Evolving Biomedical Sciences Program | PCOM Perspectives Podcast
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PCOM’s Evolving Biomedical Sciences Program

June 23, 2023

The Biomedical Sciences Program is a foundational program at each of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (PCOM) three campus locations, and it needs to continually evolve in order to stay relevant and attract talented students. Brian DeHaven, PhD, the College’s first chief program director for the Biomedical Sciences Program, shared this view in a recent conversation with PCOM President and CEO Jay S. Feldstein, DO ’81.

PLAY PCOM Perspectives: Introducing Brian DeHaven

Brian DeHaven, PhD, Chief Program Director, Biomedical SciencesDr. DeHaven joined Dr. Feldstein on an episode of PCOM Perspectives to discuss his ambitious agenda, his vision for the program and what sets PCOM apart from its peers; changes to education as a result of the pandemic and the effort to meet students where they are; and the future of graduate medical education.

Some of Dr. DeHaven’s goals for the program include standardizing the master’s in biomedical sciences curriculum over all three campus locations, expanding the second-year programming to include coursework for those considering non-physician careers in such areas as research and industry, and potentially opening up the program to a national audience with virtual learning.

Amid all this advancement, however, Dr. DeHaven wants to maintain what has made the program such a great success—most notably the foundation year that lets students explore whether medical school is for them. Or, as Dr. DeHaven shared how students describe it to him, “It’s like being in a medical school without actually being a medical student.” This structure offers students the opportunity to decide if they’d like to pursue some other career in the ever-growing medical field.

“One of my biggest problems with academia is that we don’t handle students changing their mind well,” said DeHaven. “We treat it like something that needs to be dealt with or punished, even. But the way PCOM’s program is set up, students can figure out what they want to do and not feel like they’ve fallen behind.”

“The lightbulb goes off for different students at different times. We can’t control that, but we can be there with a helping hand,” he added.

Dr. DeHaven wants to expand the accelerated one-year master’s program currently offered at PCOM South Georgia to PCOM and PCOM Georgia. “I think it is a really attractive option for some of the students that are in this program,” he said.

He’s heard many students call the full course in gross anatomy with a cadaver powerful and motivating. “They say the cadaver is their first patient,” says Dr. DeHaven. “To give that experience is very powerful and very motivating.”

For the students who progress on to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program, the experience they gain in the Biomed program is a valuable source of knowledge they are then able to share with their peers who did not go through the program. “They [DO students] get to access that knowledge from our students,” said DeHaven.

To hear the full conversation or listen to past episodes of PCOM Perspectives, visit the College’s SoundCloud page or search Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine on iTunes.

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  • About Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

    Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained thousands of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, educational psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, non profit leadership and population health management, organizational development and leadership, physician assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration. PCOM students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care to medically underserved populations. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 215-871-6100.

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