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Western University of Health Sciences

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Western University
of Health Sciences
Former names
College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific
MottoEducare, Sanare, Coniunctim (Latin)
Motto in English
To Teach, To Heal, Together
TypePrivate, non-profit, graduate
Established1977; 41 years ago (1977)
Endowment$35.9 million[1]
ChairmanRichard A. Bond, DO, DrPH
PresidentDaniel R Wilson, MD, PhD[2]
ProvostGary M. Gugelchuk, PhD
Academic staff
323 full-time[3]
1,200 adjunct professionals
Administrative staff
LocationPomona, CA, United States
34°03′29″N 117°44′49″W / 34.058°N 117.747°W / 34.058; -117.747Coordinates: 34°03′29″N 117°44′49″W / 34.058°N 117.747°W / 34.058; -117.747
CampusUrban, 22 acres (Pomona)[5]
Rural, 50 acres (Lebanon)[6][7]
ColoursBurgundy and white, with accent colors of gold, gray and black
COMP Northwest Campus

Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU) is a private, non-profit, graduate school for the health professions, with a main campus located on 22 acres (8.9 ha) in downtown Pomona, California, and an additional medical school campus on 50 acres in Lebanon, Oregon. WesternU offers degrees in osteopathic medicine, dental medicine, optometry, podiatric medicine, nursing, physician assistant studies, physical therapy, pharmacy, biomedical sciences, and veterinary medicine. With an enrollment of 3,839 students (2016–17),[4] WesternU is one of the largest graduate schools for the health professions in California, offering 21 academic programs in nine colleges. The university also operates two patient care centers, and has a pet wellness center on its Pomona campus. The WesternU Pomona campus is also home to the Center for Oral Health (a non-profit organization focusing on promoting oral health), the Southern California Museum of Medical History, and the Harris Family Center for Disability and Health Policy.

Founded in 1977, the first program at WesternU was its medical school, the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP). Since that time, several additional programs have opened. When the College of Veterinary Medicine opened in 2003, it was the first veterinary school to open in the United States in 20 years. In 2007, WesternU became the first university in the nation to appoint a female as dean of a veterinary medical school. In 2009, three new colleges opened: dental medicine, optometry, and podiatric medicine. In 2011, the university opened an additional campus in Lebanon, Oregon known as the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific - Northwest (COMP-Northwest). In 2015, the university's founding president, Dr. Philip Pumerantz, retired. He was the longest serving founding president of any university in the United States, and the longest serving current university president in the country.

All of the programs at WesternU have professional accreditation, and the university is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.[8] The medical school (COMP) is also accredited by the American Osteopathic Association's Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation.


The Health Education Center building on the Pomona campus, which houses the College Osteopathic of Medicine of the Pacific.

What is now WesternU first opened in 1977 as the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP), offering the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree (D.O.). This was the first medical school in California to open after a complicated era in the relations of allopathic and osteopathic medicine, notably when the California College of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons - only the second DO school in America - briefly became independent as an M.D. granting school before soon evolving into the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine. Upon its foundation in 1977, the WesternU College of Medicine was the only osteopathic medical school west of the Rocky Mountains,.[9][10]

The inaugural class at COMP had 36 students, including its very first alumnus (having graduated in alphabetical order), Dr. Richard Bond, who is now Chair of the University Board of Trustees.[11]

In 1986, the college began offering a second degree, the Master of Science in Health Professions Education. Four years later in 1990, the physician assistant program opened, which in 2000 grew into a masters level program. In 1992, the physical therapy program opened.

In 1996 a major transition in institutional identity occurred when The Western Association of Schools and Colleges granted accreditation as a full and constituent university, and later that year, what had begun as the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific was renamed the "Western University of Health Sciences."[12] 1996 also saw the foundation of the WesternU College of Pharmacy.[12]

Ethan Allen Park, with the veterinary clinic in the background.

Thereafter, the veterinary college was founded after some initial hesitancy by the American Veterinary Medical Association's Council on Education,[13] the College of Veterinary Medicine opened in 1998 as the first new veterinary medical school in the United States since 1983.[13] Indeed, at the time, no member on the AVMA Council on Education had any experience in accrediting a new veterinary medical school. Classes began in 2003, and the college earned full accreditation in 2010.[14] The college was the first veterinary medical school in the United States to appoint a woman as dean.[15][16] In 2008, the university opened the Banfield Pet Hospital to the public. In 2014, WesternU assumed sole operation and management of the pet hospital.[17]

In 2009, three new colleges burgeoned at WesternU: podiatric medicine, optometry, and dentistry.[18] The following year, in 2010, the Patient Care Center opened, offering medical, dental, optometric, podiatric and pharmacy services to the community. In 2011, Western University of Health Sciences opened a new medical school campus in Lebanon, Oregon called the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Northwest.[19] The university plans to eventually open additional colleges at the Lebanon campus.[20]

In January 2015, the Western Diabetes Institute (WDI) at WesternU began collaborating with colleagues in Scotland affiliated with the UK National Health Service as the WDI assisting in the development of a standardized platform for diabetes care called the Scottish Care Information Diabetes Collaboration.[21] In October 2015, WesternU opened a Virtual Reality Learning Center to augment the teaching of anatomy across all colleges.[22] Faculty-led virtual reality technology is used by the schools of dentistry, medicine, veterinary medicine, nursing, pharmacy and health professions.[22] The university also operates two patient care centers, and has a pet wellness center on its Pomona campus. The WesternU Pomona campus is also home to the Center for Oral Health (a non-profit organization focusing on promoting oral health), the Southern California Museum of Medical History, and the Harris Family Center for Disability and Health Policy.

