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Healthy mind, body and soul

Buddhist monks from many parts of the world mainly depend on donations of food from temple members for their two daily meals—both occurring before noon. Though those donations come with the best of intentions, many of the foods are high in sugar, fat and salt. What’s more, the monks spend a large part of their day seated in meditation, meaning they get very little exercise.

 “This creates the perfect storm for cardiovascular disease,” says Brad Rosenfield, PhD, assistant professor, psychology. To that end, Rosenfield—with the assistance of PsyD student Alexandria Muench and Suticha Kiatkosolkul, a psychiatric nurse with whom Rosenfield had previously worked—recently held a workshop on nutrition and exercise at the Wat Lao Proutha Thammaram temple in Philadelphia. Kiatkosolkul, a member of that temple, reached out to Rosenfield after monk Phaithoun Feuachanthala suffered a heart attack.

 “This great man was of course very interested in preventing another heart attack,” Rosenfield says. He and Kiatkosolkul designed a lecture to educate both the monks and temple members in a culturally sensitive manner about the benefits of healthful eating and exercise.

“So many of the eating habits of this group are tied to its culture,” says Muench. “The word for ‘eat’ in Lao literally translates to "eat rice."

 “Together with the monks and temple members, we’re collaborating on goals for behavioral change, such as replacing regular soy sauce with a low sodium version, and replacing seated meditation with walking meditation,” says Rosenfield. Those recommendations also were translated into Lao and Thai.

Thus far, Rosenfield has seen some positive changes, such as community members offering more vegetables. In addition, he and Kiatkosolkul are establishing the website HealthyMonks.com so that others may reap the healthful benefits.  Still, he says, there is a need for more to be done.

“We want to involve the community more, by establishing a local ‘coach’ in the temple who will encourage exercise and donations of healthy food,” Rosenfield says. He and Kiatkosolkul also hope to expand across Philadelphia and beyond—they have already received an invitation to lecture at a Buddhist monastery in Thailand. They also hope to secure more funding from a source interested in improving the health of that community.

Muench says that program, along with PCOM’s myriad other community outreach programs, speaks directly to the College’s mission. “The work we’re doing is great for the community, and it addresses all aspects of integrated care.”



European Exchange

In late June, three physicians from Germany and one from Hungary traveled to Philadelphia to train exclusively with Alex Nicholas, DO, chair, osteopathic manipulative medicine and members of the OMM department. These doctors spent a week working with Nicholas, learning all about osteopathic manipulative medicine.

“Throughout the week, we give a number of tutorials and allow them to observe in the outpatient offices, so it will give the doctors a better chance to pass their European certifications,” Nicholas explains. “Doctors from Europe have been coming here for years to receive this training. To my mind, that makes PCOM one of the best known osteopathic medical schools in the world.”

Since 1998, Nicholas has been working with some of the largest manual medicine societies in Europe to teach doctors there about osteopathic medicine. PCOM OMM faculty—including Alex’s brother Evan Nicholas, DO, associate professor, osteopathic manipulative medicine—have traveled to Germany and Austria to lecture, and also have hosted European physicians here, all to provide supplemental training in the latest in manual medicine.  At the end of their training, the European doctors take an exam to receive certification in osteopathic principles and practice from the DGMM-MWE or the ÖÄGMM, both teaching institutes for manual medicine in Germany and Austria, respectively.

Summer Vocation

In June, the National Institutes of Health released a report which found that only 1 percent of American medical doctors were trained both as physicians and scientists, and the number of those with dual training younger than 60 is declining.

In an effort to rectify this disparity, PCOM is hosting 9th and 10th graders from across the country as part of the Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP), a nationwide program designed to produce candidates for degrees in medicine and dual degrees in medicine and the basic sciences.  For the next few weeks, students are working side-by-side with PCOM faculty members in their labs, assisting with research and learning basic lab techniques and the rationale behind the experiments.

“Many of the [PSTP] students are students of color, and there is a real lack of diversity in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields,” says Dawn Shell, Ph.D., associate professor, pathology, microbiology, immunology and forensic medicine, and coordinator of PSTP at PCOM. “The hope is that these students will be inspired to go on and conduct translational research of their own one day.”

Seventh and 8th graders in PSTP travel to Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas each year, where they are taught in a classroom setting by first- and second-year medical students. This year, three first-year DO students from PCOM traveled to Dallas to teach students in that part of the program. In 9th and 10th grade, the participants are ready to spend their summers in professional research laboratories.

