Thursday, November 27, 2008

DOs do research!

Many aspiring physicians shy away from osteopathic schools because they fear that they won't get the opportunity to do research. This is an unfortunate misconception. There are many people attending osteopathic medical schools that are getting involved in research projects.

Through a quick search I was able to find many different examples of DOs involved in research:
And the list of DOs involved in research can go on forever. Now it may be true that in osteopathic medical schools research may not be the number the top priority; however, teaching the students to understand research and be competent, caring, and qualified physicians is a top priority for all the schools.

If you are planning on attending medical school and love research don't be afraid to look into osteopathic medical schools. Do your homework and figure out which schools the best opportunities for you.

Finally, remember that no matter what your research experience is like through medical school, if you love research you will have opportunities throughout your career to get involved. Medicine is always in need of good research. If you love research then there is room for you.

Friday, November 21, 2008

National Healthcare: Outsourcing surgery to India?

Have you ever called your credit card company, or computer support, and found you were talking to someone in India? It is often difficult to relate your problem well with someone on the other side of the world. This is a common frustration for many people.

Now, did you ever think that you would go in for a consult only to find out you will be going to India for surgery? NY Times put out an article that would surprise a lot of people. When I first read the article I thought that no one would actually consider leaving the US for healthcare, but when you look at the cost difference... people who need help might really give it a thought.

Who knows if this will become a trend, but it is something that doctors and hospitals need to pay attention to. This could begin to concern us all. Take a look at the article and, if you want, come back and leave a comment about your opinion.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What I learned visiting ATSU-KCOM

Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine is a nice school. It is not as nice in terms of how fancy things are around the school, but in the way the school is run. KCOM has been around a long time, and they seem to have it running like clockwork. This is not to say that they are just a machine; I felt like they cared about the individual I found the efficiency of the school to be very attractive.

They seemed to have a lot of things planned ahead. When I went out to Kirksville to interview ATSU volunteered to have a student house me for a night. This gave me the opportunity to talk with other students before I even set foot on campus. I was able to spend the night with a student with a family, which was very nice because I also have a family.

KCOM is a very family friendly school. I was impressed with the support groups and activities that were provided for spouses and children. Most med students don't have families, but those who do should seriously consider applying to KCOM.

ATSU-KCOM recently added a large addition to there school. Inside the addition they put a large new OMM lab. It was definitely the largest manuel medicine lab that I have visited. It was very nice with table that are able to move up and down and large projector screens so the students can see what is being taught. In the building there was also a new simulator lab. These labs seem to be turning into a standard feature in osteopathic medical schools. The new addition also houses the school's library.

KCOM has a fairly large anatomy lab. It wasn't too bad; however, it does have the classic anatomy lab stench. Two of the schools I visited had pristine smelling labs and two did not, unfortunately  this was one that did not.

Another thing to note is that KCOM is basically attached to a hospital. The hospital used to owned by the school, but has since been sold. One stipulation in the contract for the hospital was that KCOM students can stop in at any time and shadow and work with physicians. Also, many of the DOs that teach at KCOM currently practice medicine at the hospital. I found it comforting to know that the teachers are actively practicing while they teach.

A.T. Still University is also concerned about student health. Just off of the main campus they have a building for student activities. They have groups for all kinds of sports including racquetball and fencing.

One last thing to note about KCOM is the 3rd and 4th year. Most DO schools place you for your 3rd year and then give you more freedom (and more responsibility) for setting up your 4th year clinical rotations. KCOM has many states that provide clinical rotations, and when you receive your assignment you know that you will be there for 2 years. For some people this is nice and provides security, stability, and simplifies the stresses that come along with medical school.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What I knew before visiting ATSU-KCOM

My final interview was at A.T. Still University - Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. I was excited to visit the school because I knew a fair amount before my visit. KCOM has been around for well over 100 years. They have a reputation for producing skilled physicians.
Before I applied to KCOM I had the opportunity to meet many of their 3rd and 4th students. I have worked at Central Utah Clinic for the past 2 years, and when I started at the clinic KCOM had students holding biweekly meetings in our department's break room. I found their meetings very interesting and found the students to be very knowledgeable.

Years ago, when I was first researching about medical schools, I found Kirksville's site. Their site was one of the sources that helped me get excited about the opportunity of becoming an osteopathic physician. 

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What I learned by visiting LMU-DCOM

Harrogate, TN, is a very small rural community. Luckily, it is just a quick tunnel drive through a mountain to Middlesboro, KY, which has a population of roughly 10,384 (someone may have moved recently). Lincoln Memorial University is a smaller school itself; however, they do have many graduate programs. The DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine is one of the more recent programs at the school. 

DCOM is a nice school. On interview day we all sat down in a board room and had a few presentations. During the presentations someone said, "We might just be the most technologically advanced medical school in the nation." I heard that and thought, "Sure, every school thinks that." However, while touring the school I was very impressed. They might really stand up to their claim. Of all the schools I have visited, DCOM definitely the most advanced school in terms of technology.

I was particularly excited when we were shown how all the lectures are audio and video recorded, and are quickly made available for students to view and study with. I have found it useful in my premed studies to listen to lectures again, and feel that video would only enhance my learning experience.

As with other schools, DCOM also utilizes robots for students to practice what they are learning. These simulators are impressive and deserve a post of their own.

DCOM is a new school, but the faculty is not new to teaching in any way. All of the teachers have taught before. Some of the teachers have even been deans at other medical schools before starting at DCOM. I could be mistaken, but I remember one of the presenters stating that currently all of the faculty even writes for the national exams. This is a new school, but they are set up for success.

