Aug 12, 2022  
2022-23 ATSU University Catalog 
    
2022-23 ATSU University Catalog

Osteopathic Medicine, DO (SOMA)


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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.

Several important pedagogical modalities are used to bring basic science into a clinical context. These modalities include: clinical presentation “schemes,” small group learning discussions, hands-on laboratories, demonstrations, and simulation activities.

Community Health Center (CHC) Learning Partnerships

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 with CHCs of the Central Coast, 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 and Fees

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  

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 5550 Friendship Boulevard, Suite 310, Chevy Chase, MD 20815-7231, phone: 301.968.4100.

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 U.S. regionally accredited college or university.
  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.

After earning their DO and MPH degrees students will be able to do the following and more:

  • Analyze issues of access, quality, and cost for populations, communities, and individuals
  • Evaluate social determinants of health and health disparities at your community health center and beyond
  • Hypothesize reasons for observed disparities
  • Create interventions to address health disparities
  • Design research studies to address health disparities
  • Compare and contrast research methodologies
  • Critically appraise public health and medical literature
  • Define health literacy and apply its concepts to health promotion and disease prevention programs
  • Apply knowledge and skills acquired from the curriculum and complete an academic paper suitable for publication
  • Present research findings at national meetings
  • Evaluate health promotion and disease prevention programs from a variety of perspectives

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
  • Must not be identified as At Risk according to the ATSU-SOMA catalog description

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 admission 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. Physical 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 Health Center Contextual Learning 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 U.S. regionally accredited college. 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

ATSU-SOMA programs adhere to the University grading scale .

Grading Guidelines

ATSU-SOMA students are evaluated by a number of methodologies to ensure they are meeting curricular goals and competencies. The following are examples of methods that may be used to provide either formative or summative evaluation of student performance.

  • Examinations (either written or computer based), quizzes and assignments
  • Observation of Head-To-Toe Physical Exam
  • Observation of Problem-Specific Physical Exams
  • Performance of Clinical Procedures
  • Performance at Clinical Experiences
  • Discussion with Preceptors at Clinical Sites
  • Behavioral Performance Evaluation
  • Comprehensive End-of-Year Examinations
  • Faculty Advisory Reviews
  • Evaluation of Medical Documentation
  • Observation of Patient Presentations
  • Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs)
  • Clinical Examination Exercise (Mini-Cex)
  • Clinical Protocol Certifications

Final pre-clinical course and system grades are reported as Honors (H 90% and above), Pass (P 70-89%), or Fail (F <70%). In addition to earning a cumulative grade above 70%, individual courses may also specify further requirements in order to successfully pass. A failed class that is remediated is reported as a Remediated Pass (RP). GPA is calculated using the final actual percentage score a student achieved in a course or system, weighted in proportion to the units of the course or system. Class rank is determined by ordering the GPA’s of the members of the class from highest to lowest. While GPA and class rank are not reported on the official transcript, ATSU-SOMA can provide this information in an official letter at the student’s request.

Grades for clinical clerkships and courses for students in OMS III & IV are reported on the transcript as Honors (H greater than 4.75), High Pass (HP 4.0-4.75), Pass (P 3.0-3.9), or Fail (F less than 3.0). A failed rotation that is successfully remediated is designated as a Remediated Pass (R-Pass) on the transcript. The following criteria are used to determine OMS III & IV grades:

Clinical Rotation Evaluation

Students will need to receive a passing score on any Clinical Rotation Evaluation (CRE) for each 4-week course section (rotation) of the course. A failing grade on the CRE will result in a failure in the clerkship. See individual course syllabi for additional details.

Subject or Course Exam (COMAT)

The Subject/Course Exam (COMAT) applies to Core Rotations only. On the Friday of Week 4 of the rotation, the student is required to take and pass a subject or Course Exam (COMAT). The content of the exam is based on clinical presentations presented in the Core clerkship curriculum and frequently seen in clinical in-person patient encounters. There is a very strong probability that some clinical presentations covered in the COMAT may not be addressed directly in the syllabus. There is a possibility that some of the clinical presentations covered in the COMAT may not have been observed during the rotation. Many of the objectives and presentations are covered in the rotation syllabus. The student must receive a passing score on the COMAT exam linked to the course to pass the course. See individual course syllabi for additional details.