Maria Johnson, a 9th grader at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia, is working with Scott Little, Ph.D., associate professor, pathology, microbiology, immunology and forensic medicine, and his students to identify  markers of infection and damage that may play a role in Alzheimer’s disease.

“I’ve always been interested in going into medicine, particularly veterinary medicine,” she says. “This will give me different types of experiences in a laboratory, and will hopefully help me get into college. I’m excited to get started.”

Not only do the students learn about what goes on in a lab, they may have the opportunity to lend their names to published research—a rarity even for undergraduate students. Lyndon Young, Ph.D. professor, pathology, microbiology, immunology and forensic medicine, has included several past PSTP participants in published research.

“The work they did here laid the groundwork for those studies,” he explains. “I’m a firm believer in passing the torch, so we are providing these students with the materials they need to get to the next step, and the one after that, so that ultimately, they’re doing research of their own.”


Pharmacy Accreditation

PCOM Doctor of Pharmacy program receives full accreditation from ACPE

PCOM is pleased to announce that as of July 2, the School of Pharmacy's Doctor of Pharmacy program has advanced from candidate status to accredited status by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). The ACPE sets standards for the education of pharmacists, to prepare them for the delivery of pharmacist-provided patient care.

This achievement caps an effort that began in 2008 to launch the new PharmD program and obtain full accreditation. Graduates from fully accredited pharmacy schools are eligible for licensure for state boards of pharmacy.

For more information, visit acpe-accredit.org.

Middle States Accreditation

PCOM receives Middle States reaccreditation

On June 26, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (Middle States) acted to reaffirm the accreditation status for PCOM. That organization is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. It examines each of its member institutions on a 10-year cycle in order to promote educational excellence and ensure compliance with its outlined standards of quality.

This reaccreditation will allow PCOM to continue to maintain eligibility for federal financial aid for its students, as well as fulfill the prerequisites for the College’s numerous specialized accreditations. In addition, the reaccreditation was given with a commendation, meaning the College exceeded the Middle State’s standards and had no deficiencies.

“This truly was a team effort,” says Bob Cuzzolino, EdD, vice president, graduate programs and planning, who spearheaded the reaccreditation efforts. “It shows we can look at the College’s strengths, as well as its challenges, with a critical eye. And meeting or exceeding all Middle States standards highlights the superior level at which we operate as an institution.”

The Middle States team that reviewed PCOM said in their assessment, “The atmosphere of trust, collegiality and common purpose was readily apparent during all meetings… and students expressed confidence in their education and the opportunities it would subsequently afford them.”

PCOM received its initial Middle States accreditation in 1999, and will be reviewed again in the 2023-2024 academic year. 


DO Commencement 2014

6ABC covers DO Commencement

6ABC came to the Kimmel Center June 1 as 273 students received their DO degrees from PCOM. The event also marked Dr. Matthew Schure’s last DO Commencement ceremony as president of PCOM. View the video.


Family Medicine Residency

One of the five medical graduates starting the three-year family medicine residency is Barbara “Joy” Jones of Warner Robins. She graduated from the Georgia campus of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, in the Gwinnett County town of Suwanee. - See more at: http://www.georgiahealthnews.com/2014/06/primary-care-residency-programs-launched/#sthash.7sUFhuSQ.dpuf



GA-PCOM’s School of Pharmacy

GA-PCOM’s School of Pharmacy Graduates First Class

May 28 marked a milestone for GA-PCOM as the inaugural class of 72 students in the School of Pharmacy received their diplomas.

Presiding over his final commencement ceremonies as president of the college, Dr. Matthew Schure addressed the graduates. “As you go out into the world, know that you will always be part of the PCOM family. We will always stand as a sense of place for you – now at your journeys’ beginning and throughout your lifetime,” he said. Suwanee Mayor Jimmy Burnette, Jr. brought greetings from the city of Suwanee and from Gwinnett County and noted the positive impact the students have had on the community through their extensive volunteerism .

In addition to graduation exercises for the School of Pharmacy, a commencement ceremony was held for the 76 students earning the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree (DO), the 37 students earning the Master's degree in Biomedical Sciences, and the six students who earned the Master's degree in Organizational Development and Leadership.

James H. Black, DO, Rear Admiral, MC, USN (Ret.), encouraged the DO and Master's degree graduates saying “Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and follow your passion. The environment you’re entering is going to be ever changing and you’re prepared for it.”


