Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Osteopathic medicine is a philosophy of health care that emphasizes the interrelationships of the body’s systems in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illness, disease and injury. The Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) is trained to use all clinical/scientific modalities to maintain and restore the health of patients. Based upon an increasing body of scientific evidence, osteopathic medicine emphasizes four main tenets as identified by the American Osteopathic Association:
- The body is a unit; the person is a unit of body, mind, and spirit.
- The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance.
- Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.
- Rational treatment is based upon an understanding of the basic principles of body unity, self-regulation, and the interrelationship of structure and function.
The distinctive feature of osteopathic medicine is the recognition of the relationship between structure and function of the body. The osteopathic physician (DO) uses the developed skills of observation, definitive history taking, clinical judgment, manual medicine and other standard diagnostic and therapeutic procedures to recognize and treat pre-disease and disease states of the body. Treatment of the whole patient, rather than the disease process, is the primary consideration.
To be considered for admission, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university from within the United States prior to the start of orientation.
Applicants must submit entrance exam (e.g., MCAT) scores during the application process; MCAT scores must be within three years of matriculation. Required courses must be completed before registration. The minimum grades recommended for application are a 2.8 cumulative GPA and a 2.8 science GPA on a 4.0 scale, and at least a “C” in each of the following prerequisite areas:
|Subject||Required Course(s) or Term Hours|
|Biology/Zoology||8 semester hours, with lab|
|General Chemistry||8 semester hours, with lab|
|Organic Chemistry||4 semester hours, with lab|
|Biochemistry||3 semester hours|
|Physics||8 semester hours, with lab (may substitute 3 semester hours of Statistics)|
|English: Comp/Literature/Speech||6 semester hours|
Other recommended course work includes cell biology, microbiology, immunology, genetics, physiology and anatomy. Students must be able to successfully achieve the instructional goals of the college and pass both written and practical examinations in all areas, including clinical medicine, patient care, osteopathic manual medicine, Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). Refer to the technical standards in this section.
Additional information can be found on the DO Program Admissions Requirements website.
Program Application Process
Application to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program is accepted through the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS), which is a centralized application service. Detailed information regarding the process can be found on the DO program admissions website.
Students wishing to be considered for transfer into the DO program from another college of medicine (osteopathic or allopathic) must meet the following criteria:
- Student must be ranked in the upper 50% of his/her current medical school class.
- Student must submit a supportive letter of recommendation from the dean of his/her current medical school stating student is in good academic standing.
- Student is enrolled in a COCA- or LCME-accredited medical school.
- Student must have a cogent reason for requesting transfer.
- Student is willing to participate in an interview at the discretion of the Chair of the Admissions Committee.
- The Associate Dean of Academic Curriculum and Medical Programs and a committee of COM course directors will review the applicant’s transcript and determine where transfer credit will be given and what courses will be required for completion prior to graduation.
- Student requesting transfer from other COMs must have passed COMLEX Level 1 of NBOME (or USMLE Step 1 if from an allopathic school).
- Student from an LCME-accredited medical school must meet all DMU-COM OMM requirements prior to graduation.
- Student must be enrolled at DMU a minimum of two years and meet all graduation requirements of the Student Handbook.
- Student has not been convicted of a felony or found guilty of professional or moral misconduct.
- Student must complete a criminal background check and drug screen.
Additional information regarding transfer admission can be reviewed on the website.
Students who have completed coursework in the Master of Health Care Administration (MHA), Master of Public Health (MPH), Master of Science in Anatomy (MSA), Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MSBS) program, or PhD in Biomedical Sciences (PhDBS) and are accepted into the DO program may petition to receive advanced standing for courses completed in the initial program. A maximum of 12.0 advanced standing credit hours can be requested. Courses must have been completed within the last two years and students must have earned a minimum of a “B” grade in order to be considered for advanced standing credit. Additional information regarding advanced standing credit can be reviewed in the Advanced Standing Credit policy.
Curriculum Overview and Outline
The curriculum for the DO degree is a four-year program that provides comprehensive preparation for graduate medical education in any specialty. The four years of study are divided into pre-clinical and clinical phases. The curriculum combines lectures, case-based and small-group discussions, simulation and laboratory exercises. Students also have learning experiences in hospitals, clinics, and community service agencies. The first year focuses on fundamental scientific, behavioral, and humanistic principles that form the foundation of medical knowledge and practice. The second year builds on that with an integrated organ system approach encompassing biomedical and clinical sciences. In the third and fourth years, students are fully immersed in clinical training in rotations at hospitals and clinics. During the clinical phase, students apply knowledge and hone skills gained in the first two years to the care of patients in diverse practice settings, from metropolitan medical centers and rural hospitals to ambulatory clinics.
