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Carrying on the Legacy of Veterans

By Culture + Community, Events

Over Memorial Day weekend, the Noorda-COM Student Association of Military Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons Club (SAMOPs) hosted a Wounded Warrior Project “Carry Forward 5k” in Provo Canyon. All of campus was invited to participate and faculty, students, staff, and family members showed up to support SAMPOPs’ efforts.

Wounded Warrior participants are encouraged to walk, jog, or run with a U.S. flag to show support. Some participants of Saturday’s event even ran with weights, to represent the responsibility that veterans bear. Erik Jones, a second-year, HPSP student doctor who organized the event, was one of those participants who went the extra mile.

“As a future military physician, I find it essential to connect with those actively defending our country,” Jones explained. “While I may not be the one carrying a fellow soldier to safety, running the 5l with extra weight has given me a deeper appreciation for those who perform such remarkable feats. Remembering those who have been injured physically or mentally, or who have made the ultimate sacrifice, has motivated me to work harder. Carrying the extra weight served as a reminder of why I chose to become a physician and serve in the military.”

Erik Jones (second to left) poses with a group of participants.

Noorda-COM is proud to call itself home to a variety of military members, supporters, and professionals, including employee veterans, active-duty members through the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP), and Veteran Affairs HPSP students.  

HPSP is a scholarship agreement between medical students and the Army, Navy, VA, or Air Force, where students receive a full tuition scholarship and a stipend for living expenses. Among other requirements that follow after graduation, HPSP recipients are on active duty 45 days per year and in the reserves the rest of the year. (Though VA HPSP students are not active duty members.) Depending on their branch, students are also required to serve as a military physician for several years after completing their residency program.

Noorda-COM has a high number of HPSP students–56, to be exact. Aveline Langmead, a first-year and the vice president of SAMOPs, shared why she chose to enroll in the Health Professions Scholarship Program.

(Some of Noorda-COM’s HPSP students in fall of 2023; Aveline Langmead pictured on the far right corner.)

“Growing up playing sports, I was always drawn to working within a team and working towards something much greater than myself,” Langmead explained. “Thus, when the HPSP scholarship opportunity presented itself, I felt that it aligned with many of my goals, while allowing me to play a role in one of the biggest ‘teams’ in the world. I believe serving in the military after medical school will allow me to not only care for my future patients, but to care for those and their families that work to protect our country. Being the first person in my family to serve in the military, I was fortunate to have an incredible community at Noorda-COM to learn from and navigate this journey with. Alongside the incredible career, character building, and leadership opportunities, the HPSP scholarship provides financial peace of mind while traversing your medical education. I am beyond proud and fortunate to serve as a member of Noorda’s HPSP program and the U.S. Navy.” 

Whether in white coats or branch uniforms, we are proud of our students and their dedication to serving our country.

Supporting Provo Elementaries’ Health

By Culture + Community, Events

Noorda-COM launches first “Kaufusi’s Keikis” health screening event at Timpanogos Elementary

Our students and faculty supervisors conducted the first Kaufusi’s Keikis health screening event on May 1 at Timpanogos Elementary School.

The primary benefactor of the 2023, and upcoming 2024 Provo Open, Kaufusi’s Keikis, is a preventative health program managed by Noorda-COM and named in honor of Mayor Kaufusi.

“Mayor Kaufusi’s personal experiences growing up in this community, where access to health screenings was lacking, along with her unwavering dedication to the well-being of Provo’s school children, made it clear that establishing this program as the Kaufusi’s Keikis Health Outreach Program was the right choice,” said Dr. Norman Wright, president of Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Kaufusi’s Keikis will continue to expand, offering free, optional health screenings to elementary-aged children in Provo, Utah. May first’s screenings included six stations for checking vital signs, conducting cardiopulmonary tests, neurological exams, scoliosis checks and basic dental and vision inspections.

Ram B., a first-year student at Noorda-COM, completes a blood pressure check on a Timpanogos Elementary child.

Student doctors and faculty were able to assess several hundred children and offer additional health support to parents. Regan Caldwell, the parent of a Timpanogos Elementary School child, shared her experience with us:

“One thing we love about living in Provo is the variety of little-to-no-cost activities and programs available to young families. And the Kaufusi’s Keikis event was one that did not disappoint! My daughter was absolutely thrilled to explore the emergency vehicles and meet the first responders. I was also amazed at the gentleness and fun-natured personalities of the students who administered the health screenings. All in all, everyone definitely made my daughter’s day!”

Timpanogos Elementary was chosen as the first school for health screenings because of its Title 1 status.

“Provo is more than just a college town. It has a diverse community and population and home to immigrants, people below the poverty line, and English-as-a-second-language speakers,” explained Dr. Namealoha Hekekia, clinical faculty lead on the Kaufusi’s Keikis program.  “In fact, seven out of thirteen of Provo’s elementary schools are Title 1 schools.”