For Family Medicine and Internal Medicine, the COMAT is taken at the end of the second rotation. Due to these courses being a total of 8 weeks each (two four-week experiences for Family Medicine and two four-week experiences for Internal Medicine), the COMAT is factored into both rotation grades (Family Medicine I and II for the Family Medicine COMAT, and Internal Medicine I and II for the Internal Medicine COMAT), even if the rotations are taken in different semesters.

Should a student fail a post-rotation examination, a limit of one (1) retake (for a total of two attempts) will be allowed. Any retake requires approval by the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education. A failure of the rotation will occur if the student does not successfully pass on the second attempt. All clerkship failures will result in a referral to the SPC and repeat of another 4-week clerkship in the same discipline at a different site and with a different preceptor and a final attempt at the end of rotation exam. The student is responsible for all fees associated with a clerkship remediation.

Any student receiving a second clerkship failure or three COMAT failures total in any discipline combination will be referred to the SPC to determine progression in the program.

Coursework/Weekly Assignments

Coursework will be graded based on course grading rubrics for each individual assignment in Canvas. Assigned supplemental requirements without clinical patient contact are graded based on satisfactory completion and submission by the weekly deadline, per the instructions for each of those individual assignments. See individual course syllabi for additional requirements.

A grade of I (incomplete) indicates that course requirements have not been completed. A grade of IP (in progress) indicates the course spans more than one semester. Grades of I or IP are not replaced on the official transcript until all course requirements are met.  Failure to complete course requirements may result in grades of I or IP being replaced with a failing grade.

Academic Appeals

The individual professional and graduate programs of ATSU, through their faculty and established school procedures, retain principal responsibility for assessing student performance. Disputes concerning unsatisfactory progress evaluations should be reconciled through the processes and procedures described under the DO program. Additional guidelines regarding academic appeals, including grade appeals, promotion, and/or dismissal appeals will be found within the ATSU Policies section, Academic Appeals policy .

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, 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; failing a COMSAE or COMLEX examination; failing 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); failing to successfully complete assignments, logs, and assessments; or failure to perform successfully in clinical rotations.

The voting members of the SPC include clinical and basic medical science faculty appointed by the Dean including at least one Regional Director of Medical Education, and one public member from a community health center partner site leadership team chosen by the Dean. The Chair of the SPC is appointed annually by the Dean. The SPC is chaired by the Assistant Dean of Innovation and Curricular Integration or their designee. Each faculty, RDME and public member of the committee is a voting member except the ex-officio members listed. In the case of a tie, or to meet a quorum, the Chair is a voting member. Decisions of the Committee are made by a majority vote.

Non-voting consultants to the Student Performance Committee are the Associate Dean of Clinical Education and Services, Assistant Dean of Innovation and Clinical Education, and Vice President of Student Affairs. Additional appropriate faculty such as a student’s RDME or faculty advisor may be requested to attend the Student Performance Committee meeting without a vote.

In the event that a course director is also a voting member of the committee, he/she will retain voting privileges. Clinical faculty members who serve on the Student Performance Committee must ensure that they do not have a therapeutic relationship with a student appearing before the committee and have not provided sensitive health services to the student. If such a relationship exists, the physician shall alert the Assistant Dean of Innovation and Curricular Integration to request an alternate be present to hear the student case.

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. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Failure of a course, rotation, COMLEX exam, or other required activity
  • Overall poor performance in the academic program
  • Violation of professionalism standards
  • Inability to meet ATSU-SOMA technical standards
  • Failure to abide by ATSU-SOMA Catalog policies and procedures

Attendance and Notification

The student will be notified of the referral to the SPC and may be required to attend the SPC meeting (either in person or by video-conference) when the student’s academic status is presented for discussion. Each student’s entire academic profile since matriculation is reviewed by the SPC, taking into account the student’s overall performance. Reviewed material may include the entire academic record, subjective evaluations by course directors, faculty members, preceptors, staff, standardized patients and administrators, emails, written notes, concern cards, results of performance assessments as well as other material necessary to fully evaluate the student’s progress, including professional behaviors.