Program objectives guide teaching, learning and assessment within the educational program. These objectives emanate from and link back to the DMU Learning Goals and AOA/AACOM Core Competencies. Students will demonstrate:
1) Patient-centered care that is compassionate and appropriate for the effective treatment of illness and promotion of health that is consistent with osteopathic principles and practices.
2) A commitment to the highest standards of professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical principles, and sensitivity to diverse patient populations.
3) Knowledge of established and current biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and evidence-based concepts in providing osteopathic medical care to patients.
4) Interpersonal and communication skills that enable them to interact respectfully, empathetically, and professionally with patients, families, health care providers, and colleagues to optimize patient outcomes.
5) The ability to critically evaluate patient care practices, scientific evidence and personal beliefs and biases to provide optimal health care to individual patients and communities.
AOA/AACOM Core Competencies
The COM curriculum is based upon core competencies for medical students as identified by the American Osteopathic Association and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine:
- Osteopathic Principles and Practices
- Medical Knowledge
- Patient Care
- Interpersonal and Communication Skills
- Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
- Systems-Based Practice
Continuous Quality Improvement
The COM is committed to delivering high-quality academic programming to ensure the academic and professional success of its students. Assessment and evaluation are crucial steps in the educational process that are carefully aligned with student learning objectives and instructional activities. Formative and summative assessment methods vary in format – i.e., standardized licensing examinations, written tests (MCQ, SAQ, essay), performance assessments (OSCE, in-training assessments), focused assignments (case reports, projects, self-reflection) and portfolios, among others. Student assessment results are incorporated into the COM planning process on a regular basis to support continual improvement in programs and services to students.
Extended Pathways to Success
The Extended Pathways to Success Program of the College of Osteopathic Medicine allows students experiencing academic difficulties or personal challenges the opportunity to reduce their course load. This strategy provides more time for study and academic counseling and the opportunity to develop improved study skills. Students in this alternative curriculum will require additional time (e.g., five years) to complete the requirements for the DO degree.
The Extended Pathways to Success Program is administered by the Associate Dean for Academic Curriculum and Medical Programs with the assistance of the Academic Progress Committee, Center for Educational Enhancement, and the appropriate Course Directors.
To review the college’s outcome statistics (e.g., board exam pass rates, graduation rates, residency/internship match rates, etc.) and how they compare to national averages, please visit the program’s outcomes webpage.
Osteopathic physicians are required to be licensed by the states in which they practice. Each state has its own individual requirements for granting licensure. Generally, a license can be obtained by successful completion of all three parts of the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam (COMLEX) administered by the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, or by reciprocity from another state.
The COMLEX is given by the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners and is divided into three parts. Level 1 and Level 2-Cognitive Evaluation (CE) are taken during the medical school years. Level 3 is a two-day examination consisting of multiple choice questions and clinical decision making cases. The Level 3 examination is usually taken during the first year of residency. The College requires that students pass Level 1 of the COMLEX before entering clinical rotations and pass Level 2-CE before graduation.
TECHNICAL STANDARDS FOR ADMISSION, ACADEMIC PROMOTION AND GRADUATION
The purpose of this document is to specify the technical standards the University deems essential for a student to matriculate, remain in good standing and ultimately achieve all the competencies necessary for graduation within their program. The University, therefore, requires candidates to confirm their ability to comply with these standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, as a condition of admission and on an annual basis thereafter within a program’s advising processes.
Fulfilment of the technical standards for graduation does not guarantee that a graduate will be able to fulfill the technical requirements of any specific post-graduate residency or fellowship program or employment setting.
A candidate who is seeking a DO, DPM, MSPAS, DPT or OTD degree at Des Moines University must be capable of completing core educational requirements and achieving the competencies in the basic and clinical sciences. DMU seeks to develop candidates who have a deep and robust health science or medical knowledge base and outstanding clinical skills, with the ability to appropriately apply them, effectively interpret information, and contribute to decisions across a broad spectrum of medical situations and settings. The critical skills required to be successful are outlined below and include the ability to observe, communicate, perform motor functions, as well as to understand, integrate core knowledge and skills, and to behave appropriately in varied educational and professional situations.
