100 percent of first class of 90 students move to second year status

As the Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine (Noorda-COM) welcomes new and returning students to campus this week with its 2022 White Coat Ceremony the institution also looks back on an inaugural year filled with many milestones.

“The inaugural year of Noorda-COM has been a great success,” said Norman Wright, Ph.D., president and CEO of Noorda-COM. “Not only has our first class of medical students excelled but we are welcoming an incredibly diverse group of new medical students this year – all of whom will go on to help address Utah’s growing need for medical providers.” 


  • All 90 members of the class (100%) completed their first year and will move on to their next year of didactic instruction.
  • For the 2021/2022 academic year, 23 students each semester made the Dean’s List (top 25% of the class in GPA). 18 students made the Dean’s list both semesters.   
  • Additionally, at the end of their first year of instruction, Noorda-COM students took the COMAT Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Achievement Test, a standardized assessment of core osteopathic and biomedical sciences knowledge typically taken at the end of second year. 
    • Noorda-COM first-year students obtained a mean standard score of 188.8 compared to the national mean score of 197.4.  
    • This demonstrates that one-half of Noorda-COM’s medical students could pass their national Board exams (taken at the end of second year) after their first year.
  • Noorda-COM also rolled out its research track. The purpose of the research track is three-fold. First, it enhances the student doctor’s ability to think critically and reason scientifically. Second, the research track provides scientific skills to enhance the students’ ability to advance medical knowledge and improve treatment throughout their careers. Third, it provides targeted research experiences within the field of specialty in which the students desire to match as residents.
    • 22 students were mentored by 10 Biomedical and Clinical Faculty in 20 research projects. 
    • 7 Narrative Literature Reviews were prepared for publication with all first year students as authors on two papers.  
    • 20 active research projects were started with five different external grants funding the work and another 13 projects were started on a variety of health topics.
    • 22 students were selected to participate in the research track and all will participate in peer reviewed publications and research presentations at conferences from their work.
  • Noorda-COM students made a significant community impact by:
    • Mentoring at Amelia Earhart Elementary School.
    • Volunteering at South Franklin Community Center.
    • Providing a Noorda-COM Day of Service in partnership with the United Way of Utah County.
    • Participating in the Mass Casualty Incident training at the new Provo Airport before it opened.

“100 percent of our students passed their first year, which is a remarkable accomplishment,” said John J. Dougherty, DO, FACOFP, FAOASM, FAODME, founding dean and chief academic officer. “They worked hard and embraced Noorda-COM’s transformative and innovative teaching model.  I have great confidence they will continue to excel in their studies and go on to provide medical health services to people from all walks of life.”


  • The appointment of Dr. Norman Wright as president and CEO of the institution. Search committee representatives included former Governor Gary Herbert and Noorda-COM Board members Francis Gibson, Jonora Searles, and Heather Kahlert.  Noorda-COM Student Government Association (SGA) President Brittney Harrell and Vice President Cassandra Bovee also served on the presidential search committee.
  • The building Topping-off Ceremony of the new four-story, 140,000 square foot academic building. Construction continues and is scheduled to be completed in 2023.
  • Noorda-COM actively engaged in Utah Legislative Advocacy providing leadership in supporting the passage of HB295 during the 2022 Utah Legislative Session. The new state law secures funding to increase residency programs in Utah. The advocacy gained national attention from the American Osteopathic Association seeking guidance for other states.
  • Dr. John Dougherty, DO, FACOFP, FAOASM, FAODME, founding dean and chief academic officer, was appointed by Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox to the Utah Medical Education Council.
  • Noorda-COM has established affiliation partners with 16 Utah hospitals to provide clerkships for approximately 1,000 medical students.
  • Noorda-COM entered into a partnership with Utah Valley University (UVU) Woodbury School of Business to offer qualifying Noorda-COM students a combined degree of Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) and Master of Business Administration degree. Four students and one faculty member are currently enrolled in the program.
  • Noorda-COM completed its first year utilizing an innovative and unique curricular model developed by faculty and staff. It pioneers medical education for 21st century medical students. The curriculum utilizes short, pre-recorded video segments covering defined learning objectives. Students work collaboratively in small groups of 4-12 people in on-campus learning ‘pods.’ The curricular model is blended with high tech laboratory and simulation experiences.
    • More than 7000 hours of faculty time was utilized to develop pod content.
    • 2,400 videos were created.
    • 350 hours of instruction.
    • 545 total teaching hours spent on simulation and OSCE.
    • 162 hours of ultrasound and augmented reality
    • 54 hours with the Apollo simulator manikin.

“The Noorda-COM inaugural year has been an exciting one full of many milestones as we established our institution for the benefit of a talented and diverse group of medical students,” said Wright. “The greatest milestone being the success of our first class of medical students.  We are excited to welcome our new class and I firmly believe Noorda-COM is well on its way to becoming an esteemed medical education institution in Utah and the Intermountain West.”

About Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine

Located in Provo, Utah, Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine (Noorda-COM) offers an innovative and unique approach to medical education. Noorda-COM provides 21st-century medical students a curricular model blending active, small group learning with advanced laboratory experiences and research opportunities while also emphasizing school and life balance with a commitment to health and wellness. Noorda-COM focuses on preparing future residency-ready physicians committed to providing patient-centered healthcare. Noorda-COM is a private, proprietary institution. An independent governing Board of Trustees oversees Noorda-COM. The Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation granted Noorda-COM Pre-Accreditation status in December 2020. For more information, visit noordacom.org.


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