, appropriate appearance, accepting responsibility for errors, and maintaining professional boundaries.
    • Demonstrate a commitment to continuous professional development, learning, and internal & external assessment.
  5. Interpersonal and Communication Skills
    “Graduates must demonstrate the knowledge, behaviors and attitudes that facilitate accurate and efficient information gathering, empathetic rapport building, and effective information giving in interactions with patients, their families and colleagues of the inter-professional health care team.”
    • Document and record patient information in an accurate, organized, and confidential manner appropriate to the clinical situation and present relevant aspects of a patient’s case in a logical, articulate fashion both orally and in writing.
    • Work effectively and collaboratively with patients, their families and colleagues of the inter-professional healthcare team in providing whole person healthcare.
    • Demonstrate effective and appropriate active listening, verbal, non-verbal, and written and electronic communication skills when dealing with patients, their families, faculty, staff, peers and colleagues of the inter-professional health care team.
  6. Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
    “Graduates must demonstrate the ability to apply scientific theory and methodology and exhibit the critical thinking skills essential for integrating evidence-based principles and practice into patient care.”
    • Apply fundamental biostatistical and epidemiologic concepts to practice-based learning and improvement.
    • Conduct a systematic review of literature on basic and clinical science research and critically synthesize the results for relevance and validity.
    • Describe the clinical significance of and apply strategies for integrating best medical evidence into clinical practice.
    • Identify, describe and apply systematic methods relating to continuous evaluation of osteopathic clinical practice patterns, practice-base improvements, and the reduction of medical errors.
    • Integrate technology into the practice of medicine and the delivery of healthcare services.
  7. Systems-Based Practice
    “Graduates must demonstrate awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and systems of health care, and effectively identify system resources to advocate for and maximize the health of the individual and the community or population at large.”
    • Demonstrate knowledge of health delivery systems that affect the practice of an osteopathic physician and how delivery systems influence the utilization of resources and access to health care.
    • Demonstrate knowledge of how patient care and professional practices affect other health care professionals, health care organizations, and society.
    • Demonstrate the ability to work effectively in a variety of health care systems (with an emphasis on community health care) and provide quality patient care while advocating for the best interests of patients.
    • Demonstrate the ability to implement safe, effective, timely, patient-centered and equitable systems of care in a team-oriented environment.

AOA Code of Ethics

All ATSU-SOMA students, faculty, administrators, and staff must adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics.

Community Partner Sites

A unique feature of ATSU-SOMA’s education program is its emphasis on contextual learning in community healthcare settings. Beginning in the second year (OMS II year), students are stationed at one of the community partner sites listed below. Each of these locations has dedicated classroom space for didactic instruction and facilitation, OPP training, and clinical skills application and practice. These classrooms are equipped with web connectivity and video conferencing capabilities so that academic interaction can occur with the Mesa campus faculty and with the other community partner sites.  ATSU-SOMA’s community partnerships include:

  • ATSU Santa Maria: Santa Maria, California
  • Adelante Healthcare: Mesa, Arizona
  • Beaufort Jasper Hampton Comprehensive Health Services: Ridgeland, South Carolina
  • El-Rio CHC: Tucson, Arizona
  • Family HealthCare Network: Visalia, California
  • HealthPoint CHC: Renton, Washington
  • HealthSource of Ohio: Mt. Orab, Ohio
  • Near North Health Service Corporation: Chicago, Illinois
  • North Country Health Care: Flagstaff, Arizona
  • North Central Texas Community Health Care Center: Wichita Falls, Texas
  • NWRPCA (Northwest Regional Primary Care Association): Portland, Oregon
  • San Ysidro Health Center: San Ysidro, California 
  • SIHF Healthcare (Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation): Alton, Illinois
  • Family Health Centers at NYU Langone: Brooklyn, New York
  • The Wright Center for Community Health: Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • Waianae Coast CHC: Waianae, Hawaii

Length of Program

The Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program can be completed in four years, and must be completed within six years from the date of matriculation. The curriculum is comprised of a minimum of 243.6 semester credit hours.