Dr. Hekekia (far left), posing with three Noorda-COM students and a member of the Utah Valley Pediatrics team.

Title 1 schools are given Medicaid access, but Dr. Hekekia explained that the hope for Kaufusi’s Keikis is that it will be a supplementary program, giving parents direction for their child’s health and empowering them to navigate the healthcare system.

Kaufusi’s Keikis is made possible by donations of time and service, as well as private donations and sponsorship gifts, made to the Noorda-COM Foundation (an IRS-approved 501 (c)3 public charity). The Noorda-COM Foundation is also receiving annual support from the net proceeds of the Provo Advantage Pro-Ams, including the upcoming Provo Advantage Golf Tournament on June 24 and 25. Click here to contribute to Kaufusi’s Keikis through the Noorda-COM Foundation. Or, learn more about sponsorships available through the Provo Advantage below.

Get to “Gnome” Me: Roshni J.

By Culture + Community

Noorda-COM faculty, students, and staff are more than their job title or student status. They’re also parents, novelists; professional athletes–and the list goes on! That’s why we created “Get to Gnome Me”: to spotlight our campus members’ personalities, achievements, and lives beyond Noorda-COM. Today we’re spotlighting Roshni J., an (almost) fourth-year who loves spending time with her cat Oliver, cooking, and trying new foods.

If you scroll through my camera roll, you’ll find… my cat Oliver! He’s my pride and joy, and far more
photogenic than I am.

My favorite thing about third-year rotations has been… engaging with patients! I love talking through different diagnoses and preventative measures with patients so they can take on an active role in developing their care plan and feel empowered to lead healthier lives.

My mom has had the greatest impact on my life. I’d be lost without her sacrifices and endless
support.

A physician I admire is… Dr. Hekekia. She was one of the first faculty members I met at Noorda COM
and she even cooked the tastiest meal for us during our first semester! It has been so wonderful to have such a warm and talented female physician to turn to for advice through medical school and I’ll be forever grateful for her guidance.

Currently, I’m looking forward to… away rotations. I’m excited about the opportunity to explore a new
city for a while and interact with different patient populations–but I’m equally excited to try out
new places to eat!

I find life meaningful when… I get to visit my family and friends. Med school has been challenging and
spending time with my support system has definitely helped get me through the more rockier bits.

My favorite place on-campus is… the pods! The view of the mountains is the perfect study backdrop–they’re quite calming after a tough uWorld block.

My go-to wellness activity is… a good post-dinner walk. I love grabbing a good bite to eat and then
going on an evening stroll to stave off the food coma and get some steps in. Walking by the lake or
on a trail in the canyon are probably my go-to’s!

Get to “Gnome” Me: Elle G.

By Culture + Community

Noorda-COM faculty, students, and staff are more than their job title or student status. They’re also parents, novelists; professional athletes–and the list goes on! That’s why we created “Get to Gnome Me”: to spotlight our campus members’ personalities, achievements, and lives beyond Noorda-COM. Kicking off our first feature is Elle G., a first-year interested in PM&R and sports medicine.

A core memory of mine is… earning a place on the U.S. Aerial Ski Team* (based in Park City, Utah) and competing on the full World Cup Circuit and World Championships Teams in 2015.

My favorite aspect of Grand Opening was… showing attendees of our gala how awesome our school is and being able to connect to people behind the scenes of Noorda-COM who make it possible for us to be here! Being a first-year, I saw a lot of things I haven’t been introduced to yet (like the simulation center), so it makes me excited for the future! But overall, it was so cool to see everyone come together and celebrate all the hard work that was put into our much needed school! 

My favorite place on campus is… pod 4026 with fellow students, specifically at night with a fake fireplace playing on the TV.

My first (memorable) experience with medicine was… my first day as a certified nursing assistant (CNA), I walked into a patient’s room so shy and nervous that I could barely get words out of my mouth. I very quickly realized that medicine is all about communication and patient connection.

If I haven’t texted you back in a while, I’m probably… out of service or taking a nice long nap.

If you scroll through my camera roll, you’ll find… a bunch of pictures of Ram’s** cat, Ham, and hundreds of screenshots of schoolwork so I can study on the go.

I’m most passionate about research surrounding… traumatic brain injury and concussion! I personally suffered for many years from countless brain injuries acquired from my sport and understand the effects it has on your quality of life! Healthy brain: happy life.

One thing I wish people knew about osteopathic medicine is… how beneficial OMM can be for some patients!

My motto for life is… “NEXT”. It started as an inside joke with my mom and I and now I say it to all situations in life.

