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Inside OME


Students Receive Researcher of the Year Recognitions, Start First-Generation Medical Student Support Group and More

January 20, 2022



Ask a DMU-COM Expert About COVID-19

Are vaccinated people driving the new variants of coronavirus? Does the COVID-19 vaccine cause blood clots? These are among the coronavirus-related questions that Jonathan Crosbie, DO, a graduate of the Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine (DMU-COM), has tackled in popular blog posts on the DMU website. He is an assistant professor of osteopathic medicine and family and internal medicine at DMU-COM and a physician in the DMU Family Medicine Clinic.

012022_IOME_NSUKPCOM_Gregory-Kunis_200x300Kunis Receives NSU-KPCOM Student Researcher of the Year Honor

Third-year medical student at Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine (NSU-KPCOM) Gregory Kunis, who served as an osteopathic principles and practice fellow, was selected as the Student Researcher of the Year at the Fort Lauderdale/Davie Campus. He currently serves as a peer review intern for the Osteopathic Family Physician journal.

Kunis, who previously showcased his research abilities by working as a student researcher at the Cleveland Clinic in its Department of Orthopedics, has given two oral presentations in the past year and is slated to present another at the Southern Medical Association’s Physicians-in-Training Leadership Conference at Tulane University in February.

WVSOM Faculty Member Receives National Award for Board Exam Contributions

012022_IOME_WVSOM_Kristie-Bridges_200x300Passing national board exams allows medical students to advance to the next step of their journey toward becoming a physician. The rewards for those who create the exams might be less obvious, but crafting exam questions—or “item writing,” as the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) calls it—is a critical part of the medical education process.

Kristie Bridges, PhD, a faculty member at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM), received the COMLEX-USA Level 1 Item Writer of the Year Award for 2021.

“It’s an honor to have a national organization acknowledge your work,” Bridges said. “Serving with NBOME has been a wonderful learning experience and an opportunity to grow as an educator. The inclusion of a diverse group of faculty in the development of national board exams benefits everyone and promotes continuous improvement in quality and relevance. I’m pleased to be involved in that process.” Read more about Dr. Bridges’ award from the NBOME.

UNTHSC/TCOM Dual Degree Student Dianna Nguyen Awarded Highly Prestigious NIH Fellowship

012022_IOME_UNTHSCTCOM_Dianna-Nguyen_200x300Dianna H. Nguyen, a DO/PhD candidate at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth - Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC/TCOM), has been awarded the F30 Dual Doctoral-Degree, Predoctoral Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health. Nguyen received the highly competitive fellowship for her research project titled, “The Role of Estrogen Receptors and Neurohypophyseal Gene Expression in Vasopressin Release in a Model of Dilutional Hyponatremia.”

Nguyen, who has completed her first two years at UNTHSC/TCOM and is currently on the PhD portion of her studies with the School of Biomedical Sciences, is the first student to receive an F30 Fellowship.

“I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and for the incredible support I received from my mentors, peers, faculty and staff at HSC, not just with the F30 process, but throughout my whole DO/PhD journey,” said Nguyen. Read more about Nguyen’s research and fellowship.

PCOM First-Generation Students Find Support in Student Group

012022_IOME_PCOM_850x500For some students entering medical or graduate school, they are the first person in their family to reach that education level. These students may find that they are at a disadvantage from their peers who can turn to family members to discuss things like effective studying strategies, financial aid, career planning and more. With this in mind, a group of first-generation students at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) set out to provide a support system for their colleagues and founded a committee under the umbrella of the Student Government Association to focus on these unique challenges. Since its creation last year, the First-Generation Student Initiative has remained committed to advocating for academic equality through mentorship, community outreach and education.

Osteopathic medical student Anna Klunk, DO '24, currently serves as the committee chair and shares that when it comes to planning events, leadership looks to the group to guide them on which topics are most important to cover. “When we see that the group is confused about one topic or another, we take that as our sign to act and plan an event around it,” said Ms. Klunk. Read more about the new student-led initiative.

