In Philadelphia, with a multitude of medical schools in close proximity, lay people
serving as patient teaching associates were available to help teach PCOM students
how to examine the male and female reproductive systems. Such a program did not exist
in Georgia a decade ago.
With the support of H. William Craver III, DO, now the dean of the School of Osteopathic Medicine, Scott George, who participates in the administration of the Step 2 clinical skills
segment of the United States Medical Licensing Examination, was summoned.
George recruited and trained the first cadre of “Guiding Patients” in the Southeast.
These patients guided our medical students with instruction and feedback as the students
actually practiced their skills on the body of the instructor. This happened ten years
ago and continues each winter for second year DO students.
According to Dr. Michael Sampson, the Guiding Patients allow the students to take
the next step from practice on pelvic simulation models to real life experiences.
“As associate dean for clinical integration, my team takes the student from the 'knowing
why' they need to do the exam to 'knowing how' to do the exam, keeping in mind the
whole person/patient focused medical concept," Sampson said.
The program takes place in GA-PCOM's newly renovated Simulation Center where two to three students are paired with a Guiding Patient. Faculty members are
able to see and listen to the physical exams through computer monitoring and offer
feedback following the exams.
“The Guiding Patients were so helpful and kind and have a wealth of information,"
said student Farrah Rink. "They are greatly skilled at putting students at ease.”
Nicholas Patel, also a second-year student, said, “I felt like I really learned the
Karla Booker, MD, the Director of Women’s Health Education who serves as a faculty
member for the Gwinnett Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program and a guest
lecturer for GA-PCOM, along with faculty member Renee Himmelbaum, DO ’13, a GA-PCOM
grad who is working to establish a pediatric practice in Gwinnett, were two of the
“The facility itself is amazing, along with the quality of the Guiding Patients,”
Booker said. “It’s exciting to be able to contribute to the future of medicine with
these young minds by passing on the pearls of physical examination.”
“You never forget your Guiding Patient,"said Himmelbaum, thinking back to her time at GA-PCOM. "It will stick in the minds of students forever."
“The program enables a student to learn step-by-step while being instructed by the
patient who is very familiar with the procedures," said Dr. Ali Moradi, Director of
Primary Care Skills for GA-PCOM. "The Guiding Patients not only teach the mechanical
aspect of the exams, but also put a great emphasis on the patient-centered approach.
These same skills apply to any type of exam, not just intimate exams. An emphasis
must be placed on how our students communicate with patients.”
Other faculty members who participate in the program include Gary Freed, DO, (pediatrics)
and Darren Wannamaker, DO (internal medicine).
With more than 30 medical schools in the Southeast now on the Clinical Skills USA
client roster, George said, “I owe a great deal of thanks to PCOM for introducing
the same method of training to Georgia as Philadelphia schools had experienced.”
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated
to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied
history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and
physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science,
and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM
Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service
to the wider community. For more information, visit pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center,
an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment.
For more information, visit pcomgeorgiahealth.org.
For more information, contact: Barbara Myers Senior Public Relations Manager Email: BarbaraMy@pcom.edu Office: 678-225-7532 | Cell: