VCOM College Catalog and Student Handbook

Osteopathic Medical School -Years One andTwo

The curriculum in the first two years is divided into blocks, with four blocks in an academic year and; thus, two blocks in a semester. Blocks are 12 weeks in length and semesters are 24 weeks in length. Full-time enrollment during the OMS 1 and OMS 2 years is defined as being enrolled in all required courses each block/semester (15-22 hours per block/26-41 hours per semester) and is required of all students. A minimum of one week is given between blocks for reflection, longitudinal board preparation, and/or in some cases remediation. Students are given four weeks in the summer between the OMS 1 and OMS 2 year to use as a vacation. The curriculum of a medical school differs from that found in other graduate schools in that the curriculum progressively builds, which requires students to complete certain courses in progression to comprehend the foundations on which the clinical curriculum builds. Academic progress; therefore, requires the student to successfully complete each block/rotation within a semester and each semester within an academic year in order to progress in the curriculum. A student must complete the first two semesters (consisting of four blocks) to be promoted to the OMS 2 year and all four semesters (consisting of eight blocks) to be promoted to the OMS 3 year. Courses must be taken in the appropriate year. Enrollment in and successful completion of both blocks within a semester is required to successfully complete the semester. Students who are required to repeat an academic year due to academic difficulty must attend full time, whether they are enrolled in all classes or enrolled in certain classes and auditing others. Students must be aware that certain financial aid sources such as veteran’s benefits, require full-time enrollment in all classes to receive funding. VCOM clinical faculty provide the Clinical Medicine Course and the Principles of Primary Care Course during the first two years of osteopathic medical school. The clinical curriculum is planned by the Clinical Chairs and is integrated throughout the four semesters to augment the learning of the biomedical curriculum in a meaningful way and to build each block upon medical knowledge. Students in the first and second year also learn in faculty supervised early clinical experiences (ECE) and have approximately 20 one-day clinical experiences. The experiences are varied; however, most are inter-professional and focus on the “team approach” to medicine. These include experiences such as pharmacology rounds, geriatric assessment, EMS, radiology, a day with an ICU nurse, a day with an athletic trainer, and internal medicine rounds with a resident. In VCOM’s service-based learning experiences, patients from medically underserved regions receive free medical care, provided by VCOM faculty and students in free clinics, shelters, and rural community health outreach programs. Additional clinical experiences provided through high fidelity simulation models including cardiac and pulmonary emergencies, pediatric emergencies, and obstetrical births prepare students for their experiences with patients during the clinical years. VCOM provides elective courses in the OMS 1 and 2 years available to students who are not experiencing difficulty in the required curriculum. These courses include Medical Spanish, Health Policy, and a Global Health Course. All lectures and presentations in the first two years are delivered in the classroom and are made available to students online through “VCOM TV”, allowing students easy access to materials to review on their own time while studying and to assure they have not missed any information presented in class. Classroom time provides time for active learning and faculty/student interaction.


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