Established by act of the Ohio General Assembly in 1975, the College of Osteopathic Medicine was created to help alleviate the state’s growing shortage of family physicians and to train doctors for chronically underserved areas. The educational program has been tailored to meet this legislative mandate. The Ohio University Board of Trustees officially changed the name of the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine to the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM) in 2011. The name change recognizes the historic, transformative $105 million gift to the medical school from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations.
Most entering students are enrolled in the clinical presentation continuum curriculum, and about 20 percent of OU-HCOM students take part in the patient-centered continuum curriculum. Both curricula—depending on an individual’s learning style—are designed to reaffirm the college’s dedication to educating primary care physicians. Both feature early clinical exposure, clinical case studies, integration of basic sciences during clinical training, and a continuum of knowledge from year one of medical school through residency training.
In the third year of medical education, OU-HCOM students relocate to one of the Centers for Osteopathic Research and Education (CORE) sites. The CORE, established by the college in 1995, is one of the nation’s largest, most advanced and best supported medical education consortia. The consortium—which consists of 26 hospitals, the Raabe College of Pharmacy at Ohio Northern University, and OU-HCOM—provides third- and fourth-year students with a medical education structure that blends together biomedical sciences, clinical training, medical ethics/humanities, leading-edge technologies, and osteopathic principles and practice. This process stretches from predoctoral to postdoctoral to lifelong learning, with many OU-HCOM graduates vying for spots in internship and residency programs at the CORE hospitals. Six other osteopathic colleges send a select number of their students into the Ohio consortium for clinical training.
Although training the best osteopathic physicians is the college’s first priority, research is also an essential part of medical education at OU-HCOM. College faculty and staff carry out a wide range of investigations funded by state, federal and private sources.
OU-HCOM and Ohio University offer multicultural programs that strive to expand health care career opportunities for economically and educationally disadvantaged students of all races. The college also offers several international educational experiences to increase cultural sensitivity and awareness.
An orientation toward family medicine, a commitment to supply medical care where such services are not otherwise available, a promising research program and a commitment to diversity are key components of the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. These factors have earned the college recognition as one of the nation’s trend-setting medical education institutions.
The Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine receives accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation ( see full COCA accreditation statement here ).
Founded one year after Ohio became a state in 1803, Ohio University sometimes uses the motto “Ohio’s First University.” This, however, does not adequately portray the university’s place in history since Ohio University is the oldest state-supported institution of higher education west of the Allegheny Mountains.
Today the university remains dedicated to the ideals of its founders as expressed in the Ordinance of 1787, which is etched in stone on the campus gate: “Religion, Morality and Knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools, and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”
From humble beginnings as a small frontier college, Ohio University has grown until, today, it is a comprehensive institution with a total enrollment of more than 32,300 students. The university offers associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in a wide variety of fields. On the graduate level, in addition to the osteopathic medicine professional degree program, Ohio University offers master’s degrees in 195 majors encompassing 59 programs of study, and doctoral degrees can be earned in 58 majors in 31 programs of study. The all-campus graduate and professional school enrollment is about 4,050.
Ohio University has been cited for academic quality and value by such publications as U.S. News and World Report, America’s100 Best College Buys, Princeton Review’s Best Colleges, and Peterson’s Guide to Competitive Colleges. The John Templeton Foundation has also recognized Ohio University as one of the top character-building institutions in the country.
The university is designated a Research University (high research activity) under the 2005 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Basic Classification. This is the same research classification as Auburn, Clemson, Loyola and Rutgers universities.
Ohio University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and by the recognized professional accrediting associations identified with its major academic divisions.
Men and women holding the doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) degree can be found in such medical disciplines as neurosurgery, psychiatry, endocrinology and anesthesiology. The majority of D.O.s, though, choose to practice family medicine and the related primary care disciplines of general pediatrics and general internal medicine.
The osteopathic profession was established in the late 19th century by Andrew Taylor Still. In 1874 Still laid the cornerstone of osteopathic medicine by describing the principles and philosophy on which the profession was to be based. This philosophy viewed the human body as a single organism in which each part interacts with and influences every other part. D.O.s, therefore, are taught to treat each patient as a whole person, rather than focusing just on the area that is causing the immediate medical problem.
In addition to other medical modalities, osteopathic physicians are trained to use osteopathic manipulative medicine. By manually examining the patient, osteopathic doctors can detect changes in the body’s joints, bones, muscles and nerves. By using direct or indirect pressure to move the muscles and bones, doctors often improve circulation and nerve response, helping the body heal itself.
The osteopathic approach leads to a personal, “people-oriented” style of practice that today’s medical students find very rewarding. It’s not surprising that with this focus, the majority of D.O.s become family doctors who provide the “grass roots” general health care so much in demand in the United States today.