Tuition, Fees, and Refunds

Tuition is due twice a year at ATSU. It is due at the beginning of the first and second semesters. Each payment is half the cost for the entire year. Tuition may be paid any time during the week that it is due. Delinquent tuition penalties accrue at 1.5% per month, which is 18% per year.

Class/Year Tuition Student Technology Fee Medical Equipment Fee
Class of 2026, year 1 $62,526 $1,150 $1,000
Class of 2025, year 2 $62,526 $1,150  
Class of 2024, year 3 $62,526 $1,150  
Class of 2023, year 4 $62,526 $1,150  

Refunds

A.T. Still University adheres to a fair and equitable refund policy consistent with the requirements established by the U.S. Department of Education. More details may be found in the Financial Policies  section of this catalog under Refund Information.

Admissions

Application process

ATSU-SOMA uses the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS). AACOMAS provides centralized services including data collection, analysis, and distribution of the online primary application to osteopathic medical schools the applicant designates. Please visit www.aacom.org or contact AACOMAS at aacomasinfo@liaisoncas.com or via phone at 617-612-2889.

Application Deadline

The deadline for submission of the AACOMAS application is March 1; however due to ATSU-SOMA’s rolling admissions process and early admission decisions, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early.

Upon review of the AACOMAS application, ATSU-SOMA will send qualified applicants a secondary (supplemental) application. A non-refundable application fee, at least one letter of recommendation (LOR) from a science faculty member (or from the pre-medical committee), and at least one LOR from a physician (strong preference for a letter from a D.O.) must be submitted with the secondary application.

The deadline for submission of the secondary (supplemental) application is April 1. Due to ATSU-SOMA’s rolling admissions process and early admission decisions, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for admission to the first-year DO class must meet the following requirements prior to matriculation.

  1. The applicant must have achieved a minimum 2.8 cumulative grade-point average (GPA) and a minimum 2.8 science GPA on a 4.0 scale.
  2. Applicants must have completed a Bachelor of Arts or Science from a US college or university accredited by a US Department of Education institutional accreditor.
  3. Applicants must have successfully completed one full academic year (or equivalent) with a grade (or equivalent) of “C-” or better in each of the following courses prior to matriculation:
    • English
    • Biology/Zoology (with laboratory)
    • Inorganic/General Chemistry (with laboratory)
    • Physics (with laboratory)
    • Organic Chemistry (with laboratory)
    • Additionally, ATSU-SOMA strongly recommends the following elective courses:
      • Anatomy
      • Behavioral Science
      • Biochemistry
      • Genetics
      • Immunology
      • Microbiology
      • Molecular Biology
      • Multicultural Studies
      • Physiology
      • Public Health/Epidemiology
  4. Applicants are required to submit scores from the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The exam must have been taken within three years of application.
  5. Matriculants are required to submit complete official transcripts from each school attended by the date of matriculation.
  6. ATSU-SOMA and many of its clinical affiliations require criminal background checks on matriculants and students to ensure the safety of patients and employees. The checks are conducted by a vendor selected by ATSU. The student will pay the cost of the criminal background check directly to the vendor. Failure to comply with this mandate will result in denial to matriculate. A matriculant with a positive criminal background screen will be reviewed.
  7. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  8. Applicants must be fluent in the oral and written use of English.
  9. Applicants must have basic computer literacy.

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and Master of Public Health Dual Degree

With ATSU’s dual Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and Master of Public Health program, students earn their Master of Public Health (MPH) through ATSU’s College of Graduate Health Studies (ATSU-CGHS) while completing their DO degree at ATSU-SOMA. Students trained in ATSU-SOMA’s innovative community partner model will be well prepared for a medical career in public health venues. The MPH requires additional courses completed online via ATSU-CGHS. Applications to the MPH program are accepted toward the end of the students’ first year at ATSU-SOMA.

