UNTHSC Logo Catalog 2011-2012

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Academic Programs

Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) is dedicated to the principles of academic excellence and constantly strives to improve the quality of its academic program. A primary goal is helping each student develop skills in self-learning and self-evaluation that will be necessary during formal education and throughout a professional career. Emphasis is placed on learning activities that help each student interact effectively with peers and promote cooperative relationships with others in the health professions. Encouraging critical thinking and helping each student develop the skills required to make decisions in the clinical setting are central to all educational activities in the curriculum.

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Degree Program

The TCOM curriculum is a four-year program leading to the degree of doctor of osteopathic medicine. Emphasis is placed on the identification and treatment of illnesses, promotion of health and wellness in patients, and treatment of each patient in the context of the wide variety of factors that influence health.

TCOM's curriculum is designed to help students integrate the basic and clinical sciences, further develop their ability to diagnose illness, and increase their understanding of the environment within which medicine is practiced. Instruction in the first two years is presented according to organ systems of the body. TCOM uses instruction based on clinical cases. Instructors employ an audience response system to quiz students on their understanding of diagnosis and pathophysiology in clinical cases. The instructional program contains computer-assisted instruction, small-group teaching, state-of-the-art robotic simulators, specialized workshops and simulated clinical experiences.

Evaluation of student performance is based on objective, structured clinical examinations, competency-based assessments, observational techniques and standard written tests.

Beginning with the first semester, students are placed in one of our primary care clinics to help them become familiar with the many facets of community health care and the health problems that will play a role in their lives as health care providers. These assignments provide a gradual transition from classroom to clinical settings.

At the conclusion of the didactic phase of medical education (years 1 and 2), students will continue the clinical phase (years 3 and 4) of their medical education. Year 3 focuses on core rotations, in the following areas: Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, Psychiatry, and Primary Care. Fourth year core rotations include Emergency Medicine, Geriatrics, and Internal Medicine subspecialties. The fourth year also provides for elective rotations selected by the student to enable a full appreciation for the broad scope of clinical training opportunities available after graduation. Core rotations will be served at one of several clinical affiliates that are located either in Fort Worth or other sites around the State of Texas.

Rural Osteopathic Medical Education of Texas (ROME)

The TCOM’s Office of Rural Medical Education offers educational opportunities for students who have an interest in practicing medicine in a rural environment. These opportunities are provided through one of several programs: the ROME Rural Scholars Program, the ROME Rural Primary Care Continuity Program, and the ROME Rural Elective Program.

The ROME Rural Scholars Program is an innovative educational program designed to prepare students for life and practice in a rural community. This rural medicine curriculum includes academic activities and clini­cal experiences beginning before matriculation and continuing throughout all four years of predoctoral medical education. Stu­dents accepted into the ROME Rural Scholars Program complete additional course work during Years 1 and 2 that emphasizes the acquisition of knowledge and skills for a career in rural medicine. Throughout the ROME Rural Scholars Program, students work with faculty preceptors from rural communities across the state of Texas as well as urban tertiary centers. This program provides students with a real world experience of living and working in rural Texas communities.

The ROME Rural Primary Care Continuity Program provides an opportunity for students enrolled in the regular curriculum to complete the required primary care clinical experiences in the same rural community over four years. This can be completed in the primary care disciplines of Family Medicine, Pediatrics or Internal Medicine. Emphasis on community involvement and rural health systems is an important component of this program. Under the supervision of community-based faculty physicians, students experience the practice of primary care  in a rural clinical setting while developing their clinical competence. They learn about the role a physician plays in the community and the unique lifestyle experience of working in this setting. To provide the students with a continuity experience, this portion of their curriculum is completed in the same community throughout their four years of medical education. Curriculum elements include a clinical practicum in Year 1, an eight (8) week ambulatory clerkship in Year 3, and a primary care partnership/geriatrics rotation in Year 4. Service-learning in the form of community activities and involvement is integrated through program experiences. 

The ROME Rural Elective Program, MEDE9446, gives students enrolled in the regular curriculum the opportunity to gain brief exposure to rural practice at selected rural sites.

TCOM Research

Students at TCOM have many educational opportunities for exposure to research in the biomedical sciences, patient-oriented clinical studies, and health services and policy settings. The most intensive research experiences involve formal dual-degree programs in conjunction with the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences or the School of Public Health. These may include doctoral or masters level degree programs in a variety of disciplines. The college offers an Honors Research Practicum for select students who wish to conduct a research project under the direct supervision of the faculty during semesters 3 and 4. Other research opportunities involve research rotations and experiences sponsored by extramural funding agencies, including potentially both on- and off-campus training activities. Students may also pursue elective rotations involving research projects or simply gain research experience by establishing relationships with faculty mentors in their personal areas of interest.

Joint and Accelerated Programs

UNT Health Science Center offers several joint and accelerated programs to meet the wide range of student needs and career goals.

The DO/PhD Medical Scientist Training Program and DO/MS dual-degree program are offered in conjunction with UNT Health Science Center's Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Students may choose to conduct research in a wide range of basic science disciplines to complement their medical interests, including cell biology and genetics, anatomy, biochemistry and molecular biology, microbiology and immunology, physiology, and pharmacology and neuroscience.

A joint DO/MPH degree program offered in conjunction with the School of Public Health provides future osteopathic physicians with specialized training to develop, integrate and apply culturally competent social, psychological and biomedical approaches to the promotion and preservation of health.

TCOM also offers an accelerated baccalaureate/osteopathic physician program with the University of North Texas in Denton, The University of Texas at Dallas and The University of Texas at Arlington where students can earn both their baccalaureate and DO degrees in seven years instead of the usual eight.

Qualified students earn a bachelor's degree after successfully completing three years at UNT, UTD or UTA and the first year at TCOM. Upon completion of the final three years in the TCOM curriculum and all graduation requirements, students earn their doctor of osteopathic medicine degree.

Students in any of the seven-year combined Bachelor's/DO programs may select the option of also completing the MPH degree by adding one additional year to their program.

Postgraduate Training

TCOM firmly endorses the completion of at least three years of postgraduate training following the doctor of osteopathic medicine degree program. All internship and residency programs sponsored by TCOM are affiliated with the Texas Osteopathic Postdoctoral Training Institutions (OPTI), a consortium of hospitals working with TCOM to provide quality osteopathic graduate education opportunities within the state.

This page last modified April 14, 2011

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