PCOM Employee's Story

Thinking that a pick-up basketball game with coworkers during lunch would be “moderate” enough to fall within his doctor’s orders of “moderate exercise” in deference to his heart condition, Derek Smith, Coordinator of Financial Operations Reporting at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, decided to shoot some hoops with his coworkers. A few minutes into the game, Derek collapsed. Luckily, PCOM medical students were also playing a pic-up game that Friday, December 13.


Franklin Institue

PCOM partnered with the Franklin Institute to celebrate Philadelphia’s rich scientfic heritage during the Franklin Institute’s ten-day Science Festival. The city-wide celebration featured interactive programs that engaged Philadelphians of all ages.


Recalling that Body Worlds, the display of plastinated humans and animals was exhibited at the Franklin Institute, Denah Appelt, PhD, professor, neuroscience, physiology and pharmacology, created an exhibit of plastinated body parts for Science Carnival After Dark.  At a nearby exhibit, Greg McDonald, DO ’89, vice chair, clinical associate professor and director, forensic medicine, walked festival-goers through a “who dunnit” crime scene of wounds and weapons.

One goal of the festival was to spread scientific inquiry throughout the city by way of “science cafes.”  Geared toward an adult audience, the cafes were interactive discussions with a scientific twist. Farzenah Daghigh, PhD, professor, biomedical sciences, participated in “To Veg or Not to Veg” noting the nutritional benefits and challenges of eating a plant-based diet.

The week culminated in the signature event – Science Carnival on the Parkway.  PCOM stood out from the crowd of more than 150 exhibitors with its Mega Brain®, the world's only portable, inflatable, walk-through brain exhibit. Visitors entered the 18 foot long exhibit through the frontal lobe and exited through the cerebellum. PCOM researchers were on hand to explain brain structure, brain function, brain trauma and disease. 




From Exclusion to Inclusion

PCOM 2014 Diversity Conference
April 4 - 5

Join us at our  Fifth Annual Diversity Conference where topics will range from "Being on the Other Side of the Desk From a Sexual Minority Group" to "Perfectionism and Family Expectations of of Asian Indians." Free and open to all students, faculty, professionals and the general public, the conference  will provide a forum for open dialogue on these and other important issues of diversity. CE credits are available for psychologists, social workers, school psychologists and NBCC counselors. Author and Scholar Allan Johnson, PhD, will deliver the keynote address "Unraveling the Knot of Privilege and Oppression" on Friday night. For additional information and to egister online, go to: http://www.pcom.edu/Academic_Programs/aca_psych/Diversity/2014_caps_conf.php.


Commencement for PCOM graduate programs

Commencement for PCOM graduate programs was held on July 26 at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. There were 230 candidates for graduate degree programs in clinical psychology, school psychology, counseling and clinical health psychology, organizational development and leadership, forensic medicine, biomedical sciences  and physician assistant studies.

James F. Cawley, MPH, PA-C, professor, department of prevention and community health, and professor, physician assistant studies, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, George Washington University. Cawley delivered the commencement address.

GA-PCOM GA-PCOM awarded 81 doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, 37 master’s degrees in biomedical sciences and 6 master’s degrees in organizational development and leadership (ODL) on Sunday, May 19. This was the sixth graduating class of biomedical sciences students, the fifth graduating class of doctors of osteopathic medicine and the first graduating class of ODL students for the College.
The inaugural class

The inaugural class of the organizational development and leadership program was graduated on May 19. The six students, all professionals in their field, spent two years in the intergenerational program in which they learned how people become instruments of change.

Pictured, from left: Jeff Branch, EdD,  Program Director, Jess Villegas, Gayle Hayes, Triba Gary-Davis, Gregory Davis, Kimberly Hicks, Ryan Taylor and Beth Levine, Assitant Program Director.

Serennah Harding Among those graduating from the doctor of osteopathic medicine program was 22 year-old Serennah Harding who also will be pinning on the rank of lieutenant in the Navy. Dr. Harding is one of the youngest physicians in U.S. history. She will pursue her residency in internal medicine at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
122nd commencement ceremony PCOM students prepare to process during the College’s 122nd commencement ceremony on June 2 at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

Among the 266 graduates, five members of the graduating class earned a dual DO/MBA degree through an affiliation with St. Joseph’s University, three completed a fellowship in osteopathic manipulative medicine at PCOM, one student received a DO/MPH degree in conjunction with Temple University and another student earned a clinical master of science from PCOM.