Students must meet the following criteria to apply for the DO/MPH dual degree:

  • Must have attended the introductory presentation.
  • Must be in good academic standing
  • Must have no course failures during the OMS I year

Once these criteria have been met, a letter of support must be obtained for the student from the ATSU-SOMA Dean. The student may then apply online via the ATSU website. There is no application fee for potential DO/MPH students.

Hometown Scholars Program

The National Association of Community Health Centers has a Hometown Scholars Program that identifies potential applicants who match the mission and values of ATSU-SOMA. Please visit www.atsu.edu/hometown-scholars for more details on the Hometown Scholars Program.

Transfer Student Admission

The curriculum model and structure of ATSU-SOMA does not allow for transfer student admission.

Transfer Credit

The curriculum model and structure of ATSU-SOMA does not allow for transfer course credit.

Transferability of Credits

The transferability of credits earned at ATSU 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 ATSU will be accepted by the receiving institution. Similarly, the ability of a degree, certificate, diploma, or other academic credential earned at ATSU 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 ATSU 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.

Advanced Standing Admission

The curriculum model and structure of ATSU-SOMA does not allow for the awarding of advanced standing into the School.

International Student Admission

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

Selection of Applicants

The ATSU-SOMA Admissions Committee seeks individuals who will be a good match to ATSU-SOMA’s mission and are capable of meeting ATSU-SOMA’s academic and professionalism standards. Applicants are screened for academic achievement, clinical involvement, interpersonal skills, leadership qualities, service, perseverance, maturity, motivation, and knowledge of the osteopathic profession. Applicants who pass this screening will be invited for an interview. The interview day is designed to be a two-way process to help the ATSU-SOMA Admissions Committee determine if the applicant is a good fit for ATSU-SOMA while enabling the applicant to determine if ATSU-SOMA is a good fit for the applicant. Attendance at an interview day is mandatory for admission unless other arrangements have been made by ATSU-SOMA.

Following the interview day, the Admissions Committee will review the applicant’s entire packet and determine the disposition of the application. The Admissions Committee will accept (with or without contingencies), reject, or place candidates on an alternate list. Applicants are notified of the Committee’s decision as soon as possible (usually within two weeks of the interview day).

An offer of acceptance is accompanied by assignment to a specific Community Partner Site (informally known as “CHC”). Successful applicants are granted a specified time period to notify the Office of Admissions of their intention to enroll. This letter of intent must be accompanied by payment of a non-refundable acceptance fee.

Admission after acceptance is subject to the satisfactory completion of all academic requirements. Admission to ATSU-SOMA may be revoked for fraud, misrepresentation, or other violation of University standards.

Matriculation Requirements

The following are required prior to attendance on the first day of class at ATSU-SOMA. Failure to comply with any of the listed requirements may lead to withdrawal of acceptance and will prevent a student from initially enrolling or remaining enrolled at ATSU-SOMA.

  1. Successful completion of a Bachelor of Arts or Science (B.A., B.S.) degree and all ATSU-SOMA prerequisite courses from a US college accredited by a US Department of Education institutional accreditor. This must be verified with submission of all final official transcripts to the ATSU Admission Office.
  2. Attendance at all ATSU-SOMA osteopathic medical student, year 1 (OMS I) orientation activities: These activities occur during the week prior to the first day of class.
  3. Background Check: ATSU-SOMA requires that entering students submit to and provide the results of background check prior to enrollment. Recognize that this is a minimum standard and that some clinical facilities may have additional requirements that students must meet prior to beginning clerkships (clinical rotations) at those sites. These requirements may include (but not be limited to) additional background checks and drug screening.
  4. Required Immunizations: ATSU-SOMA requires all entering students to provide proof of their immunizations in order to enroll in courses. Please see the Academic Standards, Guidelines, and Requirements section for the specific immunization requirements.
  5. Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification: 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.  Proof of Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification must be obtained prior to reporting for clerkship duty in the OMS III year. 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.

Grading Policy

ATSU-SOMA programs adhere to the University grading scale .

