Thinking Outside the Box: Innovations in OME

Western U/COMP’s Innovative Solution for Medical Student Ultrasound Training

Hundreds of students from Western University of Health Sciences/College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (Western U/COMP) received SonoSim® ultrasound training probes and software during a distribution day at the university bookstore.

WesternU-tech innovationSonoSim distributed the ultrasound probes to first-year DO students during the University's “Welcome Week.” With this technology, medical students will be able to convert their own laptops into full-scale ultrasound training simulators, paving the way for them to be more competitive in the residency market and patient care. Second- and third-year medical students will also receive the ultrasound probes for which training will also be incorporated into their curriculum.

Western U/COMP Director of Clinical Education Natalie Nevins, DO, said the SonoSim ultrasound training solutions would be issued like any other piece of equipment, similar to the way stethoscopes and ophthalmoscopes are used during four years of medical education. "We are now in the 21st century, and ultrasound has a much larger role in the diagnostic aspects of medical care," said Dr. Nevins. "Ultrasound is literally being used in every arena and every specialty in some way—OB, internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, and the musculoskeletal system.”

Dr. Nevins explained that students will receive ultrasound training as part of their core curriculum from day one, implementing probes into the “flipped classroom,” and integrated into anatomy classes. In the future, radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips will be used during simulated patient encounters and in Observed Structural Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) that occur during the first two years of pre-clinical education and during third year didactic weeks.  

SonoSim Vice President Dan Katz, MD, said that medical schools such as Western U/COMP are capitalizing on providing ultrasound training to students. "SonoSim facilitates asynchronous learning, enables self-assessment, allows instructors to track progress, and provides an opportunity to ‘train-the-trainers,'" Dr. Katz said. "Students learn how to apply these ultrasound findings toward clinical decision making." Read more.

BCOM Reinforces Cultural Competency 

The 162 medical students of the inaugural class of the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine at New Mexico State University (BCOM) received the traditional physician’s white coat during the college’s unique August ceremony.


In recognition of BCOM’s diverse group of new medical students, the class of 2020 was welcomed to the BCOM community during the its first white coat ceremony, which featured a keynote address by U.S. Surgeon General Antonia Novello, MD. During this rite of passage, new medical students receive their traditional white coats and recite the “osteopathic oath,” vowing to adhere to ethical and professional standards. During her keynote, Dr. Novello provided BCOM students with valuable insight that she’s picked up in her 46 years in the medical field on effectively communicating with minorities and bridging cultural barriers.

BCOM also made history as the very first medical school to have students swear the “osteopathic oath” in not one, but three languages. BCOM aims to continue the same tri-language oath as a college tradition. The students, or “compañero/as” BCOM calls them, were enthusiastic about this approach to their white coat ceremony. Stephanie Ayala, member of the inaugural class, reflected on the ceremony:

As a class we had an idea that the ceremony would be unique and unlike anything that had been done before. We were very excited and proud to realize just how culturally diverse it turned out. Cultural sensitivity is such an important part of how we interact with the world and is crucially important to understanding our patients in the future. Being part of a college that holds that value in high regard is one of the main reasons why the majority of us are here. Seeing people from so many backgrounds come together to celebrate our initiation into the medical community was truly an amazing experience.

In accordance with its mission, BCOM is tailoring its programming and curriculum to ensure graduates can understand and relate to the diverse cultures in the southwest. Its students will all take medical Spanish and learn about Native American healing practices. They will study special topics relevant to the COM’s region and have the opportunity to work in health clinics serving local communities.

“Our support of diversity and its importance is practiced and sustained through the use of ‘cultural humility’ and it is not only embedded into our mission statement, but also our every fiber of our organization,” says BCOM Founding Dean and Chief Academic Officer George Mychaskiw II, DO.  “Diversity and cultural humility are what we do, not just words of a motto. This is also reflected in our curriculum, which includes topics relevant to the local culture (e.g. medical Spanish, Native American clerkship experiences, and population health research), and practices that are respectful of local cultural norms).”

This trailblazing ceremony is just the beginning as we at BCOM work toward our mission para la gente y el future. For the people and the future. Read more.

WVSOM Collaborates with Attorney General, Reaches New Frontier in Opioid Fight

West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM)’s Robert C. Byrd Clinic will implement and utilize Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s recently released best practices to help reduce overprescribing and misuse of opioid drugs.

WVSOM President Michael D. Adelman, DO, JD, said the best practices align well with what osteopathic medicine has taught for over a century—treating the whole body, not just symptoms; treating people, not just diseases.

“These recommendations provide rational, concrete solutions that will have tremendous effect in our state if broadly used,” said Dr. Adelman. “These guidelines are one of the strongest tools our state has to address this crisis.”

Through simulations, students learn how to interact with patients who have overdosed or patients seeking drugs to fuel their addiction, which has been a part of the curriculum for more than five years. The recently finalized project sets forth best practices to reduce the use of prescription opioids by at least 25 percent, while preserving legitimate patient access to necessary treatment. Read more.

Inside OME Header
September 2016
Vol. 10, No. 7