What is Osteopathic Medicine?
Osteopathic medicine is a philosophy in the approach to patient care and one of two distinct pathways to medical practice in the United States. Osteopathic medicine incorporates all modalities of medicine into patient care including prescription drugs, surgery, and the use of technology to diagnose disease and evaluate injury. It emphasizes hands-on diagnosis and treatment which includes an additional therapeutic modality known as osteopathic manipulative medicine. In Utah, just under 1 in 6 (18%) licensed physicians are DO’s.
Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, or DOs, are fully licensed physicians who practice in all areas of medicine. Osteopathy teaches a whole-person, mind, body, and spirit approach to diagnosis and treatment. DOs are trained to listen to and partner with their patients to help them get healthy and stay well.
Why does Utah need another medical school?
The State of Utah is in the center of the fastest growing region within the United States with Utah county at the epicenter of this historical growth within the Intermountain West. Our tech sector is at the heart of this boom within our region, the Wasatch front, now known as Silicon Slopes.
Projections estimate the State of Utah adding 1,000,000 people by 2030 with 600,000 of those predicted to reside in Utah County. Together with neighboring Salt Lake County, there will be a population of no less than 3 million in central Utah within an 80-mile radius of the campus.
Utah is fortunate to have several strong health systems in our community providing exceptional health care. However even before this rapid population expansion will have occurred, Utah currently ranks in the bottom 10% of the nation in key physician workforce categories including active physicians and specifically, 49th in the nation in primary care.
These numbers will only get worse without adding to the physician workforce through new undergraduate and graduate medical education programs.
An additional supporting factor is the percentage of native Utahn’s who leave the state every year to pursue their medical education.
Currently, 75% of matriculants from Utah starting medical school, either MD or DO, do so outside of Utah.
Those accepted represented 37% of all Utah applicants to medical school. This accepted percentage is 7% above the national average of 30% of applicants accepted to a U.S. based medical school.
The Intermountain West encompasses all or part of 11 states representing 583,000 undergraduates. 30% of those study in one of 9 Utah Colleges or Universities.
Another supporting statistic supporting the development of our program in Utah is the percentage of Utahn’s choosing Osteopathic medicine.
25% of all students studying medicine in the U.S. are doing so in an Osteopathic program.
43% of Utah’s medical school matriculants are choosing to do so as an Osteopathic medical student.
What is the mission of Noorda-COM?
Our mission at Noorda-COM is to empower our students with the essential personal and professional skills needed to be competent, confident, and compassionate osteopathic physicians who are dedicated to meeting healthcare challenges within the communities they serve. Our vision is to become a leader in osteopathic medical education through innovative, progressive curricular offerings. We hope to instill values that embrace diversity, foster cultural awareness and ethical leadership, and inspires a servant’s heart towards caring for the poor and needy.
What does pre-accreditation mean?
Noorda-COM has been granted pre-accreditation status from the American Osteopathic Association Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA). Pre-accreditation status is reviewed annually to assess the academic progress of the first-, second- and third-year classes through graduation. Full accreditation is typically granted prior to when a new school graduates its first class.
How many students are in each class?
Noorda-COM is approved for a class size of 180 students each year. Under the COCA Standards for New and Developing schools, our first class in the Fall of 2021 will be 90 students (50%), the second class will be 135 (75%) and the third class will be at full capacity at 180 (100%). The accrediting body allows for an 8% variance after that to allow for attrition so the final class-size count will be 194.
Where is Noorda-COM located?
Noorda-COM will reside on the Timpanogos Technology Center Campus in South Provo, Utah utilizing three of the campus buildings. The campus is located on a unique campus setting with mature trees, large manicured green spaces, water features, walking paths, and incredible mountain views. Construction is currently underway for the expansion of the campus to a 32-acre Medical Education and Research Campus located across the street from the Timpanogos Technology Campus overlooking the Timpanogos Golf Club.
Is Noorda-COM a proprietary institution?
The Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine is a proprietary institution which is overseen by a Board of Directors. What makes Noorda-COM unique is that it is also a Program Related Investment (PRI) according to the Internal Revenue Service. The PRI provision allows for non-profit organizations to invest in proprietary activities as long as the work of the proprietary entity aligns with the non-profit organization’s mission and objectives. For Noorda-COM, the non-profit organization which is its major investor is the Ray and Tye Noorda Family Foundation, a non-profit, public charity dedicated to advancing the health and wellbeing of people throughout Utah and around the world.
How do I apply?
Noorda-COM only accepts applications through the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS). For more information about how to apply, visit www.aacom.org. The centralized application service opens in May each year for students who wish to apply for the class entering the following year.
What are the admissions requirements for the program?
Does Noorda-COM only accept students from Utah?
No. Noorda-COM will accept students from across the nation who will help us meet our mission. We choose the most qualified students for our program.
What are Noorda-COM’s minimum requirements for GPA and MCAT?
It is in the applicants best interest to have achieved at least a 3.0 science and cumulative grade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale. Medical School is mentally challenging and therefore a higher GPA can be reflective of the students’ academic aptitude and in turn, likelihood of success. Noorda-COM does appreciate the students last 60 credit hours are a meaningful representation of a student’s current ability and as such evaluates as a separate metric.
