Department Descriptions

Department of Anatomy

Through a comprehensive course of study in gross anatomy, embryology, histology, and neuroscience, the anatomy curriculum of the basic sciences provides thorough instruction in the morphology of the human body. The study of anatomy is particularly germane to osteopathic medicine because the relationship between structure and function is a fundamental tenet of osteopathic philosophy. Direct observation of human structure is the essence of the Anatomical Sciences course. All students participate in the dissection of the donor under the guidance of the Department of Anatomy faculty in dissection workshops. Dissection is supplemented by the study of surface anatomy, models, osteologic specimens, radiographs and transverse sections. In addition, there are concurrent ultrasound workshops to demonstrate the clinical relevance of the anatomy being learned. The curriculum also includes the normal pattern of human development with an emphasis on the development of specific organ systems, the microscopic structure of cells and their organization into tissues and organs, and case studies to apply and reinforce clinical concepts.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Biochemistry is the science concerned with the cellular constituents at the molecular level and all the reactions that take place within a living cell. The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics offers courses dedicated to the understanding of life at the biochemical, genetic, genomic and cellular level. By presenting this molecular knowledge, biochemistry enables physicians of any medical specialty to appreciate the alteration of a cell's properties, structures and functions in diseases. The biochemistry curriculum further builds on research advances to provide the foundation underpinning other basic biomedical sciences, leading to the clinical comprehension of molecular and cell biology, cell metabolism, medical genetics and nutrition. The curriculum also includes a set of workshops with small groups using case-based learning where biochemical concepts are reinforced and applied to select medical cases.

Department of Clinical Education

The Department of Clinical Education consists of the following clinical departments: Osteopathic Family and Community Medicine, Integrated Medicine, Internal Medicine, Maternal and Child Health, and Surgery and Anesthesia. The department contributes to all four years of the student's pre-doctoral training providing academic knowledge, clinical simulation, assessment and active clinical exposure and training. During the first two years, the student receives training in basic science courses and skills labs, as well as hands-on experiences with standardized patients during Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs), and osteopathic manipulative treatment and other clinical skills within Osteopathic Family and Community Medicine. In addition, there are regularly scheduled small groups and lectures to facilitate the clinical application of didactic learning and hands-on experiences. Through these courses, students gain foundational medical knowledge, demonstrate application of clinical skills, and develop professional skills needed for clinical experiences. During the third and fourth years, students build on their academic knowledge through clinical rotation exposure in physician's offices, clinics and hospitals, with direct patient care, post-rotation examinations, and other evaluative tools. Each student is assigned to a Clinical Coordinator, for each of third year and fourth year, who assists the student with rotation scheduling, documentation compliance, and coordination of applications to residencies. Department faculty maintain an open-door policy and are integrally involved in coaching and mentoring students regarding career choices and the residency match process. Through clinical rotations and faculty guidance, medical students gain competence in the integration of medical knowledge, development of differential diagnosis, the reporting of patient care and advancement of professional skills needed to advance to post graduate training in residency. The department also maintains a strong collaboration with the Midwestern University GME Consortium, where medical students are provided clinical rotation opportunities within medical facilities and programs associated with accredited residencies.

Department of Integrated Medicine

The Department of Integrated Medicine consists of several disciplines: Emergency Medicine, Human Behavior/Psychiatry, Radiology and Point of Care Ultrasound. Human Behavior and Psychopharmacology courses are offered in the first two years, as well as an Introduction to Imaging. Integration of osteopathic principles occurs in each of the courses offered during the four-year curriculum. Faculty regularly observe, debrief, and grade OSCE experiences throughout the four-year curriculum. During third year clinical rotations, the department manages the core clinical clerkship in Psychiatry. Students are also provided an opportunity to experience Emergency Medicine as an elective in third-year and as a core rotation in fourth year. Radiology, Point of Care Ultrasound, and EMS electives are offered during the third and fourth years. Rotations consist of office-based, hospitalist- based, and residency-based rotation opportunities.