Student Performance Committee

Responsibilities and Membership

ATSU-SOMA’s Student Performance Committee (SPC) is a standing committee that evaluates the academic and professional performance and development of all ATSU-SOMA students and, when appropriate, imposes sanctions or forwards recommendations to the Dean as described below. The SPC ensures that all students meet the standards to progress through each year of the ATSU-SOMA curriculum and that each student has completed all graduation requirements. 

Lack of progress includes, but is not limited to, failure of one or multiple courses; failing the same course multiple times; failure to reach a minimum score on a Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Self-Assessment Examination (COMSAE); failure of  a Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX) examination; failure to make and sustain adequate progress in the attainment of the seven osteopathic competencies for medical students (osteopathic principles and practice, medical knowledge, patient care, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, practice-based learning and improvement, and systems-based practice); failure  to successfully complete assignments, logs, and assessments; or failure to perform successfully in clinical rotations.

Lack of progress includes, but is not limited to, failure of one or multiple courses; failing the same course multiple times; failure of a Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX); failure to make and sustain adequate progress in the attainment of the seven osteopathic competencies for medical students failure to successfully complete assignments, logs, and assessments; or failure to perform successfully in clinical rotations.

Referrals

An individual with a concern about a student’s academic or professional performance will refer the issue to the appropriate Assistant or Associate Dean(s), who then may refer the matter to the SPC.

Sanctions

The SPC can impose requirements, supports, and discipline appropriate to the circumstances. The committee may impose a reprimand, or place a student on Academic Warning or Academic Probation. The SPC Chair will typically notify the student of the outcome of their SPC meeting, in writing, within 7 days of the committee meeting.

The following sanctions may be imposed by the SPC:

Consultation – Consultations may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Mandated meetings with the Student Affairs Learning Advisors;
  • Mandated meetings with the student’s academic advisor or RDME(s);
  • Mandated counseling sessions with the University’s Mental Health Wellness Counselor or a mental health counselor of the student’s choice (at the student’s expense);
  • Educational psychology testing to evaluate the student’s cognitive ability to progress in medical school;
  • Evaluation by a physician, clinical psychologist or psychiatrist to determine the student’s ability to meet the technical standards of the program;
  • Evaluation and/or treatment by a healthcare provider for substance use disorders.

Academic Warning

  • Academic Warning is issued to a student who fails to meet ATSU-SOMA’s academic or professionalism standards. This may include a course failure, rotation failure, inability to meet the technical standards of the program, or first failure of COMLEX Level 1 or COMLEX Level 2 CE.
  • The purpose of the Academic Warning is to alert the student, faculty, and administration that the student has experienced difficulty, and that special consideration may be given for consultation, referral, counseling, academic assistance, or other activities to help the student resolve academic or professionalism deficiencies.
  • Students on Academic Warning may not serve in student club or class officer roles; be excused from curricular activities for professional development; or attend conferences or events sponsored by the college without explicit permission from the SPC Chair or their designee. These measures are employed to assist the student in concentrating on improvement in their academic progress. 
  • Once the deficiencies have been remediated by the student, the academic warning may be removed following review by the SPC and by written notification from the chair of the SPC at the end of the academic year.

Academic Probation

  • Academic Probation is imposed on any student who has violated ATSU-SOMA’s professionalism standards or who has multiple course failures, rotation failures, inability to meet the technical standards of the program, COMLEX Level 1, or COMLEX Level 2 CE failures.
  • The purpose of probation is to alert the student, faculty, and administration to the fact  that the student has experienced significant academic difficulty.
  • Students on Academic Probation may not serve in student club or class officer roles; be excused from curricular activities for professional development; or attend conferences or events sponsored by the college. These measures are employed to assist the student in concentrating on improvement in their academic progress.
  • Academic Probation is a permanent academic status and appears on the student’s Medical School Performance Evaluation (MSPE). If permitted, successful remediation of the failure or behavior may be changed internally within the school, to an appropriate status so the student may continue in future learning activities.

