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PCOM Research Leads Special JAOA Issue

September 4, 2019

The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association featured work by students and faculty on findings in residency matches, interprofessional education, OMT and more.

At any given time, researchers across PCOM are working on projects that focus on some of today’s most pressing health issues such as opioid addiction, obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. They also continue to develop and test innovative ways to train and educate future health practitioners. Research in these areas from faculty, administrators, and research support staff from various programs and departments, as well as six students from the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) and Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) programs, are featured in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association’s special Engage issue in September.

The issue opens with an editorial from Mindy George-Weinstein, PhD, chief research and science officer, on the inseparable bond between medical education and research. “A fundamental shift in the way we present information, with inclusion of questions that reach beyond our current knowledge to inspire curiosity and critical thinking, will contribute to the development of our students as scholars that strive for best practices and contribute to innovations in healthcare delivery,” she wrote.

Studying the importance of research in medical education

Two articles in the issue focus on the importance of research in medical education. In the first, Christopher Matthews (DO ’21) and Danielle Estrada (DO ’20) worked with Michael Roberts, PsyD, director, institutional research, analyzing data from the 2016 and 2018 National Resident Match Program Charting Outcomes reports to identify potential relationships between factors such as match status, number of research accomplishments and experiences, and specialty. They concluded that participation in research may enhance DO students’ competitiveness for residency positions.

In their second contribution, Mr. Matthews and Ms. Estrada, in consultation with Kerin Claeson, PhD, associate professor, anatomy, and Dr. George-Weinstein, developed a model to integrate principles and practices of research into undergraduate medical education. This model is designed to encourage participation in research, prepare students for scholarly activity required for residency, and promote the practice of evidence-based medicine.

Assessing innovations in health education

Two papers describe outcomes assessments of innovative health education programs. In the first, the IPE (interprofessional education) Core Team at PCOM—comprised of Michael Becker, DO '87, assistant dean of clerkship education and professor, family medicine; Jeff Branch, EdD, program director, organizational development and leadership; Stephanie Felgoise, PhD, professor and chair, clinical psychology; Laura Levy, DHSc, PA-C, professor and chair, physician assistant (PA) studies; and Ashley Poole, (PsyD '20)—reported their findings which demonstrated that multi-disciplinary teams of students had a greater appreciation for the perspectives of other healthcare professionals as a result of collaborative, small-group activities.

The second outcomes research study by Christopher A. Butts, DO ’12, RES ’17, PhD; Jacqueline J. Speer, DO, general surgery resident; John J. Brady, III, DO ’12, RES ’17; Ryan J. Stephenson, DO ’15, RES ’20; Erik Langenau, DO, MS, chief academic technology officer; Robert DiTomasso, PhD, dean, School of Professional and Applied Psychology; Kerin Fresa, PhD, associate dean, osteopathic medicine curriculum; Dr. Becker; and Arthur Sesso, DO, professor and chair, surgery, evaluated the effectiveness of their Introduction to Clerkships (I2C) program, through which rising third-year DO students participate in a rigorous program designed to strengthen their clinical skills and facilitate transition from classroom to clinic. Students reported increased confidence and ease of transition into the clinical setting and were perceived by precepting faculty as better prepared to perform their clinical responsibilities.

Exploring form and function

Additionally, three papers focus on the relationship between form and function. The first, authored by Michael S. Selby, PhD, associate professor, anatomy at PCOM Georgia; Austin Gillette (DO ’21); Yash Raval, (DO ’21); Maliha Taufiq (DO ’21); and Michael J. Sampson, DO, chief academic officer, PCOM South Georgia, considers consequences of the evolution of apes to humans as they stand upright and walk on two feet—namely, lower back pain that is common in athletes and pregnant women.

The second, a study by Lauren Noto-Bell, DO, associate professor, OMM; Brittany N. Vogel, DO ’18, and Danielle E. Senn, DO ’18, found that a specific osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT)—muscle energy technique—improves ankle range of motion among swimmers.

The third study by Brian Balin, PhD, chair, bio-medical sciences; Christine Hammond, MS, laboratory research coordinator, and Katherine Galluzzi, DO, professor and chair, geriatrics, provides a microscopic view of structure/function relationships in their case study documenting mixed neuropathology in a patient diagnosed with Lewy body disease. Finding Chlamydia pneumoniae bacteria in this brain was consistent with previously demonstrated correlations between infection and late-onset dementia of the Alzheimer type.

The full Engage issue featuring PCOM’s research can be found on the JAOA’s website.

For more on PCOM’s research, visit pcom.edu/research.

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About Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

For the past 125 years, 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, a private, not-for-profit accredited institution of higher education, 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. The college also offers graduate degrees in applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, physician assistant studies, and school psychology. 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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