Department of Internal Medicine

The Department of Internal Medicine participates in the student's didactic undergraduate medical education throughout the four years at AZCOM. The first year involves instruction in patient care experiences, including instruction in history and physical examinations. Clinical cases are also introduced by the faculty in collaboration with the Graduate Studies faculty, during the first year, to facilitate integration of clinical relevance to basic science concepts. Second year students are given presentations in Cardiology, Pulmonology, Neurology, Rheumatology, and Gastroenterology facilitated through the Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM) course. Faculty members collaborate with the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in using clinical case correlates to demonstrate key principles as they relate to clinical care. Faculty participate in the Patient Care Experience (PCE) course with direct video monitoring of students, debriefing of their patient encounters, and SOAP note grading. Faculty also provide problem-oriented presentations prior to student participation in disease-

specific Observed Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) experiences. The department is responsible for the required core clinical clerkship rotations in Internal Medicine during the third year in both residency and preceptor-based General Internal Medicine, as well as Cardiology. During the fourth year, Critical Care, and one rotation within a medical subspecialty are offered. Third year rotations consist of office-based, hospitalist- based, and residency-based rotation

opportunities. Elective rotations are also available in third year in Hematology/Oncology, Rheumatology, Gastroenterology, Neurology, Cardiology, Allergy and Immunology, Sports Medicine, Geriatrics, and Hospice Care. Fourth year elective rotations are available in Pulmonology, Infectious Disease, Nephrology, Endocrinology, and Critical Care.

Department of Maternal and Child Health

The Department of Maternal and Child Health participates in the students' medical education during all four years at AZCOM through didactic lectures as well as hands-on skills workshops. In the first and second year, the department faculty participate, lecture and assist in the Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM) courses on multiple aspects of women's health care.

The department also offers an elective course for second year students who are interested in learning more about Obstetrics and Gynecology and is responsible for the required core clinical rotation in Obstetrics and Gynecology in the third year. A required pre-rotation component features intensive small groups where students participate in hands-on, skill- based workshops involving case presentation and simulation. The skills development workshop consists of a simulation delivery with an interactive birthing that mimics a true labor and delivery experience, followed by a hands-on vaginal delivery with a birthing model, and concluding with a review of suturing

skills. The pediatric faculty teach, lecture and participate in workshops for Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM) as well as Patient Care Experiences (PCE). The department manages all third and fourth year pediatric rotations. Third year rotations consist of office-based, hospitalist-based, and residency-based rotation opportunities. There are also rural pediatric office rotations within and outside of the state of Arizona for interested students. Fourth year rotations provide opportunities for electives in pediatric subspecialties such as Pediatric Gastroenterology, Pediatric Cardiology, and Neonatology in the Intensive Care Unit.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology Through a comprehensive presentation of medical microbiology and immunology, the student is introduced to the fundamental characteristics of pathogenic microorganisms and immune mechanisms. Using an organ-system approach, students receive the information necessary for a foundational understanding of microbial pathogenesis in the context of clinical disease. Pertinent information for various diseases includes the etiology, epidemiology, clinical manifestations, diagnostic procedures, and necessary methods for prevention and control. A separate course in immunology explores the immune system. The roles of cells and molecules in the protection of the human host as well as their roles in immunologically mediated disorders are explored. Insight into the mechanisms that provide effective defense from infection and malignancy is emphasized.

Department of Osteopathic Family and Community Medicine

The Department of Osteopathic Family & Community Medicine includes faculty board certified in Family Medicine & Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, Preventive Medicine and Public Health, and Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine. Faculty are involved in medical student training including the integration of osteopathic principles, theory and practice throughout the four years of medical school. Through weekly lecture and lab sessions, pre-clinical students develop physical examination and psychomotor skills for the practice of osteopathic patient care and manipulative medicine (OMM) in addition to skills in differential diagnosis, case presentation, EKG interpretation, medical documentation, prescription writing, evidence- based medicine, biostatistics, ethical and humanistic care, and community health practices. All systems of the body are discussed using a case-based format across the age span, carefully integrating the art of medicine and osteopathic principles with the concepts of medical diagnosis and treatment of common disease entities.

Prior to clinical rotations, all students participate in department-led procedural workshops, including dermatologic procedures and point of care ultrasound. During their third year, students are required to complete two core clinical clerkship rotations in Family Medicine. Third year rotations consist of office-based and residency-based rotation sites. Many students have the opportunity to work with department faculty in the Midwestern University Multispecialty Clinic on campus during one of these rotations. Third- and fourth-year students continue to receive ongoing education in osteopathic principles and practices through didactic lectures and labs delivered by department faculty.