The Student Performance Committee can recommend the following actions to the Dean for review and consideration:

Suspension – Suspension is defined by ATSU as a temporary and immediate separation from the institution. The SPC and Dean will determine if the student will be eligible for reinstatement, the terms of the reinstatement, or if the student is to subsequently be dismissed from ATSU-SOMA. Students may be suspended for various causes including but not limited to:

  • Posing an immediate threat to the university community and/or to themselves
  • Engaging in illegal activities
  • Failure to comply with sanctions imposed by the school or the university
  • Failure to comply with university policy such that student, faculty, staff or patient safety is at risk

Dismissal – Dismissal is a permanent separation from the institution. Students may be dismissed for various causes including but not limited to:

  • Poor academic performance including multiple failures
  • Professionalism violations
  • Posing an immediate threat to the university community and/or to themselves 
  • Engaging in illegal activities 
  • Failure to comply with sanctions imposed by the school or the university 
  • Failure to comply with university policy such that student, faculty, staff or patient safety is at risk

Following a Student Performance Committee meeting, the student will be notified of the outcome by the SPC Chair in writing within seven calendar days. Decisions sanctioned by the SPC may be appealed to the Dean in writing, within seven calendar days of notification by the SPC Chair. See the appeal process below.

In the event of a SPC recommendation to the Dean for dismissal or suspension, the final decision and notification to the student will come directly from the Dean of ATSU-SOMA.

Right of Appeal

If the SPC sanctions a student, the student may then appeal that decision in writing to the Dean of ATSU-SOMA. A student’s appeal must be received no later than seven calendar days following receipt of the SPC letter. The appeal must include a statement of the reason(s) the action is unwarranted. The written appeal must be dated and signed by the student. Upon receiving the written appeal, the Dean may choose to meet with the student. The Dean will notify the student in writing of their decision concerning the appeal no later than seven calendar days following receipt of the student’s appeal. 

If the SPC recommends a Suspension or Dismissal to the Dean, and the decision is upheld by the dean the student has the ability to appeal the decision. Students who wish to appeal a Dean’s decision regarding suspension or dismissal should review the Academic Appeals Policy: Promotion and/or Dismissal Decisions .

Remediation Policy

Remediation for OMS I and OMS II

Remediation examinations for OMS I students will occur during the first week of the subsequent block or at the discretion of the Dean or designee. Remediation examinations for course failures in OMS II will take place during the earliest scheduled time after a course failure occurs. Scheduling a remediation program will be arranged with the course director and approved by the Dean or designee. 

Remediation for OMS III and OMS IV

All requirements of the clerkship must receive a passing score. In the event that a student fails one or more of the following components, the student will be referred to the SPC and successful remediation is required before a student can advance to the next stage of training. Once a Fail occurs, successful remediation of any component of a clerkship will result in a maximum final clerkship grade of R-Pass.  

Clerkship Remediations

All COCA accreditation and credentialing requirements must be followed as previously outlined. Any fees associated with the remediation of any clerkship rotation will be the responsibility of the student, including lodging, travel and rotation fees. If coursework and the end of rotation exam (if applicable) were successfully completed, they will not need to be repeated. Logs for remediation of Core rotations will be required. If an RDME/REC and student are unable to identify, secure and confirm a remediation rotation, the RDME must immediately notify the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education to assist in identifying and securing a remediation rotation.  

A student who fails a course remediation examination will be referred to the Student Performance Committee and is subject to dismissal.

Student Success 

Student success activities are managed by the Student Achievement team. This includes advising, learning support, COMLEX and USMLE preparation, and residency (GME) preparation.

Advising

Each ATSU-SOMA student is assigned a primary Mesa faculty advisor, and Regional Director of Medical Education (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 roles of a faculty advisor include:

  • Assisting students with the policies and practices of ATSU.
  • Addressing questions or concerns regarding 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 resources that are internal (e.g. Student Affairs, Enrollment Services, ATSU-SOMA faculty/administration) or external to ATSU 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 should 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. 

