How new Provo medical school wants to ‘flip education on its head’

With Utah County’s First Medical School welcoming its inaugural class of 90 students next week, leaders anticipate the college will eventually fire dozens of new doctors to underserved and rural areas across the state.

Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine in Provo – which has been in the works for nine years – aims to provide a unique approach to educating doctors for the future of medicine, including telemedicine.

Dr. John Dougherty, founding dean and chief academic officer, said the college is “turning education on its head, particularly medical education.”

Not a traditional approach

Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine or Noorda-COM will not be offering any scheduled courses, Dougherty said. Instead, in “pod” rooms with comfortable armchairs and couches, students can watch videos recorded by teachers whenever it is best for them. Students will continue to study, practice, and be assessed in anatomy and practical skills in laboratories.

“And then the students get constant feedback. I jokingly call it the first multiplayer game for medical students,” said Dougherty. “But it’s definitely student-centered, as opposed to faculty-centered where someone is standing in front of the room.”

As in traditional medical school, students attending osteopathy colleges spend two years in the classroom and two years in hospitals. After that, they go to residences, the length of which depends on the specialties chosen. Osteopathic medicine encompasses standard medical science such as prescription drug treatment, surgery, and the use of technology to diagnose disease and evaluate injuries, but differs from standard medical education in that it uses a specific method of “practical” Emphasizes diagnosis and treatment as well as health promotion and disease prevention.

The college works with Intermountain Healthcare, MountainStar Healthcare, and Steward Health Care, where students will spend their two-year hospital education near the college. Those who choose to do so can begin training to train them to work in rural health care. The executives are also working with the state to potentially provide more opportunities for students to complete their stay in Utah.

I am looking to fill a shortage

Hannah Christensen, who received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Utah Valley University, said she piqued her interest in becoming a doctor in high school when she overshadowed her dermatologist profession.

“And with one of the patients we saw, I just felt connected to the experience he was having.

Shortly after finding out she was accepted into medical school, her family learned that her mother had breast cancer. While her mother is fine now, Christensen said the experience led her to consider studying oncology. But many areas of medicine seem interesting, she said.

“I’m so excited. This is something I’ve worked for for so many years and I think if I wanted to say something to anyone who wanted to listen, it would be when you have a dream, you know? do it. There’s nothing holding you back, you just have to try, “Christensen said.

Hannah Christensen, a student at Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine, introduces herself to the first grade of 90 medical students at the Provo school on Tuesday. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

She will receive her first white coat on Saturday while she and her classmates attend the traditional white coat ceremony that marks students’ entry into clinical medical education.

Christensen said she could imagine staying and working in Utah after completing her education.

“Just after I’ve been here for the past six years, I’ve really fallen in love with the community again and I definitely see a need for doctors, especially women in medicine. I feel like female patients are a little more comfortable.” for women doctors, so I want to support them, “she added.

College directors say they have tried to attract and accept many students from across the state.

“Utah needs additional doctors, there’s no question about that,” said Dr. Norman Wright, Interim President.

Beehive State ranks 44th in the nation for the ratio of health care providers per 100,000 residents, according to Becker’s Hospital Review. Utah had 216.2 vendors per 100,000 population in 2019, the last year this data was available.

“Knowing that we were down this path to meet a really important need is very important to me,” said Wright.

Statistics show that medical graduates who finish their stay in the same state as their school will stay and work in that state, he noted.

A focus on diversity, compassion

Incoming freshman class members were selected not based on grades and test scores alone, but “ability to be compassionate,” Wright explained. The admissions team tried to take into account the personality and values ​​of the students; and instead of a traditional written personal statement, applicants submitted videos.

“You see their personality, you can hear their voice, you see how creative they are and what is important to them,” said Dougherty.

He said that each student’s video played a bigger role in who was accepted than their grades.

The school received 2,100 applications for admission to first grade.

The county is rapidly diversifying, Wright noted, and the college was trying to accommodate students from different backgrounds and skills.

“I think one of the things I am probably most proud of about this new class is that, as I understand it when it comes to proprietary schools, we are in the top 5% for our diversity. And of course we are, I hope Graduating competent and caring doctors who can identify with certain parts of our community in ways that other doctors may not be important not just to me but to the whole school, “Wright said.

The college currently shares space with its sister school, Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals at 34 E. 1700 South in Provo. An extension, due for completion in 2023, will add 220,000 square feet to the college. By then the school will have up to 776 students.

Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine currently has pre-accreditation status from the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation, but it can get full accreditation status if its first grade graduates in four years, said Dougherty, who is also an inspector for the commission.

Comments are closed.