The department offers an OMM Student Scholarship Program with scholars earning an Applied Master of Osteopathic Education over osteopathic year III to V. This program presents an opportunity for students to enhance their knowledge of OMM, participate in teaching in the department, and develop clinical research and leadership skills. Scholars complete their clinical education experience over three calendar years instead of two, which includes patient care experiences integrating osteopathic principles and treatment in a longitudinal clerkship. The OMM Scholar holds specific responsibilities within the department in addition to regular academic requirements. During the scholarship period, the OMM Scholar becomes a vital part of the department. Included are unique experiential courses in osteopathic teaching, leadership, and research.

Engagement in community service and quality improvement activities are incorporated into coursework. The department also supports an Osteopathic Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine (NMM) Residency program with a weekly didactic and hands- on training session, as well as osteopathic patient care in the campus clinic and an in-patient neuromusculoskeletal medicine consult service.

Department of Pathology

Under the tutelage of experienced physicians, specialty board certified in anatomic and clinical pathology, the department's mission is to transition students from the basic sciences learned in their first year into young doctors that can understand the mechanisms and manifestations of disease in a given patient, make a prompt and accurate diagnosis, and understand the pathophysiologic alterations that are targeted for treatment. Three quarters are taught throughout the second year. General pathology is taught in the fall quarter, and specific organ systems are addressed later in the year. Teaching is primarily lecture based with comprehensive coverage of the full spectrum of afflictions affecting patients. Emphasis is placed on early clinical recognition from patient history and presenting signs and symptoms, as well as the selection of the appropriate laboratory and ancillary studies needed to make a definitive diagnosis. Rationale for surgical, pharmacologic and other medical interventions is presented. Liberal use of case studies in lectures and case-based examination questions incorporated clinical vignettes prepare students for their clinical rotations and for Level 1 of their COMLEX- USA examinations.

Department of Pharmacology

The science of Pharmacology deals with properties and effects of drugs and, in a more general sense, with the interactions between chemical compounds and living systems. Medical pharmacology focuses on the mechanisms of action, toxicities, and therapeutic uses of biologically active substances in humans. Physicians utilize pharmacology not only to treat but also to prevent disease. At AZCOM, medical students are shown the correlation between pharmacology and related medical sciences, taught how to interpret the actions and uses of major classes of drugs, and instructed in the applications of pharmacodynamics to therapeutics. The course is designed to ensure that students are given the tools to use pharmaceuticals in all areas of the practice of medicine.

Department of Physiology

The Department of Physiology offers courses that provide a comprehensive understanding of the functions of human organs and organ systems, as well as a sound basis for comprehending the adaptations and functional transitions that occur in disease.

Mastery of physiologic concepts and problem/case- based learning are emphasized to provide a foundation that is conducive to the development of diagnostic skills. In addition to conventional didactic instruction, small group clinical case discussion sessions, problem- based workshops, ultrasound workshops and simulations are used to promote critical thinking, problem solving, and application of physiologic concepts and principles to clinically relevant problems.

Department of Surgery and Anesthesia

The Department of Surgery and Anesthesia participates in didactic teaching throughout the four years of medical school by teaching, lecturing, and participating in workshops. In the second year, the department offers a skills-based surgery elective. Several small group open forums are offered to interested second year students to provide information on how best to proceed in choosing rotations that will optimally prepare them for their pursuit of a residency in Surgery or Anesthesia. The department is responsible for the required core clinical rotation during the third year in General Surgery. Using both preceptor-based and ward- based clinical settings, this rotation helps the student transition from the classroom to the clinical environment by exposing the student to various aspects of patients in a General Surgery practice. Prior to the core General Surgery rotation, each student participates in a required skills-based workshop that maximize the student's learning potential and successful completion of the core surgery rotation. The hands-on skills lab consists of five separate stations including airway management; scrubbing, gowning, gloving and operating room etiquette; surgical documentation and chart review for patient management; wound closure principles and techniques; and an OMM station covering the diagnosis and treatment for common postoperative surgical problems. During the rotation, students are required to meet with department faculty in a small-group setting to formally present interesting cases in which they have participated during the rotation. During the fourth year, the department oversees elective surgical rotations including, Anesthesia, Burns, Colorectal, Neurological Surgery, Ophthalmology, Orthopedic Surgery, Otolaryngology, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Thoracic/Cardiovascular Surgery, Transplant Surgery, Trauma Surgery, Urology, and Vascular Surgery. 

Together with the Department of Internal Medicine, the department also coordinates a Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) Core clinical rotation.