My pod mates… keep med school fun. They make me laugh every single day while keeping me in line with studies by constantly quizzing me.

My go-to wellness activity is… getting outside! Whether it be skiing, camping, climbing, biking, I always feel better when outdoors.


*For those unfamiliar with aerial skiing, Elle provided the following explanation of her sport and background:

“Aerial skiing consists of skiing 35+ miles per hour straight off a 15-20 foot jump, propelling yourself 30-40 feet in the air while doing flips and twists of varying difficulty and hopefully landing on your feet on an inclined landing hill. In 2013, when I was 15, I was recruited to join the U.S. Elite Aerial Development Program where I lived, trained, and did online school full-time at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York with my coaches and 11 teammates. In the summer, we trained twice a day (not including 2 strength training and trampoline sessions) on water ramps, where we skied off of jumps made of plastic and landed into a pool of water instead of snow, giving us a safe place to progress our tricks for the winter.

During competition season, we traveled around the United States, Canada, and Europe competing in North American and European cups, which are a stepping stone into the official World Cup Circuit. Starting in 2015, at 17 years old, I competed on the full World Cup Circuit and World Championships Teams, traveling and flipping worldwide.

Through my years of aerial skiing, I was fortunate to have minimal injuries, however, my brain did not have the same durability as my body. After multiple traumatic brain injuries and concussions, I made the decision to step away from the sport to rebuild my cognitive and mental health. Without my career as an aerial skier, I would have never found my way to medicine.”

**Ram is a friend from Elle’s cohort and president of COM 2027.

Grand Opening Week’s Events

By Campus News, Events

While Saturday, March 9th was our largest event for the public, there were also internal celebrations leading up to the grand opening of our new academic building. With the assistance of nearly 200 faculty, student, and staff volunteers, our campus hosted several events before the open house, including:

  • A “Community Partners Party”, for all the preceptors, business owners, city and county officials, chamber members, and other partners of Noorda-COM
  • An unveiling of the Noorda family wall—to honor the primary benefactors and stalwart supporters of our college
  • A gala for our founders, board members, donors, opinion leaders, and distinguished guests, featuring guided tours, dinner and remarks, a simulated car crash, and a drone show
  • A dedication ceremony for the Michael D. Elton Library and to recognize the generosity of Jo Searles and the Elton Family Foundation

Here’s a few photos from each event:

Recapping our Grand Opening

By Campus News

Saturday, March 9th will be remembered as the day Noorda-COM celebrated the opening of its new academic building with 1,500 family members, friends, volunteers, community members, government officials, founders, physicians, and other visitors!

This historic event included a ribbon-cutting ceremony and remarks by founders. Then, our doors opened for visitors to enjoy activities in practically every nook, cranny, and classroom.

In addition to offering a “mini med school” for children on the first floor, we repurposed 13 of our OSCE (objective structured clinical examination) rooms into escape rooms. Each room featured décor, clues, and a patient actor to interact with.

Participants solving a final clue in an OSCE escape room.

“Adults, kids, and everyone in between were so excited to ‘solve the mystery’ of the ‘ill’ patient,” explained Diane Gabriel, first-year student and escape room volunteer. “What many don’t realize is that student doctors get to practice solving a multitude of ‘mysteries’ during our education and practice communication, diagnosing, and treatment skills. While the escape rooms were indeed just for fun, they also sparked conversation regarding the importance of practicing clinical skills in a simulated environment and illustrated the unique educational opportunities Noorda-COM has to offer.” 

OSCEs look identical to an urgent care (or primary care physician’s) examination room and begin near the end of a Noorda-COM student’s first year. Rubric (communication skills, diagnosis aptitude, and treatment plan formulation) expectations increase with each semester.

Visitors also experienced portions of a Noorda-COM education through patient simulators (life-sized robots) and other task trainer demonstrations, including a live (robotic) birth, a heart attack, and ultrasound-capable trainers.

A young visitor tests out an ultrasound-capable task trainer.

“The task trainer demos during the open house were so fascinating,” explained visitor Jessica Blaine. “I also really liked the Holodeck screen demonstrating how ultrasounds work. Seeing the 3D render of how a baby is nestled inside of the womb was honestly captivating. As someone from a tech background focused on creating VR/AR games, I was surprised at how interesting and engaging medical technology can be to interact with!”

Saturday’s events also featured an augmented reality tour, live demonstrations of OMM techniques, a service project, and a wellness activity. This wellness activity included take-home affirmations for participants to reflect on their strengths, consider their weaknesses, and apply the eight dimensions of Noorda-COM wellness.  

Visitors watching an osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) demonstration.