Academic Counseling

Academic counseling is available through the Student Achievement Team in SOMA and/or through the University Student Affairs LADR team. These teams can provide guidance in study skills, time management, and test taking skills. Faculty advisors and RDMEs also can support academic skill development. Additionally, licensing examination preparation is available through the OMS II Integrative Course and the Student Achievement Team. Academic counseling sessions for the entire class are held during PDSA weeks and throughout the academic year, as needed for all OMS years.

Behavioral Health Counseling

Please see the ATSU Student Handbook and the ATSU Website for information about our onsite counseling services and our 24-hour services through TimelyCare. Please see the ATSU Student Handbook and the ATSU Website for information about our onsite counseling services and our 24-hour services through TimelyCare.

Career Counseling

Career counseling is provided beginning in the OMS I year and prepares students to develop a robust GME application. Group sessions are held during PDSA weeks and throughout the academic year, as needed for all OMS years. Individual sessions may be scheduled through the Student Achievement Team.

All students have access to AAMC Careers in Medicine, Residency Explorer, AMA FREIDA, and the NRMP data. Specific guidance is provided for students participating in military GME and other special matching programs.

GME placement data can be found on the ATSU-SOMA website.

Financial Aid and Debt Management Counseling

Financial aid and debt management counseling is provided by ATSU Enrollment Services. All students participating in Federal Title IV Funding Programs receive mandatory counseling. Group sessions on debt management and other financial considerations are held during PDSA weeks and throughout the academic year, as needed. Individual counseling sessions are available by contacting enrollmentservices@atsu.edu.

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. 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, 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 typically the end of September of the student’s final academic year preceding the match(es).

Students’ Rights and Responsibilities

Students have the right to have support and assistance from the College in maintaining a climate conducive to thinking and learning. University teaching reflects consideration for the dignity of students and their rights as persons. Student or faculty mistreatment in the course of the teacher-learner environment will not be tolerated. Examples of behaviors or situations that are unacceptable include, but are not limited to:

  • Discrimination as described in the ATSU Non-Discrimination policy
  • Sexual harassment
  • Unwanted physical contact
  • Verbal abuse, profanity, or demeaning comments
  • Inappropriate or unprofessional criticism, which belittles, embarrasses, or humiliates
  • Unreasonable requests to perform personal services
  • Grading used to punish or reward a student for nonacademic activities rather than to evaluate performance
  • A pattern of intentional neglect or intentional lack of communication
  • Requiring students to perform tasks beyond their level of competency without supervision

COMLEX Policies

Passing Level 1 and Level 2 of the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX) from the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) is a graduation requirement. These examinations are the COMLEX Level 1 (COMLEX 1) and the COMLEX Level 2CE (COMLEX 2CE).

Students are required to take COMLEX during specific time-frames listed in the sections below. Students must be actively participating in curricular activities (e.g. not on a leave of absence) to sit for COMLEX. If a student is eligible to take COMLEX, and does not take it according to the scheduling requirements listed in this section, it is a professionalism violation and the student will be removed from clinical rotations until a passing score on the COMLEX is received. The student will be referred to the Student Performance Committee.

COMLEX Level 1

Students must take COMLEX 1 prior to the deadline provided by the COM Administration. A student is eligible to take COMLEX 1 if they have passed all OMS I and OMS II courses. The examination may be taken at any NBOME-approved testing center.

Under certain circumstances, such as in cases of overall poor academic performance, the student may require a delay in taking the COMLEX. The student will be placed in a Directed Studies course until the COMLEX Level I has been taken. All Directed Studies courses must be approved by the Associate Dean for Student Achievement.

COMLEX Level 1 First Failure

Failure of COMLEX Level 1 may significantly impact a student’s clinical rotation schedule and progression through the curriculum.

A student who fails the first attempt of COMLEX Level 1 is required to inform immediately the Student Achievement Team, their RDME(s), and their regional education coordinator (REC) when they are notified of their result. Based on the student’s past academic record, they may be required to appear before the Student Performance Committee and may be placed on Academic Warning. The student’s entire academic record since matriculation at ATSU-SOMA may be reviewed by the SPC.