Norman E. Vinn, DO, president-elect of the American Osteopathic Association presented the keynote address.

John Dahdah Among the PCOM DO graduates was third-generation PCOM physician John Dahdah from Pottstown, PA.  Dr. Dahdah follows in the footsteps of his grandfather, William R. Henwood, DO, class of 1976 and his mother, Carol L. Henwood, DO, class of 1983. In addition, Dr. Dahdah’s Uncle, Jon R. Henwood, class of 1990, and his aunt, Maria J. Henwood, class of 1997, are proud PCOM alumni.

 The Dahdah-Henwood family is not unique; PCOM has a history of graduating multiple generations of the same family and has educated seven members of the same family more than once.


Dr. Schure Receives Robert A. Kistner Award

PCOM President and CEO Matthew Schure, PhD, was selected by the AACOM Board of Deans as a recipient of The Robert A. Kistner Award. Named for Dr. Kistner, who served at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine for 26 years, the award is presented to individuals who have made a significant contribution to osteopathic medical education. 
In presenting the award, the board noted that, “for more than two decades, Matthew Schure has worked with unrelenting dedication in many different capacities within the osteopathic medical education field. His unwavering commitment to the AACOM Board of Deans has proven to be an invaluable asset to the association, and he will be sorely missed upon his retirement next summer.


Under his leadership, PCOM has accomplished much, including the founding of Georgia Campus—Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2004. PCOM and GA-PCOM currently boast more than 1,600 enrolled medical students combined.
In addition to his work at PCOM, Dr. Schure has given tirelessly to the work of AACOM. He has been an active member of AACOM’s Assembly of Presidents, has served as a member of AACOM’s Audit Committee since its inception many years ago, and he has provided unwavering support and commitment to the AACOM Board of Deans.
Known throughout the medical education community for his many years of service and profound appreciation of the distinctiveness of osteopathic medicine, Dr. Schure has garnered a national reputation that reflects his commitment to excellence and devotion to the field.”

Commenting on his award, Dr. Schure stated, “I’m touched and honored to be receiving this award. The fact that AACOM gave one award to me, a psychologist, and the other to AOA Executive Director John Crosby, a lawyer, shows the openness of the osteopathic profession. It’s a pleasure to walk life’s journey as part of the osteopathic community, and I hope to do so for many years to come.”


Lisa McBride, PhD, Chief Diversity Officer


PCOM has chosen Lisa M. McBride, PhD, to be the College’s first chief diversity officer. “I’m very excited to join PCOM, especially in this inaugural position,” says Dr. McBride. “My role is to guide efforts to conceptualize, define, assess, nurture, and cultivate diversity as an institutional and educational resource.”
Dr. McBride comes to PCOM from California University of Pennsylvania where she served as special assistant to the president for equity and diversity as well as the university ombudsperson.  She earned her doctor of philosophy in conflict analysis and resolution from Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and her master of science and bachelor of science degrees in criminology from Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Among her many accomplishments, Dr. McBride points to two research projects as being among her proudest achievements. In one, she was awarded a $10,000 grant from the American Association of University Women for her project “Breaking through Barriers for Women and Girls in STEM Areas,” which addressed how to prepare girls in middle school for  careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. She also refers to “CAL U Men United” a mentoring group designed to aid young men of color to face unique challenges as they pursue academic, career and social success, which was funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. As a result of implementing this initiative and similar programs for women of color, California University of Pennsylvania saw graduation rates for African-American students increase 33 percentage points.

“Although as the chief diversity officer I will be providing and coordinating leadership for diversity issues institution-wide, no one person or department can infuse diversity throughout the college without input from the entire campus community,” notes Dr. McBride. “I will create a diversity council that will include members of the College administration, faculty and staff members; students who represent various student groups; and members of the community with interest in diversity in higher education.  I’m looking forward to making PCOM a national model for diversity in graduate institutions across the country.”

Donut Run

Donut RunPCOM's First Annual DOnut run to support Camp No Worries, a summer day camp for kids with cancer and their siblings, pitted runners against donuts. Participants ran a mile on a quarter-mile track stopping between each of the four laps to eat a donut as quickly as possible. Runners in the "skinny" race paired up with a designated donut eater. There were even gluten-free donuts available. Watch the fun.

