very school has its own unique orientation traditions, and colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs) are no exception. Many COMs have university commitments to support their local communities and host service events throughout the school year. A large number of students are drawn to osteopathic medicine for its tendency to produce doctors that practice within the local communities where they began medical school.
To kick-start the school year for the 2016-17 entering DO student class, a number of COMs across the country paired orientation with community service, including:
The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) concluded its orientation week with a backpack drive for students of local elementary schools. The backpacks inspired both learning and fun as ACOM students filled them with crayons, scissors, stethoscopes, and quotes by Dr. Seuss.
Over 250 students from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) assembled during orientation week to help the local community of Greenbrier after a devastating flood. Students were split into small groups to perform needs assessments, clean-up, and osteopathic manipulative treatment. The experience taught students how to work as a team and helped them start the year with a positive mindset.
Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine (CUSOM)’s class of 2020 packed over 35,000 meals for a service project with Food Aid International during orientation, where students gained a sense of CUSOM pride and family–even the upperclassmen joined in to give back.
The 204 incoming students of the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM) completed a variety of community service activities around the Chicago area including packaging at food banks, sorting school supplies, assisting elderly residents, and cleaning park trails. This year, CCOM was again recognized with the prestigious President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, which highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community problems and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement. The annual award recognizes institutions that achieve meaningful, measurable outcomes in the communities they serve.
Sense of Community
This year, students left their orientations feeling accomplished and connected to their new communities. Providing support to underserved and rural areas is included in each of the colleges' mission statements, a common tenet of all U.S. COMs. Through this service-oriented approach to orientation, first-year DO students felt the fulfillment of giving back to the local community--the first of many they will experience as they enter the OME community.