Reasonable accommodations consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act and the Iowa Civil Rights Act may be required by otherwise qualified individual candidates to meet the technical standards specified below. Requests for University-provided accommodations will be granted if the requests are reasonable, do not cause a fundamental alteration of the health science or medical education program, do not cause an undue hardship, are consistent with the standards of the health science or medical profession, and are recommended by the Accommodations and Educational Support Specialist.
1. Observation: Candidates and students must be able to acquire required information and timely interpret demonstrations, experiments, and laboratory exercises in the basic sciences. They must be able to observe a patient/client accurately for purposes of interactions, evaluation, and treatment.
2. Communication: Candidates and students must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language such that they can communicate effectively in oral and written form with all members of the health care team. Candidates and students must be able to communicate with patients/clients in order to elicit and share information. They must have the capacity for comfortable verbal and non-verbal communication and interpersonal skills to enable effective caregiving of patients/clients and collaboration within a multidisciplinary team. In any case where a candidate’s ability to communicate is compromised, the candidate must demonstrate reasonable alternative means and/or abilities to communicate with patients/clients and members of the healthcare team.
3. Motor and Sensory: Candidates and students must have sufficient motor and tactile function to execute movements reasonably required to perform basic laboratory tests, perform physical examinations, and provide clinical care, including emergency treatment to patients. Such actions may require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements and strength, vestibular function, and functional use of the senses of touch to meet professional care standards. In any case where a candidate’s ability to complete and interpret physical findings using such skills and functions is compromised, the candidate must demonstrate reasonable alternative means and/or abilities to retrieve these physical findings. Candidates and students must be willing and able to touch and examine without regard to race, color, national origin, ethnicity, creed, religion, age, disability, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, veteran status, genetic information, or other characteristics protected by law.
4. Strength and Mobility: Candidates and students must demonstrate strength, including upper and lower extremity and body strength, and mobility to provide clinical care, attend to emergency codes, and to perform or direct such maneuvers as CPR.
5. Evaluation and Treatment Integration: Consistent with the ability to assess at a minimum symmetry, range of motion, and tissue textures, candidates and students must perform proper evaluation and treatment integration.
6. Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities: Candidates and students must have the ability to accurately measure, calculate, reason, analyze, synthesize, problem solve, and think critically. They must also have the ability to participate and learn through a variety of modalities including, but not limited to, classroom instruction, small groups, virtual learning, team and collaborative activities. Interpretation of information from multiple sources (written, verbal, environmental, and interpersonal) is also expected. In addition, candidates and students should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures. Candidates and students must be able to concentrate, timely analyze and interpret data, and make decisions within areas in which there is a reasonable amount of visual and auditory distraction.
7. Behavioral Attributes, Social Skills, and Professional Expectation: Candidates and students must be able to effectively utilize their intellectual abilities, exercise good judgment, complete all responsibilities attendant to the evaluation and care of patients/clients, and develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and colleagues. Candidates and students must be able to professionally manage heavy workloads, prioritize conflicting demands, and function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments; to display flexibility, to learn to function in the face of their own possible biases and uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients, and to not engage in substance overuse or abuse. Candidates and students must be able to understand and determine the impact of the social determinants of health and other systemic issues (including workload and environmental demands) which impact the care for all individuals in a respectful and effective manner regardless of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, creed, religion, age, disability, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, veteran status or any protected status. Professionalism, compassion, integrity, concern for others, ethical standards, interpersonal skills, engagement, emotional intelligence, and motivation are all qualities that are required throughout the educational process.
Des Moines University welcomes qualified candidates and students with disabilities who meet the technical standards of the program, with or without reasonable accommodations. Students with a disability who may need accommodations during their educational career at DMU will be asked to reaffirm their need for accommodations when acknowledging the ability to meet technical standards annually. The student is responsible for requesting accommodations through the Accommodations and Educational Support Specialist in Academic Support within the Center for Educational Enhancement. Please reach out in person, by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or by calling Academic Support at 515-271-1516. The Accommodations and Educational Support Specialist reviews all requests for accommodations through an individualized, interactive process.
The use of an intermediary may be a reasonable accommodation while performing some non-essential physical maneuvers or non-technical data gathering. However, an intermediary cannot substitute for the candidates’ or student’s interpretation and judgement. Intermediaries may not perform essential skills on behalf of the candidate or student, nor can they replace technical skills related to selection and observation.
