Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.)
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey's School of Osteopathic Medicine is dedicated to providing excellence in medical education with an underlying emphasis on primary health care and community health services. The School is dedicated to the development of compassionate and culturally competent physicians and has been recognized for educational excellence in primary care, geriatric education and osteopathic manipulative medicine. The learning environment is based on principles of adult learning including independent self-directed learning and respect for the individual learner. Students may begin interacting with patients in the first year of their medical education. Osteopathic concepts and methods and an interdisciplinary approach are integrated throughout the curriculum.
A new integrated competency based curriculum was developed by the faculty and implemented in the Fall of 2009. The new curriculum is based on the Seven Competencies of the American Osteopathic Association:
- Osteopathic Philosophy and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine
- Medical Knowledge
- Patient Care
- Interpersonal and Communication Skills
- Practice Based Learning and Improvement
- Systems Based Practice
The curriculum utilizes teaching and learning techniques including lecture/discussion, small group sessions, online learning, standardized patient encounters, simulators, a year one preceptor program, and community involved primary care projects. The case based learning technique, presently utilized in the curriculum, is student directed learning in small groups based on cases written and facilitated by faculty members.
First Year Overview
The first semester of year one is heavily involved in the basic sciences critical to success as a physician. Also integrated throughout year one are OMM (including functional anatomy), professionalism, the history of osteopathic medicine, the Family Medicine Preceptor Program, and community involved primary care. The semester begins with a block of the fundamentals of basic science which include cell physiology, membrane physiology, biochemistry, genetics, tissue types, and an introduction to microbiology and immunology. The next weeks are dedicated to cardiovascular science including physiology, histology, biochemistry, anatomy, microbiology and genetics.
The spring semester of year one begins with a renal/respiratory unit, then gastrointestinal science followed by endocrine/reproductive science. Each of these blocks includes physiology, histology, anatomy, microbiology, and genetics. The semester concludes with a large block of neuroscience and musculskeletal.. This module integrates both the basic sciences and clinical medicine into one unit, and includes neuroscience, microbiology, genetics and pathology.
Second Year Overview
The second year curriculum is organized in systems-based modules. These modules contain integrated information in clinical medicine, pharmacology, pathology, infectious disease, OMM, and physical diagnosis. The semester begins with the prevention module that not only reviews health and promotion prevention but also addresses nutrition and many of the learning objectives of the practice learning-based competency. Prevention is followed by neurology/musculoskeletal, endocrinology, cardiology, pulmonology, and nephrology/urology modules. Professionalism continues with biomedical ethics issues integrated through all case-based learning sessions and standardized patient encounters. The interpersonal communication competency begins in semester one and extends through the second semester. Psychiatry remains a course throughout both semesters of year two. The year two spring semester begins with a week of gastroenterology hematology/oncology, pain management, addiction medicine, and issues surrounding death and dying, women's health, geriatrics and pediatrics modules. The semester concludes with a formal preparatory time for COMLEX Level I examination. Instruction in OMM continues weekly throughout every year of the medical school curriculum. The new learning formats allow for increased integration of OMM, especially in year two when instruction focuses on the patient's clinical presentations that are discussed that week. OMM is also integrated into case-based learning cases and many standardized patient encounters.
Third Year Overview
Years three and four mark the beginning of the clinical component of the medical education program. In the third and fourth years, students learn patient care and develop clinical technical skills and serve as members of a medical team. Students spend time with clinical faculty at the Kennedy University Hospital-located in Stratford, Cherry Hill, and Washington Township; Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden; Christ Hospital in Jersey City, St. Joseph's Hospital in Paterson, New Jersey, Morristown Memorial Hospital and Overlook Hospital in Summit, and at other instructional sites in the area.
The following specialty areas offer clinical instruction in the third year: Family Medicine, General Internal Medicine, Obstetrics/ Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Geriatrics, Radiology, Surgery/ Anesthesiology and Medical Jurisprudence. Basic procedures are demonstrated and practiced by students in each of these areas. Students learn about the standard operating procedures of the hospital and office practice.
Fourth Year Overview
The UMDNJ—School of Osteopathic Medicine's fourth-year instructional format includes a series of clinical experiences. A primary purpose of instruction in this year is to help the fourth year student apply the didactic background and preliminary clinical training to more intensive clinical experiences. The student is given patient-care responsibilities on each service through which he / she rotates. Instruction takes place at the bedside and in clinical conferences. During the year, students develop skill and competency in history taking and physical examination, creating a differential diagnosis, ordering and using laboratory tests; learning procedures in making a diagnosis and providing treatment. They establish professional relationships with patients, participate in the management of patient care during the hospital stay and in subsequent follow-up visit and record data and present cases. The following specialty areas offer clinical instruction in the fourth year: family medicine, emergency medicine, surgical, and medicine specialties. Students have the opportunity for subspecialty experiences in cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, general internal medicine, geriatrics, hematology/oncology, infectious diseases, nephrology, neurology, pulmonology and intensive care.
Through direct and extensive patient contact, the student has many opportunities to practice the concepts of osteopathic diagnosis and therapeutics and to learn through instruction by interns, residents, and faculty. The case specific learning experiences are a valuable aspect of the program.
Innovative components have been placed throughout all four years of the curriculum. Ethics, clinical osteopathic manipulative medicine, and pain management are examples of curricular topics that are integrated within courses and clinical experiences spanning the four years of medical school. Traditional lecture formats are augmented and supported by an emphasis placed on self-directed study, online learning, videos, standardized patient lab, and a multitude of teaching strategies and technologies.