Noorda-COM weighs the MCAT in connection with grades and personal qualities. A competitive MCAT score is above 503 with individual section above 125. We accept MCAT scores three years prior to matriculation.
Do repeated courses factor into my GPA?
AACOMAS will include all course attempts in the GPA calculation and not drop initial course attempts from the GPA calculation. Noorda-COM follows a broad based approach to reviewing applications and doesn’t just take the GPA and MCAT as a way of reviewing applications.
Are prerequisite courses from a community college accepted?
Yes, if the courses are taken at a regionally accredited institution, the credits are accepted.
Is it OK to take the MCAT more than once?
Yes, it is fine to take the MCAT more than once. Noorda-COM only accepts the MCAT score from up to three years prior to the date of matriculation. We look at the highest score and the breakdown of the individual score.
How many letters of recommendation do I need?
Noorda-COM requires a minimum of two letters of recommendation. The first letter must be from either a DO or an MD. A letter from an osteopathic physician is not required but is strongly recommended. The second letter must be from a premedical advisory committee or science faculty member who is familiar with your academic work.
Non-traditional students can substitute the premedical advisor or science faculty advisor with a more recent reference (employer, volunteer/community service supervisor). Additional letters of recommendation can be submitted through AACOMAS or by mail.
Does Noorda-COM accept transfer students or previous matriculants to medical schools?
Students enrolled at an AOA-COCA accredited osteopathic medical school or the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) may be considered for transfer admission into the second or beginning third year of medical studies at Noorda-COM upon completion of the equivalent level of medical education as currently structured at Noorda-COM, and provided that a vacancy exists. Transfer applicants must be in good academic standing at an accredited medical school where they are currently enrolled, be eligible for continued enrollment/readmission, and present a valid and compelling reason for transfer. LCME enrolled transfer students must successfully complete all OMM/OPP competency prior to graduation from the COM. Transfer of admissions with advanced standing is at the discretion of the Dean.
Does Noorda-COM require students to have a criminal background check or drug screen prior to matriculation?
Yes. Credentialing at clinical affiliations is a tenant of completion of the curriculum. To engage in patient care activities, those affiliates require students to have a current criminal background check and drug screening. This is at a minimum accomplished prior to matriculation and before the beginning of the third year.
Is it true that there are no scheduled classes?
There is a schedule for students to accomplish pre-recorded content, but the students decide when to complete the assignments. Small groups of 4-12 students complete core content on-demand, in on-campus learning pods, collaboratively accomplishing required subject matter. Faculty are “on-call” should students have questions about the material presented. There are in-person reviews every other Thursday and Friday for students desiring additional support. More information can be found on our Curriculum page.
What clinical experiences are in the pre-clinical years?
Our curriculum has, from the very beginning, student engagement with augmented and virtual reality content. We will have a 23,000 sq. ft simulation center that students will be working in every week. By the end of the first year, students are certified as medical scribes, which allows students to work in clinics and hospitals during their second year as part of the Longitudinal Community Medicine course. In addition, we are working with community partners to build screening programs allowing students to provide health screenings in the community.
Is there virtual anatomy?
We will have a state of the art, one of a kind, anatomy lab. First year students will work with prosected specimens, with instruction on touch screens imbedded in the wall next to each tank. There is an elective, advanced surgical course, for students who are interested in pursuing advanced dissection skills in year two.
What is the grading system?
Our grading system is designed to provide the student with meaningful feedback as to their progress through the curriculum. Students are provided daily, individualized, discipline specific and cumulative performance metrics.
The first year of the curriculum strengthens the knowledge and comprehension of the biomedical sciences and as such, students will receive a cumulative grade at the completion of the first year in the form of a 2 digit and 3 digit score comparable to boards scores. This system helps the student appreciate a realistic perspective of their standing in comparison to their peers not only at Noorda-COM, but across the nation.
In the second year, those foundational sciences are integrated in the analysis and application of the 10 system-based courses, each of which will receive an individual grade in the same 2 and 3 digit format.
Each Core Clinical rotation will receives an individual grade (Below Expectations, Meets Expectation, High Pass, Honors).
Where will students complete their clinical rotations?
Clinical rotations will be accomplished primarily in Utah county with one of eleven hospitals and among the three health systems that Noorda-COM has affiliations with; Intermountain Healthcare, MountainStar (HCA), and Steward. See a complete list of clinical affiliation partners.
Will I need to set up my own rotations?
Noorda-COM Clinical Education Department works with local hospitals and clinics to arrange for core student rotations. Students will receive their scheduled rotations in the spring of their second year. Clinical Education will assist students who need help with identifying and arranging for elective, or “audition” rotations in the fourth year.
Is Noorda-COM planning on starting new Residency programs?
There are currently 22 uncapped hospitals GME eligible within the state of Utah all in a variety of health systems and circumstances. Seven of these 22, uncapped hospitals are actually in Utah County. Noorda-COM is collaborating with the State Legislature and the University of Utah -School of Medicine’s GME department to maximize the potential of these hospitals for residencies and fellowships.