The student will be afforded the opportunity to speak during the SPC meeting. The student will be notified of the meeting and any requirement to attend the meeting at least two business days (Monday-Friday, excluding holidays) before the meeting. The student’s required dress code for meetings with the SPC is business attire.

Sanctions

The Student Performance Committee (SPC) can impose requirements, supports, and discipline appropriate to the circumstances. Additionally, the committee may impose a reprimand, place the student on probation, suspend the student or dismiss the student from the program. The Assistant Dean of Innovation and Curricular Integration will typically notify the student of the outcome, in writing, within 48 hours of the committee meeting.

The following sanctions may be imposed by the SPC:

  1. Consultation – Consultations may include but are not limited to the following:
  • Mandated meetings with the Learning Advisors in Student Affairs;
  • 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 addictive behaviors.
  1. 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, second COMSAE failure, rotation failure, or first failure of COMLEX Level 1, 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 warning may not serve in student office, be excused from curricular activities for professional development, or attend conferences or events sponsored by the college without explicit permission from the Assistant Dean of Innovation and Curricular Integration or their designee. If a student is seen before the SPC and given a warning status at any time, they are not eligible to run for an officer position in a club. 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 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.
  • The successful remediation of an academic course will be identified by a notation (70R or R-Pass) on the student’s transcript. 
  1. Academic Probation
  • Academic Probation is imposed on any student who has violated ATSU-SOMA’s professionalism standards or who has multiple course failures, COMSAE failures, rotation failures, 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.
  • This is a status change that will be documented and remain permanently in the student’s official record.
  • Students on probation may not serve in student office, be excused from curricular activities for professional development, or attend conferences or events sponsored by the college without explicit permission from the Assistant Dean of Innovation and Curricular Integration or their designee. If a student is seen before the SPC and given a probation status at any time, they are not eligible to run for an officer position in a club. These measures are employed to assist the student in concentrating on improvement in their academic progress.
  • Probation is a permanent academic status. 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 successful remediation of an academic course or clerkship will be identified by a notation (70R or R-Pass) on the student’s transcript.

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

  1. 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 be dismissed from ATSU-SOMA. Students may be dismissed 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
  2. 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

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 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 for dismissal, suspension, or extension of the academic program affecting the student’s graduation, the final decision and notification to the student will come directly from the Dean of ATSU-SOMA.

Right of Appeal

A notification to the student by the SPC regarding the decision concerning the student’s status may be appealed, 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. 

The highest level of appeal within the school is the Dean or Dean’s designee. Students who wish to appeal a Dean’s decision regarding promotion or dismissal should review the Academic Appeals Policy: Promotion and/or Dismissal Decisions .

Remediation Policy

Remediation examinations for course failures in OMS I and OMS II will take place during the earliest scheduled time after a course failure occurs. There are four scheduled times during the academic year to complete a remediation program as designed by the course director: at the end of Fall Break (OMS I) or the end of Thanksgiving Break (OMS II), at the end of Winter Break, at the end of Spring Break, and at the conclusion of the academic year. Scheduling of the remediation program may be modified by the Associate Dean of Innovation and Curricular Integration, at student request, to best fit the academic needs and requirements of the student.

Remediations must be successfully completed before a student can be advanced to the next stage of the curriculum. It may be necessary to delay the start of OMS III clinical rotations and/or sitting for COMLEX Level 1 in order to successfully complete the remediation process.  

All OMS I and II remediation examinations must be proctored by an ATSU-SOMA employee or designee as approved by the Associate Dean of Innovation and Curricular Integration. Failed clinical rotations (OMS III and IV) must be repeated and successfully completed. The course and preceptor must be approved by the Associate Dean of Clinical Education and Services. A student who fails a course remediation examination will be referred to the Student Performance Committee and is subject to dismissal.

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:

  • COMLEX Level 1 (COMLEX 1)
  • COMLEX Level 2 CE (COMLEX 2CE)

More information on the requirements set by ATSU-SOMA for all students may be found on the ATSU-SOMA COMLEX Policies  page.

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 for determining clinical and professionalism scores reported on the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE). Estimated class ranks or GPAs may be requested through the ATSU-SOMA’s Dean’s Office at any time, or viewed on the student snapshot.

