Serving local communities has always been an important priority for colleges of osteopathic medicine. Many COMs participate in volunteer and other service projects as part of their orientation week to prepare them for programming and education activities for their schools and communities throughout the year.
Many students are drawn to osteopathic medicine with a desire to reach out and serve their local communities. Some, like 26-year-old Weston Choate, a member of the Cherokee Nation who will attend classes at the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (ARCOM) in the fall of 2019, plans to work in family medicine and improve rural health-care access. Here are some of the ways COMs have encouraged students, faculty, and staff to participate in service activities during orientation:
Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine (CUSOM)
CUSOM welcomed 164 new medical students during its first-year orientation activities in July. The students represent 90 undergraduate institutions and more than 20 majors. Along with departmental information sessions with faculty and staff, new students participated in a three-part Roadmap to Success orientation program, enjoyed a barbecue dinner, and participated in a community service project preparing 20,000 meals to distribute to rural communities. Read more.
Midwestern University’s Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM)
To gain a greater understanding of the health service barriers that more than 43 million Americans must overcome while living below the poverty line, the new class of students at CCOM participated in a "poverty simulation" developed by the Missouri Association for Community Action.
Students were assigned the roles of 26 different families facing poverty—some experiencing unemployment, some recently losing their income provider, others homeless, or were receiving disability benefits as senior citizens. The task was for students to find out how to make ends meet on very limited resources during a simulated month. Students had to learn how to pay their rent and utilities, keep a job, get their children to school, and learn to use community resources and services to provide for their family.
Photo: Class of 2022 CCOM students participate in a poverty simulation designed to increase understanding and empathy.
This was the first year that new CCOM students participated in a poverty simulation. During their orientation, students also spent a day volunteering at local community organizations to gain greater understanding about the community they will serve as health professionals. Read more.
Touro University Nevada’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (TUNCOM).
Touro University Nevada implemented a Day of Service initiative with medical students from TUNCOM. Started in 2017, this annual event has become an annual event for students from both colleges as part of their culmination of orientation week.
More than 200 students participated in this year's Day of Service from the college of osteopathic medicine and five other programs. Students, faculty, and staff spent time at St. Jude's Ranch for Children, Salvation Army Henderson, Three Square Food Bank, Project 150, the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the City of Henderson. Read more.
Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCU-COM)
KCU-COM hosted their annual WE CARE Day, during which over 280 osteopathic medical students worked with 15 community partners. Students volunteered doing everything from sorting care packages at a local senior center to working with kids in the community garden to teaching them about healthy nutrition. Students also let local children experience what it’s like working with “patients” through the use of robotic simulators. KCU’s incoming class progressed the university’s mission of improving the well-being of local communities.