PROCESS FOR ASSESSING COMPLIANCE WITH THE TECHNICAL STANDARDS
Candidates are required to attest at the time they accept an offer to matriculate that they meet the applicable technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, and annually confirm they continue to meet these standards. These standards are not intended to deter any candidate or student who might be able to complete the requirements of the curriculum with reasonable accommodations.
The University will provide reasonable accommodations as may be required by the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Iowa Civil Rights Act
A student whose behavior or performance raises questions concerning his or her ability to fulfill these technical standards may be required to obtain evaluation or testing by a health care provider designated by the University, and to provide the results to the Center for Educational Enhancement to be considered as part of the interactive process to determine possible reasonable accommodations.
Technological compensation can be made with respect to certain technical standards, but candidates and students should be able to perform these standards in a reasonably independent manner.
In addition to the technical standards set forth, candidates and students must possess the general physical health necessary for performing the duties of a student in the health sciences and a health professional in training without endangering the lives of patients and/or colleagues with whom they might have contact.
|Year 1||Credit Hours|
|ANAT 1101A||Anatomy I||5|
|ANAT 1102B||Anatomy II||4|
|DO 1110A||Professional Certs I||0.5|
|DO 1110B||Prof Certs & Hlth Team Env I||1|
|DO 1130A||Physn Profess: Ident/Interact/Ethics A||3.5|
|DO 1130B||Physn Profess: Ident/Interact/Ethics B||1|
|DO 1120||Med Informatics & Translational Learning||2|
|FDSC 1101||Foundational Sciences I||8|
|FDSC 1102||Foundational Sciences II||6.5|
|FDSC 1103||Foundational Sciences III||7.5|
|OCM 1101A||Osteopathic Manual Medicine I A||2.5|
|OCM 1101B||Osteopathic Manual Medicine I B||2|
|OCM 1107A||Clinical Medicine I A||1.5|
|OCM 1107B||Clinical Medicine I B||2|
|BHVMD 2120||Medical Ethics II and Legal Topics||2|
|DO 2104||Clinical Sci I: Pharm, Hem, Cv, Res||9|
|DO 2105||Clin Sci II: Neuro/Psych, Uro-genital||9.5|
|DO 2106||Clin Sci III: Endo, GI, PMN||6.5|
|DO 2107||Clin Sci IV: ID, Spec Med, Ger||6|
|DO 2110A||Prof Certs & Hlth Team Env II||1|
|DO 2110B||Professional Certs II||1|
|OCM 2101A||Osteopathic Manual Medicine II A||2|
|OCM 2101B||Osteopathic Manual Medicine II B||2|
|OCM 2125A||Clinical Medicine II A||2|
|OCM 2125B||Clinical Medicine II B||1.5|
|SPMED 2115||Basic Surgical and Medical Skills||1|
|DO 3144A||Clinical Rotations Year III A||20|
|DO 3144B||Clinical Rotations Year III B||20|
|DO 3151||Introduction to Health Systems & Policy||1|
|OCM 3101A||Osteopathic Manual Medicine III A||1|
|OCM 3101B||Osteopathic Manual Medicine III B||1|
|DO 4160||Clinical Comprehensive Assessm||1|
|DO 4161||NAMI Provider Educator Program||0.5|
|DO 4144A||Clinical Rotations Year IV A||8|
|DO 4144B||Clinical Rotations Year IV B||16|
|DO 4144C||Clinical Rotations Year IV C||16|
|OCM 4101A||Osteopathic Manual Medicine IV A||0.5|
|OCM 4101B||Osteopathic Manual Medicine IV B||0.5|
|Total Credit Hours||176|
There are no required elective hours in the DO program; a complete list of University electives may be found on the Elective Courses page. Prior to the start of each term, students are provided a list of electives for which DO students are eligible.
The University awards the professional degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) upon recommendation of the faculty. The Academic Progress Committee reports annually to the college faculty the names of students who have met requirements for the doctoral degree. To graduate, a student must:
- Exhibit high standards of professional behavior and receive the faculty’s recommendation for graduation.
- Have attained 21 years of age.
- Pass all required courses, systems, rotations, and examinations.
- Be formally enrolled for at least two years at the COM.
- Be of good moral character and emotionally stable.
- Satisfactorily discharge all financial obligations to the University.
- Complete all graduation requirements, including the graduation clearance process.
- Complete the AACOM Graduating Seniors Survey
- Pass Level 1 and Level 2 (CE and PE) of the COMLEX examinations.
- Attend graduation ceremonies at which time the degree is conferred. Excused absence from commencement for extraordinary extenuating circumstances will only be considered through written appeal to the Dean of the College.