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.

Completion of Degree

A student is expected to complete all DO degree requirements within ATSU-SOMA’s usual four-year plan of study. However, a student may have their plan of study altered beyond the usual four-year timeframe due to academic or personal issues. Regardless of the circumstances, all DO degree requirements must be completed within six years of the original date of matriculation. Failure to complete all DO degree requirements within the specified time period will result in an administrative withdrawal from ATSU-SOMA.

Curriculum

Students are promoted to each level of the curriculum (e.g., OMS I to OMS II) by meeting the requirements for progression (unless an exception is made by the dean). 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)

The OMS I curriculum is conducted primarily on the Mesa, Arizona campus. Learning activities are usually scheduled between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. Occasionally, there may be required off-site activities or required activities that begin at 7:00 a.m., end after 5:00 p.m., or occur on a weekend. The online OMS I master academic calendar contains information concerning holidays and examinations. Each course syllabus contains course requirements and due dates for course assignments.

Requirements for progression to OMS II

  • Pass all OMS I coursework and maintain a good academic standing.
  • Attend one of two Team of Physicians for Students (TOPS) events during the OMS I year.
  • 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)

The OMS II curriculum is conducted primarily at a student’s assigned community partner site. OMS II coursework consists of synchronous and asynchronous learning activities that include a combination of didactic, clinical, and patient care experiences which reinforce and enhance the knowledge, skills, and attitudes acquired during the OMS I year.  Learning activities are usually scheduled between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. Occasionally, there may be required off-site activities or required activities that begin at 7:00 a.m., end after 5:00 p.m., or occur on a weekend. The online OMS II master academic calendar contains information concerning holidays, synchronous activities across all community partner sites, and examinations. Each course syllabus contains course requirements and due dates for course assignments. Additionally, each community partner site provides a weekly schedule of clinical experiences, medical skills, small group, OPP, and other assigned activities.

Clinical Assignments and Responsibilities

Consistent with ATSU-SOMA’s mission, students are given the opportunity for an early clinical experience in their assigned community partner site environment beginning in year two. On occasion, students will be given the opportunity to perform clinical procedures. Students are authorized to perform procedures for which they have been trained, with the proviso that they are properly supervised. In all cases, the safety and comfort of the patient must come first. Questions related to participation in any clinical procedure or activity should be directed to the local RDME(s) or Clinical Education Department prior to proceeding.

The student will realize the importance of punctuality and fulfilling responsibility in completing clinical assignments given by the supervisor. It is recommended that students assure they are familiar with the location, personnel, practices and expectations of the sites they are assigned to. Punctuality and professional conduct are expected at all times as an academic requirement. Concerns about working too few or too many hours should be directed to the local RDME(s) as soon as possible.

Requirements for progression to OMS III

Students are classified as OMS III upon completion of the following the requirements:

  • Successful completion of all OMS II requirementss
  • Comply with all professionalism standards of behavior and ATSU-SOMA technical standards
  • Successful completion of requisite COMSAE at a score of 450 or higher.
  • Maintain comprehensive health insurance, disability insurance, BLS certification and current immunization standards
  • Obtain ACLS certification

Year Three (OMS III)

Rotations are scheduled in four-week blocks, with the exception of the Elective II, which is a two-week experience. All rotations are required. In the OMS III year, eight are Core rotations. The remaining are a Patient Care Selective, Maternal and Child Health Selective (the selective may be distributed to either Obstetrics and Gynecology or Pediatrics or Maternal and Child Health as per the Clinical Education Manual), a four-week Elective and a two-week Elective. The student works directly with the RDME(s), the community partner site regional education coordinator, and the Mesa-based clinical education coordinator in all matters related to the clerkship years. This is the student’s opportunity to explore their interest in clinical medicine and hone their skills in preparation for the OMS IV year. In addition to the study materials and expectations of the individual clerkship attending or preceptor, each Core rotation has an ATSU-SOMA clerkship director who develops and oversees the clerkship didactic materials and academic objectives. The ATSU-SOMA Clerkship Director posts and maintains all ATSU-SOMA clerkship materials on the learning management system. The Clinical Education Department oversees the OMS III clerkship year. Students are expected to participate in rotation activities on a weekly basis, even if the student’s preceptor is not on service.

