Welcome to the PCOM Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) Department
Osteopathic medicine is a comprehensive approach to health care. Its essence lies
in examining and treating the whole person, not just the symptoms. These relationships
musculoskeletal system to other organ systems, body to mind, physician to patient,
patient to family, family to community-play a unique role in wellness and illness,
prevention and recovery.
As a PCOM student, you are strongly encouraged to gain insight into your patients'
health needs by looking beyond the person in front of you and discovering the social
and economic factors that impact him or her. From the first day of medical school,
we emphasize the interpersonal context in which medicine will be practiced. We call
our program in osteopathic primary patient care skills "Doctors from Day One."
First- and second-year students see how their academic work and problem-solving principles
apply to clinical practice through interaction with family physicians. This part of
your education introduces you to a life-long learning process of becoming a well-trained
and caring physician. You will practice clinical skills with "patient-actors" in the
innovative "Standardized Patient Program." In a suite of exam rooms and offices called
the Clinical Learning and Assessment Center, you will learn how to present yourself
to patients and how to improve diagnostic and communication skills. Professional actors
assume the roles of patients with specific medical histories. As a student, you interview
the "patient," develop a history and physical examination profile and suggest a diagnosis.
Each session is videotaped, and student performance is evaluated by a faculty member
and reviewed with the student.
What is OMM/OMT?
Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) is a specific type of medicine utilized by
osteopathic physicians (D.O.) which uses the hands to diagnose, treat, and prevent
illness. The techniques are successful due to the close association of the musculoskeletal
system and the nervous system (neuromusculoskeletal system) and can be used in conjunction
with or in place of surgery or prescription medications. OMT includes many different
techniques ranging from a light pressure being applied to an impulse being used for
joint mobilization. The main purpose of OMT is to restore the body's natural balance
(homeostasis) to promote health and healing. All osteopathic physicians are taught
these diagnostics and therapeutic palpatory skills and may use them in their practice.
The Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) practice at PCOM consists of physicians
who specialize in OMT and Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine. Many common complaints such
as low back pain, neck pain, headache, shoulder problems and knee problems may be
helped with this treatment. It may also be helpful in patients with other medical
problems affecting the gastrointestinal, cardiac, pulmonary, etc. systems as an adjunct
to their existing medical treatment.
The primary patient care skills are complemented by our integrated approach to biomedical
knowledge that introduces both basic and clinical sciences in your first two years.
By learning these subject in tandem, rather than one followed by the other, the abstraction
of science becomes tangible by its application in practice. The study of anatomy and
physiology, for example, is paired with learning the principles of physical examination
and osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM).
We use a variety of methods to present this information: problem-oriented cases, lectures,
laboratory study, small group conferences, student-centered study and projects, medical
informatics instruction and selected symposia. Even though we are a large medical
school, we provide plenty of opportunity for one-on-one interaction between students
Since medicine is practiced within a social context, the curriculum includes humanities-oriented
programs, such as medical ethics, human sexuality, medical law and medical economics.
Every doctor must address these topics, which broaden your understanding of changing
attitudes and contemporary health care issues.
Hands-on Medicine at PCOM's Pennsylvania Healthcare Centers
All students spend four months in PCOM's Community Healthcare Centers
, which provide health care to medically underserved communities. You will spend two
months in our rural center and two months in an inner-city center. At these sites
you will be introduced to the realities of patient care in underserved communities.
In your third and fourth years, you will be exposed to a broad scope of medical problems,
gradually assuming more responsibility under the direction of experienced physicians.
Through participation in rounds, lectures, conferences, morning reports and case presentations,
you develop skills in history-taking, physical examination, differential diagnosis,
and invasive and non-invasive procedures. While some clerkships are assigned and required,
students may elect to pursue special interests at other institutions in Philadelphia
or elsewhere. Some students have chosen studies in India, Israel, Africa, Appalachia
and Indian Health Service sites in the United States. One student completed an aerospace
medicine clerkship program as an elective rotation. Others have pursued special interests
through competitive fellowships and research.