The run raised over $2,000 --  enough to send two children to Camp No Worries, which is free to families.

PCOM Receives Outstanding Accreditation Report

PCOM has received a full seven-year accreditation from the AOA Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation for both campuses – the maximum level possible. The accreditation recognizes the excellence of our students, alumni, faculty, staff and administration and the outstanding work of those who contributed to the self-study. In addition to no requirements, the College received nine commendations.


PCOM Welcomes Bryan Ginn

Bryan Ginn has joined GA-PCOM as Chief Campus Officer where he will focus on external relations in support of the continued success of PCOM-Georgia Campus.

Bryan brings with him an extensive background in community and government relations. He joins the PCOM community after 12 years with Georgia Health Sciences University where he was Vice President of External Affairs and Government Relations. Other highlights of Bryan’s career include serving as the Director of State Relations and Assistant to the Vice President of Advancement for Kennesaw State University in Georgia. Prior to that he was the Director of Annual Giving and Regional Development Officer for Georgia Southern University.


DO Class of 2016 Receives White Coats

268 first-year medical students took their first step toward becoming physicians during PCOM's White Coat Ceremony. A significant rite of passage at most medical schools, the White Coat Ceremony establishes a psychological contract for beginning medical students that stresses the importance of compassionate care for the patient and professionalism as well as scientific proficiency.

WPVI-TV was on hand to capture the moment. Click here to view the coverage white coat.


Physicians for Human Rights Strives to Improve the World
Garrett Kirkpatrick (DO '14),
Duyen Mai (DO '15), president, PCOM student chapter, PHR;
Steve Vanni (DO '15), treasurer, PCOM student chapter, PHR;
Danielle Lucchesi (DO '15), secretary, PCOM student chapter,
PHR, as they supported the Philabundance Paper Plate Advocacy Project.

Hunger, poverty, malaria – these are just some of the issues PCOM’s student chapter of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is working to alleviate. Whether they’re volunteering at a health clinic for uninsured patients or raising money for the Global Poverty Project, the organization strives to relieve human suffering in its many forms. You can support PHR with your support at one of their upcoming events.

On Oct. 9, 2012 at 7:00 pm in  Zedeck Amphitheatre, Evans Hall, PHR will show Invisible Children's newest documentary, "Move: What if we all speak the same language?".   Invisible Children is working to end the Lord’s Resistance Army’s atrocitiesin East and Central Africa and to empower young people to take steps toward ending injustice. The event will feature a speaker from Uganda.

Keep your eyes open for their t-shirt sale to raise money for the United Nations project Nothing But Nets to end malarial deaths in Africa by 2015. For every shirt sold, one mosquito net will be donated to Africa.

Later this fall, the group will be advocating for the National PHR initiative "Access to Medicine," which promotes awareness of the lack of basic essential medicines in developing countries.

Throughout the year, PHR will sponsor speakers, movies and bake sales to help raise awareness of important issues and funds for worthy causes. For more information about this PCOM organization, contact Duyen Mai (DO ’15), president, Physicians for Human Rights.


Dr. Blake Broadens Horizons

J. Steven Blake, DO ’89, sponsored 15 students from his alma mater, Coahoma Agricultural High School in Clarksdale, Mississippi, on a 10-day, four-city excursion in June. The East Coast Cultural Enrichment Tour gives exceptional high school students the opportunity to visit Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. During their travels they visit cultural sites, museums, see a Broadway show and meet leaders in a variety fields. This is the sixth year Dr. Blake has led the tour. “Reflecting on my own life, and the difference coming to Philadelphia made for me, I wanted to do that for students,” he explains. “I think it’s so important for students to see a world outside their regular environment.” ABC affiliate Channel Six tells the story.

Dr. Blake


Dr. Jeck Weighs in on New Contraceptive Study

Dr. JeckWhen a study was released by the New England Journal of Medicine on the risks of oral contraceptives, local NBC affiliate, Channel 10, came to campus to hear what Saul Jeck, DO, professor and chair, OB/GYN had to say. To hear the whole story, click here.

PCOM Forensic Medicine Expert Explains Crime Scene Analysis

In response to the death of singer Whitney Houston, PCOM's Greg McDonald, DO, professor and vice chair, pathology, microbiology, immunology and forensic medicine, was tapped by 6abc to discuss how death scenes are investigate. See what he has to say.