What I knew before visiting LMU-DCOM

The next school I interviewed with was Lincoln Memorial University - DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harrogate, TN. This was the one school that I really didn't know much about. To be absolutely honest, LMU-DCOM was a school I applied to based solely on it's name (who doesn't want to attend a school named after Pres. Lincoln!?). 

Every other school that I applied to I knew something about, but not this one. I didn't even know that DCOM was a brand new school until I talked to a friend at school whose brother lived out near LMU. I had already received acceptance letters to LECOM and WVSOM before my interview day with the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine. I already really liked LECOM and WVSOM and was questioning whether I should even head out to Tennessee to interview. Luckily, my friend had been out to the school and recommended that I go check out the school before I made any decisions. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Some Things I Learned While Visiting WVSOM

I was very impressed with the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. The campus was beautiful. The school used to be an old military base and it was converted into a school. The school has taken great care to keep everything looking nice, and they seem to continually update the facilities.

The lecture halls are huge. WVSOM has 2 lecture halls; one for first year students and the other for second year students. The sound is great and the screens for overheads are big, so really there isn't a bad seat in the room. I sat in on a lecture and spoke with a professor about classes and she took the time to show me the online system. WVSOM records all the lectures in MP3 form. Students are able to go back and listen to any lecture they feel they need. I liked that idea a lot.

The anatomy lab was also really nice. They had 50+ cadavers to work with. One strong selling point was that the lab did not have the tradition stench of other anatomy labs. The faculty at WVSOM has devised a ventilation system that keeps the room smelling pritine and clean.

WVSOM has a fair amount of construction going on at the moment. They had 2 new buildings in progress when I visited. One was a new research facility (I think). The other was a brand new wellness center for students and families to use. It was in the initial phase of construction, but it looked like it will be very nice.

West Virginia, like LECOM, offers lecture track and problem based learning. However, their PBL system is very new and still developing. One nice thing is WVSOM always has a DO and a PhD in the room with the students working their cases. LECOM only had one faculty member.

Last of all WVSOM has robots that simulate real patients. They were very nice. Students have the opportunity to work on cases and learn from mistakes before heading into the real world to work on real people. I will talk about these simulators in a later post since multiple schools have them.

The one downside I found in the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine was the out of state tuition. In-state tuition was fantastic; somewhere around $22,000. Out of state was $50,000+.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What I Knew Before Visiting WVSOM

My second interview was at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM). I was first intrigued by WVSOM after learning about their reputation for producing quality primary care physicians. In fact, WVSOM has been ranked by U.S. News as one of the top schools in the nation for 10 years running.

I looked across their website before attending and it looked beautiful. I felt that if I were accepted at WVSOM that it would be a nice place to study; however, I felt that their out of state tuition was a little intimidating to look at.

I had never met anyone who had attended WVSOM, all I had to base my desire for attending their school was the national reputation that they had developed from their U.S. News rankings.

Monday, November 3, 2008

What I know after visiting LECOM

Since LECOM was the first school that I interviewed with I was not sure what to expect. LECOM's interview is different from any other school I visited. I was interviewed by 2 doctors at the same time. One of them had a PhD and the other was a DO. The thing that made LECOM's interview different was that neither of the interviewers had access to my file. LECOM's admissions commity has the opinion that if you were good enough to receive an invitation for an interview then your interviewers should just get to know you. I found the interview to be very relaxed and actually enjoyable. The PhD interviewer was very friendly and loved to talk.

On the interview day they talked a lot about what sets LECOM apart from other osteopathic medical schools; most importantly they focused on the 3 learning modes:
Lecture track was very traditional but seemed to be the most time intensive in terms of the schedule they give you.
Problem based learning was very intriguing and it also seemed very time intensive, but in PBL you get to set the majority of your schedule for yourself. PBL is a beast (good and bad) of its own and deserves a post all by itself.
Independent study is a route that you get to set your schedule pretty much by yourself; however, many students reported that independent study was actually less independent than the PBL mode of learning.

Erie, PA, was a very nice place. The peninsula that juts out into the lake was really cool. Many students utilized it as a place to relax. LECOM plays a big role in the Erie community and they have places all over town for students. One of the new places in Erie is the wellness center that should be finished in time for the incoming class of 2013. The fitness center is huge and the plans look very nice. LECOM has also renovated an old restaurant and turned it into a student center. Of all the schools I attended LECOM/Erie was the least rural and seemed to have the most to do.

One other interesting thing I learned at my interview was that LECOM is starting a Seton Hill University branch starting summer 2009. The Seton Hill branch will be strictly PBL like Bradenton, FL.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

What I Knew Before Visiting LECOM

My first interview was at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Erie campus. I first learned about LECOM when a representative from LECOM came to present at Utah Valley University. I left the presentation very excited about the school, and was convinced that LECOM was a great school for me to apply to.

LECOM-Erie has 3 learning methods for students: lecture track, problem based learning (PBL), and independent study. The 3 modes of learning excited me because it showed that the school understood that every student is different and may benefit from different teaching styles.

The representative also talked about the role that the MCAT and GPA play in LECOM's application process. LECOM is recognized by many people as a school that accepts applicants with lower scores. He explained that they made sure that applicants meet a certain academic level and then LECOM is more concerned about the type of person you are than about scores.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Where I am in the Process

The process of applying to medical school can be very long and trying. I am glad to be where I am right now. I know I will start medical school in July/August of 2009; I just need to decide which school to attend.

I interviewed with LECOM, WVSOM, LMU-DCOM, and ATSU-KCOM. I was honestly just hoping that someone would accept me for school this year. I feel very blessed that all four schools have offered me a spot in next year's class. This is a tough decision because each school had something that set them apart from all the other schools. 

Over the next while I will be leaving posts about what each of my interviews were like, what I thought of the campuses, and more information about my application process.