If a retake exam is granted by the SPC, the Student Achievement team will work with the student and RDME to create an individualized remediation plan which may include time off clinical rotations, Directed Studies, or a formal board preparation course.

The student must re-take COMLEX Level 1 within four weeks of notification of failure unless otherwise approved by the Associate Dean for Student Achievement and Accreditation.

COMLEX Level 1 Second Failure

A student who fails the second attempt of COMLEX Level 1 is required to immediately inform the Student Achievement Team, their RDME(s), and their REC.

The student will be removed from clinical rotations at the conclusion of their current clinical clerkship, placed on Directed Studies, and placed on academic probation if the academic status reflects otherwise. The student is required to meet with the Student Performance Committee. The student’s entire academic record since matriculation at ATSU-SOMA will be reviewed by the SPC. The SPC will determine status updates according to their full academic review to determine progression in the program.

If granted a retake by the SPC, the student must re-take COMLEX Level 1 within four weeks of notification of failure unless otherwise approved by the Associate Dean for Student Achievement and Accreditation.

COMLEX Level 1 Third Failure 

A student who fails a third attempt of COMLEX Level 1 will be recommended by the SPC for dismissal.

COMLEX Level 2CE

Students who are on-track with their OMS IV class are required to take COMLEX Level 2CE by September 1 of the OMS IV year. The examination may be taken at any NBOME-approved testing center.

A student is eligible to take COMLEX Level 2CE if they have successfully completed all OMS III Core curricular requirements including the Osteopathic Principles and Practice (OPP) course. 

If a student is not in sync with their OMS IV class for any reason, the student is required to take the COMLEX 2CE within 60 days following successful completion of all OMS III curricular requirements.

Students are given a 24-hour excused absence from rotations to take COMLEX Level 2CE if a request is submitted to their Regional Education Coordinator (REC) at least 10 business days in advance of the examination.

COMLEX Level 2CE First Failure

A student who fails the first attempt of COMLEX Level 2CE is required to inform immediately the Student Achievement Team, their RDME(s), and their regional education coordinator (REC) when they are notified of their result.

Based on the student’s past academic record, they may be required to appear before the Student Performance Committee and may be placed on Academic Warning. The student’s entire academic record since matriculation at ATSU-SOMA may be reviewed by the SPC. 

If a retake exam is granted by the SPC, the Student Achievement Team will work with the student and RDME to create an individualized remediation plan which may include time off clinical rotations, Directed Studies, or a formal board preparation course.

If granted a retake by the SPC, the student must re-take COMLEX Level 2CE within four weeks of notification of failure unless otherwise approved by the Associate Dean for Student Achievement and Accreditation. 

COMLEX Level 2CE Second Failure

A student who fails the second attempt of COMLEX Level 2CE is required to inform immediately the Student Achievement Team, and their RDME(s) and REC. The student will be removed from clinical rotations at the conclusion of their current clinical clerkship rotation, placed on Directed Studies, and immediately placed on academic probation if the academic status reflects otherwise. The student is required to meet with the Student Performance Committee. The student’s entire academic record since matriculation at ATSU-SOMA will be reviewed by the SPC. The SPC will determine status updates according to their full academic review to determine progression in the program. 

The student must re-take COMLEX Level 2CE within four weeks of notification of failure unless otherwise approved by the Associate Dean for Student Achievement and Accreditation.

COMLEX Level 2CE Third Failure 

A student who fails a third attempt of COMLEX Level 2CE will be recommended by the SPC for dismissal.

COMLEX Level 3

Following graduation, the ATSU Enrollment Services approves each graduate to take COMLEX Level 3 through the NBOME website. Generally, graduates take this examination at the completion of the first year of post-graduate training. However, requirements for taking this examination vary from state to state. Graduates should contact the osteopathic medical licensing board in the state where they will have post-graduate training for further information.