Breanna Palmer, Administrative Assistant in Clinical Affairs, recounted a moment she shared with a physician at the wellness activity:

“A visitor expressed how impressed they were with the focus on student wellness at Noorda-COM,” she explained. “He mentioned that the medical school he attended had nothing like this program, and he hoped that other schools could learn from our example.”

Wellness at Noorda-COM includes monthly activities (sound baths, trail mix “make n take” bars, etc.) and a curriculum that requires all students to complete at least one hour of wellness per week. Wellness is also supplemented by psychological resources from Student Affairs. This commitment to self-care originates from the osteopathic philosophy.

It was amazing to see the community and our volunteers rally around us. This grand opening was one for the history books!

Harnessing the Power of AR

By Technology

It’s been an exciting time for our campus! We moved into our brand-new, state-of-the-art academic building and tested out new technology, learning spaces, and (anatomy, OSCE, and osteopathic manipulative medicine) labs.

This campus was designed with a commitment to remaining at the forefront of technology. Through advanced patient-care simulators, early engagement in research opportunities, and our flexible curricular model, students can learn essential skills from the newest resources possible.

We wanted this commitment to innovation and non-traditionalism to be reflected in our grand opening. That’s why we partnered with Continuum: to create six unforgettable touring experiences. Dispersed throughout the building, these augmented reality experiences help explain our medical school through videos, animation, “holographic” designs, and more.

The beginning of our AR tour.

“In pursuit of a distinctive touring experience, we harnessed Continuum’s cutting-edge expertise in the world of AR,” explains Ally Pack, marketing manager. “Every individual has different interests when touring our building and we wanted the experience to be a technological marvel for all visitors. Smartphones act as a gateway at our fingertips, facilitating exploration not only of our physical building but also of our purpose and vision.”

Nick Curtis, a first-year medical student from Utah, was asked to participate in the tour’s first stop. Using video editing and Continuum technology, we turned him into a holographic welcome.

Filming for Nick’s holographic segment.

“It was really cool to be part of something that will stand out for ages,” he explained. “I’m super excited for prospective students and visitors to experience this AR tour and learn more about what Noorda-COM has to offer them.”

Our campus welcomed nearly 1,500 visitors on Saturday, March 9th. Didn’t make it to campus last weekend? Fill out this form and we’ll mail you an AR tour card to enjoy from the comfort of your home!

Preceptor “Do’s and Donuts” Event

By Events

Visit Noorda-COM on Friday, June 2nd, and share your clinical advice with student doctors via in-person conversations or (pre-recorded) video.

Your experience is incredibly valuable! Come to Building 1 on Friday, June 2nd, to share your do’s and do “nuts” with students. Lunch and donuts will be provided. If you can’t attend in person, make a quick, informal video and upload it here.

Save-the-Date Info:

Friday, June 2 | 12-2 pm

Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine, Building 1

Share your advice in person or record a video for students to watch.

White Coat Ceremony 2024

By EventsNo Comments

Saturday, July 27, 2024 l 10:00 a.m. l UCCU Center on the campus of Utah Valley University

The White Coat Ceremony marks the beginning of your journey as a physician. It is a day to celebrate with your family and friends and your Noorda-COM faculty and staff. This event embodies the osteopathic traditions that will help you become the competent, confident, and compassionate physician to which you aspire to be.

This year, our keynote speaker will be former United States Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, FASA.

As the 20th U.S. Surgeon General and a prior member of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Jerome Adams has been at the forefront of America’s most pressing health challenges. A regular communicator on television, radio, and in print, Dr. Adams is an expert not only in the science, but also in communicating the science to the lay public and making it relevant to various audiences.

Dr. Adams was appointed as a Presidential Fellow and the Executive Director of Purdue University’s Health Equity Initiatives in October 2021. He is also a Distinguished Professor of Practice in the departments of Pharmacy Practice and Public Health. Dr. Adams is a licensed anesthesiologist and has a master’s degree in public health.

We are excited to hear from Dr. Adams at this year’s ceremony. Using the links below, you can find important information about the White Coat Ceremony for you as a student and for your guests.

Watch the Recap from 2023 Here

Overcoming the Dangerous Intersection of Opioids, Chronic Pain, and Misuse

By Events

Join us on April 26, 2023 8:00 am MST

This controlled substance prescribers course meets the Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing requirements for physician license renewal in Utah and includes a summary of the November 2022 CDC Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Pain.

The following topics will be addressed throughout the course:

  • Understanding the medicine to decrease opioid prescribing, opioid-related overdoses, and death
  • Identifying methods for appropriate alternatives to opioids based on patient health situations
  • Minimizing the potential for patients with history of substance abuse to misuse opioids
  • Counseling patients and caregivers about safely using ER/LA opioid analgesics.

Speakers

  • Speakers will be Dr. Jon Benfield, Dr. Snigdha Ancha, and Dr. John Kriak