Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
|Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine|
Osteopathic Medical School
|President||Dixie Tooke-Rawlins, DO, FACOFP|
Main Campus Blacksburg, VA; Spartanburg, SC; Auburn, AL, U.S.|
|Accreditation||COCA, SCHEV, SCCH, ADPE|
|Colors||Chicago maroon and burnt orange|
The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) is a private, non-profit osteopathic medical school on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia (VCOM-Virginia), with two branch campuses located in Spartanburg, South Carolina (VCOM-Carolinas) and Auburn, Alabama (VCOM-Auburn). Founded in 2002, VCOM graduated its first class of 139 students in June 2007.
VCOM is currently the second largest medical school in the U.S., with a total enrollment of 1,853 students between its three campuses.
VCOM is one of a growing number of osteopathic medical schools in the United States, which grant the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree (DO), and one of four located in the Appalachian region. VCOM is fully accredited by the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation.
The school was founded in 2001, when Virginia Tech and the Harvey W. Peters Research Foundation worked together to start up a new private school of osteopathic medicine called the Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM). In June 2007, VCOM graduated its inaugural class of 139 students. The college was originally named the Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, which was later shortened to its present name.
VCOM is incorporated as a private, non-profit institution and has a collaborative agreement with Virginia Tech and Auburn University for education, research, and student activities.
Graduates of VCOM receive a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree and are referred to as osteopathic physicians. Osteopathic physicians, like M.D. physicians, are complete physicians and are licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery. Osteopathic physicians and M.D. physicians are very similar, but D.O. physicians receive additional training in the musculoskeletal system, and learn osteopathic manipulative medicine. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine describes the training of osteopathic physicians as "virtually indistinguishable" from that of M.D. physicians. D.O. physicians may choose to enter either a D.O. or an M.D. residency. While graduates of VCOM are fully prepared to specialize in any division of medicine, the primary focus of the college is the training of primary care physicians to serve a rural population.
The mission of the school is to alleviate the critical shortage of physicians in Appalachia by training medical students to become patient-centered physicians who focus on evidence based medicine. The school places primary recruiting on students from a rural Appalachian background, particularly the rural sections of central and southwestern Virginia, Piedmont North Carolina, upstate South Carolina, and Alabama.
Curriculum and academics
The first and second years of medical school at VCOM are primarily classroom based and focus on the basic sciences. The school uses a system of "blocks" as opposed to semesters, with eight blocks occurring within the first two years. Each block concerns a specific organ system, incorporating anatomy, physiology, microbiology, pharmacology, pathology, and osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) courses in relation to that system. The blocks (in order) are: Foundations of Medicine, Musculoskeletal System, Neurological System and Special Senses, Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Systems, Gastrointestinal and Renal Systems, Reproductive and Endocrine Systems, Dermatologic Hemotologic and Lymphatic Systems, and Comprehensive Board Review.
While students at VCOM are educated in all basic medical sciences (as are their M.D. counterparts), VCOM students also receive approximately 200 extra hours of musculoskeletal/neuromuscular training. VCOM develops partnerships to improve the spiritual and social well-being of the communities it serves. In Virginia, South Carolina, and Alabama, VCOM partners with free clinics, faith based organizations and other non-profit organizations to provide preventive medicine and primary care outreach programs. VCOM has permanent medical clinics located in Veron, Dominican Republic and Tegulcigalpa, Honduras, and in El Salvador.
The third and fourth years of training are clinically oriented, where students complete rotations, or clerkships, through various specialties of medicine. The core rotations are family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, OB/GYN, geriatrics, surgery, psychiatry, and primary care medicine. These disciplines provide opportunities for students to develop clinical skills.
VCOM currently operates 3 campuses: Virginia, Carolinas, Auburn.
VCOM-Virginia is located on 13 acres within the campus of Virginia Tech, in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center. The College operates within a public/private collaboration with Virginia Tech, sharing resources for the purposes of education, research and student activities. On campus, the main building consists of 60,000 square feet. The Center for Simulation and Technology is located within a 22,000 square foot building, where training occurs with simulated patient encounters in several specialties.
VCOM-Carolinas is located on the edge of historic downtown Spartanburg, South Carolina. The campus is approximately 70,000 square feet and is situated on a 18-acre campus. Facility features include state-of-the-art anatomy lab and the Center for Simulation and Technology, offering standardized patient and manikin-based simulation education.
VCOM-Auburn is a 100,000 square foot, four-story, state-of-the-art campus situated on 16 beautiful acres located on the Auburn University Campus, in Auburn, Alabama. The campus offers the nurturing feel of a small private college, but with access to resources and activities of a larger university community. The collaborative partnership with Auburn University student activities, events, research and the arts.
Planning is currently underway to open a fourth VCOM campus, which will be a 100,000-square-foot, $31 million building on the campus of University of Louisiana at Monroe . Between 150-162 medical students are planned to enroll in Fall 2021.
Relationship with host institutions
The Carolinas Campus, until 2014, had a similar relationship with the private Wofford College, but currently participates in the "College Town Consortium" with five other local colleges. The annual White Coat Ceremony for first year medical students is held at nearby Converse College.
The Auburn Campus is located in the Auburn Research Park in Auburn, Alabama and has a partnership with Auburn University. The partnership is similar to that of Virginia Tech, students are able to use nearby facilities but they are separate entities. The campus started offering classes in Fall 2015.
In 2017, VCOM-Carolinas will open Northside Direct Primary Care, a college-affiliated clinic located on campus in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The clinic will be operated in part by Palmetto Proactive, and will be staffed by VCOM faculty physicians.
Graduate medical education
VCOM operates three fellowship programs, geriatric medicine, sports medicine, and osteopathic neuromusculoskeletal medicine. All programs are accredited by the American Osteopathic Association. In addition, VCOM operates a residency program in family medicine in collaboration with Johnston Memorial Hospital
VCOM fosters a culture of faculty growth and institutional excellence through support of faculty, resident, and student research, innovation, and scholarly work. New research projects are stimulated through competitive internal funding programs – Research Eureka Accelerator Program (REAP) and the One Health Program. VCOM conducts research that spans all of multidisciplinary biomedical, clinical and community-based research areas. Some major efforts include Sports Medicine, Concussion and Brain Trauma, Primary Care, Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine and Infectious Disease. Supported by the Bradley Foundation, VCOM amplified its research in cancer, heart and neurological diseases as well as bioinformatics and primary care, by creating the Center for Bioinformatics and Genetics and the Primary Care Research Network.
ViaSTAR, LLC, affiliate of VCOM, provides nationally recognized courses as well as on demand services for hospitals, healthcare providers, and medical product companies, with a focus on validated competency-based training that results in improved patient safety.
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The burnt orange and Chicago maroon are the university's official colors that were adopted in 1896.
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