Community Open House

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!