Class Rank

GPA is calculated using the final actual percentage score a student achieved in a course, weighted in proportion to the units of the course. Class ranks are calculated at the end of the student’s second year and are determined by ordering the GPAs of the members of the class from highest to lowest. While scores in years three and four are not used to determine GPA or class rank, they are used as part of the calculations reported on the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE).

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate from ATSU-SOMA, a student must:

  • Have been a student in an accredited osteopathic medical school or equivalent for at least four academic years.
  • Have been enrolled in ATSU-SOMA for at least their final two academic years.
  • Successfully complete all academic, administrative, and professional requirements for promotion.
  • Take and pass the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, Inc. (NBOME) Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX) Level 1, and the COMLEX Level 2 Cognitive Evaluation (CE).
  • Have been approved by the faculty to receive their diploma.
  • Attend the commencement program at which time the degree is conferred.

Curriculum

Students are promoted to each level of the curriculum (e.g., OMS I to OMS II) by meeting the requirements for progression. Listed below are brief overviews of the structure of the didactic and clinical training along with the requirements that must be met to formally progress through the curriculum.

Interprofessional Education and Interprofessional Practice

Interprofessional education (IPE) and Interprofessional Practice (IPP) are integrated throughout the ATSU-SOMA curriculum as a series of classroom workshops and clinical activities designed to foster a team approach to patient care, with an emphasis on the quadruple aim.​

Year One (OMS I)

Requirements for progression to OMS II

  • Pass all OMS I coursework and maintain a good academic standing.
  • Comply with all professionalism standards of behavior and ATSU-SOMA technical standards.
  • Maintain comprehensive health insurance, disability insurance, BLS certification and current immunization standards.

Year Two (OMS II)

Requirements for progression to OMS III

  • Comply with all professionalism standards of behavior and ATSU-SOMA technical standards
  • Have taken the COMLEX Level 1 Examination
  • Maintain comprehensive health insurance, disability insurance, BLS certification and current immunization standards
  • Obtain ACLS certification

Year Three (OMS III)

Requirements for progression to OMS IV

  • Successful completion and passing of OMS III clerkship requirements and OMS III OPP course.
  • Comply with all professionalism standards of behavior and ATSU-SOMA technical standards.
  • Maintain comprehensive health insurance, disability insurance, BLS and ACLS certification, and current immunization standards.

Year Four (OMS IV)

Requirements to graduate from ATSU-SOMA

  • Have been a student in an accredited osteopathic medical school or equivalent for at least four academic years.
  • Have been enrolled in ATSU-SOMA for at least their final two academic years.
  • Successfully complete all academic, administrative, and professional requirements for promotion.
  • Take and pass the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, Inc. (NBOME) Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX) Level 1, and the COMLEX Level 2 Cognitive Evaluation (CE).
  • Have been approved by the faculty to receive their diploma.
  • Attend the commencement program at which time the degree is conferred.

Courses

Descriptions and Credit Values


Other Courses


Pre-Doctoral Osteopathic Teaching Fellowship


The Pre-doctoral Osteopathic Teaching Fellowship is a unique opportunity which expands the medical training period from four to five years by including one twelve (12)-month Fellowship time period. The Fellowship is composed of 2 courses that are each 24 credits. The Fellowship credit hours are not transferable to any other course or program within SOMA. The goals of the course include providing opportunities for focused special training in teaching, research, and clinical activities in the discipline areas of Osteopathic Principles and Practices, Anatomy, and Medical Skills. The fellowship provides unique opportunities to become proficient in advanced osteopathic skills modalities as well as specialized clerkship opportunities in the Osteopathic Medicine Clinic.

Students must meet the following criteria to apply for the Osteopathic Teaching Fellowship:

  1. Must be in good standing and provide a letter of good standing from ATSU-SOMA
  2. Must have successfully completed OMS I and OMS II years
  3. Must submit a letter of intent, and two letters of recommendations (1 from a ATSU-SOMA faculty member)

All OMS III coursework must be completed prior to the start of the Fellowship.