DHEC Recognizes VCOM-Carolinas for Community-Minded COVID Vaccination Efforts

Representatives from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) presented a Community Hero award to Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine - Carolinas Campus (VCOM-Carolinas) for its continued efforts to make lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines available in communities throughout the upstate, especially in rural and underserved areas.

In March 2021, DHEC partnered with VCOM to co-locate a COVID-19 vaccination clinic within the college’s community health center. Since then, VCOM has administered more than 8,000 COVID-19 vaccines, and the clinic’s staff and students work to promote vaccine outreach and information within the surrounding communities. Read more about the joint effort to provide COVID-19 vaccines.

Yu named TUCOM-CA Student Researcher of the Year

012022_IOME_TUCOM_Colburn-Yu_200x300Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine – California (TUCOM-CA)’s Student Researcher of the Year Selection Committee named Colburn Yu as the student researcher of the year (SROY). Yu has demonstrated a commitment to research by partaking in multiple research programs throughout his academic career. “He displays extraordinary levels of enthusiasm and scientific curiosity along with a high degree of professionalism and a great work ethic,” the release stated.

A second-year medical student at TUCOM-CA, Yu completed his undergraduate work at Johns Hopkins University. “My experiences there have motivated me to pursue a career in pediatric hematology/oncology,” Yu said. “In addition, I hope to increase DO presence in research fields, making it a welcoming place for all. This award means a lot to me and I want to thank my mentors and friends for their support throughout my pre-med and medical career.”

Along with his personal accomplishments within the research domain, he has strived to become an excellent ambassador for research within the osteopathic profession. Yu will now be competing for the national SROY award alongside the respective winners from each DO school across the nation. Read more about Yu’s recognition.

PCOM Georgia Students Give Back to the Community

Photo: Alexander Christianson (DO '24) checks the blood pressure of Sahara Peters (DO '24) in preparation for the students' participation in the Jolly Holly Day in Suwanee, Georgia, where PCOM Georgia is located.

On a cool Friday evening in December, 15 Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine Georgia Campus (PCOM Georgia) students, along with several faculty members, provided blood pressure checks and distributed educational information to Gwinnett, Georgia citizens. They showcased the “Simbulance,” a mobile medical unit, and life-sized adult and pediatric mannequins used to train students.

The date was special because it was also the birthday of Andrea Mann, DO, dean of PCOM Georgia. She said, “Giving back to the community is a priority of mine. It is essential to educate our citizens about health concerns like hypertension. Additionally, I am committed to sharing information about the doctorate and master’s level health professional education programs at PCOM Georgia.” Read more about the day of service.

AZCOM/MWU Student Collaborates on Community COVID, CMV Education Effort

Second-year Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University (AZCOM/MWU) student Dominik Kaltenbach is doing his part to help raise awareness about two significant viral threats to the community—COVID-19 and cytomegalovirus (CMV). Partnering with Midwestern University College of Graduate Sciences faculty expert Kathleen Muldoon, PhD, associate professor of anatomy, Kaltenbach has helped create informative online health literacy materials as well as translating them into Spanish for Arizona’s large Latinx community. Read more about Kaltenbach’s efforts on his website.

Campbell University Receives $1.1 Million for Osteopathic Research 

012022_IOME_CUSOM_Moytka_200x300A philanthropic gift was recently made to Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine (CUSOM) to support Tom Motyka, DO’s research on musculoskeletal dysfunction and pain. Dr. Motyka is an associate professor and chair of osteopathic manipulative medicine and will administer several projects examining musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction including efficacy of osteopathic manipulative treatment as well as prolotherapy. 

The anonymous gift was also designated for the creation of an Osteopathic Research Fellowship for medical students and provided funding and support for other projects related to musculoskeletal dysfunction and pain research. The research fellowship will serve as a gap year program and is intended to further training and experience in research specific to osteopathic medicine.  

The first fellow, Cailee Dean, started July 5 and will continue for the entirety of the 2021-22 academic year. Read more about the research projects that Dean and Motyka will be leading.