International Rotations

Due to the current pandemic, no international rotations will be offered for the 2021-22 academic year.

Requirements for progression to OMS IV

  • Sucessful completion of OMS III clerkship requirements.
  • 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)

Rotations are scheduled in four-week blocks, except for Neurology, which is a two-week rotation. This is the academic year where the student has four Core rotations, four Selectives and three Electives. This is the year to schedule audition rotations and/or spend more time in one area of practice. A maximum combination of four Electives/Selectives in one medical specialty may be taken, yet not consecutively, in OMS IV. In addition to the study materials and expectations of the individual clerkship attending or preceptor, each Core rotation has a ATSU-SOMA Clerkship Director who develops and oversees the clerkship didactic materials and academic objectives. The ATSU-SOMA Clerkship Director posts and maintains all ATSU-SOMA clerkship materials on the learning management system. Students work directly with their RDME(s) and the regional Clinical Education Coordinator in scheduling and maintaining their academic schedule. The Clinical Education Department oversees the OMS IV clerkship year. Students are expected to participate in rotation activities on a weekly basis, even if the student’s preceptor is not on service.

Courses

Descriptions and Credit Values


First Year

Case-based Inquiry (CBI) Curriculum

In a CBI curriculum, passive reception of information is almost eliminated. Students are placed into small groups and assigned a faculty member whose function is to facilitate discussion in the group. In this process, a series of patient cases and clinical presentation schemes serve as a basis for learning and applying the basic, clinical and health systems sciences. In this scenario, the object is not to diagnose the case, but to use it to identify key opportunities for learning which then act as topics for further study. Students work independently on their learning topics before the next group meeting, at which time the new information is discussed and refined in the context of the case. If necessary, further learning topics are then identified and studied.

With this approach, the memorization of singular isolated facts is de-emphasized. The skills that help students develop into self-directed, independent and Master Adaptive learners are emphasized. Along with learning the basic, clinical and health systems sciences, the “process” of learning is stressed. The small group setting also fosters the development of a sense of community among students, who learn to work together in a problem-solving and collaborative capacity. They learn both trust and responsibility as active members of the group. They become comfortable in both receiving and giving criticism, with having their position questioned without taking it personally, and questioning without fear of threatening others. The small group process also provides valuable practice in sharpening students’ clinical reasoning skills.

Through this approach, students will enhance educational and personal development and:

  • Shift the emphasis from teaching to learning, by requiring students to be active, independent, self-directed learners and problem solvers, rather than passive recipients of information. This process enforces key components of Master Adaptive learning used throughout life.
  • Emphasize the development of attitudes and skills, which stress the understanding of the new information in a clinical context, rather than the memorization of knowledge.
  • Limit the amount of factual information that students are expected to memorize.

The CBI curriculum is delivered during the OMSI academic year and divided into 4 blocks as described below.

 

A typical course schedule consists of the following. Additional course options may be available and listed below under Other Courses.

Other Courses


End-of-Rotation Examinations


End-of-Rotation Examinations are required after each Core Rotation. ATSU-SOMA currently uses the NBOME COMAT examination for the OMS III year and Emergency Medicine in the OMS IV year, and Final Course exams (administered via the Learning Management System) for the remaining Core Rotations in the OMS IV year. These electronic examinations are to be scheduled for and taken on the last day of the rotation (usually a Friday). For the OMS III, these examinations are to be taken for Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, OB/Gyn, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Surgery. In addition, the OPP COMAT must be taken and passed in the second semester of the OMS III year. See the OPP syllabus for further requirements. For the OMS IV, these Core Rotations are Cardiology, Critical Care, Neurology, and Emergency Medicine. The student must have engaged in the rotation prior to being eligible to sit for the post-rotation exam at the completion of that rotation, and not before. Extensions are considered for extenuating circumstances by the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education.  Should a student fail a post- rotation examination, the student is required to notify the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education and retake the exam within 30 days of the original failure. If a student fails an end of rotation exam twice, they will fail the clerkship requiring an SPC referral and repeat of the clinical rotation with a final attempt of the end of rotation exam. See the clerkship syllabus for further requirements.

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.

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