In 2015, Dr. Pumerantz retired after 38 years as founding president.[23] At the time, he was the longest serving founding president in the US, and second longest serving current university president in the country.[24][25] In 2016, Dr. Daniel R. Wilson became president of the university. In November 2017, WesternU opened an Eye Care Institute in Los Angeles, which specializes in low-vision rehabilitation.[26]

The Chronicle of Higher Education named WesternU as a great college to work for every year from 2012 through 2017, and has been on the Honor Roll for four years.[27][28][29][30][31] In 2017, WesternU received the sixth most applications of any medical school in the United States.[32] In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked WesternU 11th among all US medical schools for the percentage of medical graduates going into primary care residents.[33] The university is the fourth-largest employer in Pomona, with more than 1,000 employees, and has greatly contributed to the economic development of downtown,[34] bringing millions of dollars to the area.[35]

Academics and accreditation[edit]

College Founded Accreditation[3]
WesternU 1996 Western Association of Schools and Colleges[8]
Allied Health 1996 American Physical Therapy Association[36]
Dental Medicine 2009 American Dental Association[38]
Graduate Nursing 2001 Commission on Collegiate Nursing EducationCCNE[39]
Optometry 2009 American Optometric Association[40]
Osteopathic Medicine - California 1977 American Osteopathic Association COCA[41]
Osteopathic Medicine - Oregon 2011 American Osteopathic Association COCA[41]
Pharmacy 1996 Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education[42]
Podiatric Medicine 2009 American Podiatric Medical Association[43]
Veterinary Medicine 2003 American Veterinary Medical Association[14]

Through its nine colleges, WesternU offers 21 academic programs, each on a semester schedule. All programs at WesternU are post-baccalaureate and focused on a health sciences profession. All are accredited by the respective national accrediting body. The university itself is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Doctoral degrees include the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Dental Medicine, Doctor of Optometry, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Nursing Practice, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and Doctor of Podiatric Medicine.

Several Master of Science (MS) programs are also offered in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Health Sciences, Physician Assistant Studies, Nursing, Biomedical Sciences, and Medical Sciences. A Master of Science in Health Professions Education is offered to provide educational skills to health professionals interested in teaching. Two distance education programs are offered: the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Master of Science Nursing (MSN).[8] All other programs are traditional on-campus programs. Further Colleges and Programs are in consideration.

Interprofessional education[edit]

As the most comprehensive university for health science professional education in America, WesternUis a pioneer in Interprofessional Education (IPE), with an integrated program that involves all nine colleges. The program began in 2007 and the first phase was implemented later that year.[44] The program goals are to improve understanding of other health professions and to provide and promote a team approach to patient-centered care and health care management, leading to improved patient care.[45] While a debate exists as to the effectiveness of interprofessional education in encouraging collaborative practice, interprofessional education is increasingly a common component in health science curricula in the United States, and many groups, including the World Health Organization, view it as a means of reducing medical errors and improving the health care system.[46]

As a part of the interprofessional education program, students meet in small groups with a faculty facilitator and discuss non-clinical aspects of symptom presentation in complex cases, including interprofessional knowledge and awareness, financial or ethical challenges and communication barriers. In the 2010–11 academic year, the IPE program involved 850 students and 150 faculty members from the 9 colleges at the university. Augmentation of clinical IPE rotations with grand rounds and journal clubs is ongoing.[47]


WesternU has a growing research portfolio and conducts research in an array of areas in basic, translational, and clinical sciences. Three primary research strengths include: neurobiology, molecular / metabolic diseases, and infectious disease / immunology.[48] Specific neurobiology subjects include: Alzheimer's disease, central nervous system diseases, genetic disorders, environmental pathologies, and stem cell therapy.[48] Specific molecular and metabolic disease subjects include: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.[48] Research on infections and immunology includes tuberculosis, Mad cow disease, avian flu, and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.[48] Research is funded by the National Institute of Health, the OneSight Foundation, The Potts Foundation, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, the American Lung Association,[49] and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.[50][51]

Patient care and education[edit]

Patient Care Center (Pomona campus)
Services include medical care, podiatry, dentistry, pharmacy, and optometry.

Western University of Health Sciences has two patient care centers, one in Rancho Cucamonga, California, and the other on its main campus in Pomona, California. WesternU opened its first patient care center, a family practice clinic, in 1984.[52] The Pomona Patient Care Center opened in May 2010, and serves more than 10,000 patients per year.[53] The Patient Care Center includes a Medical Center, Foot & Ankle Center, Eye Care Center, Dental Center and Pharmacy. The center is also home to the Western Diabetes Institute, an accredited diabetes education center.[54] The institute is a patient-centered practice unit designed to provide efficient, high quality care to diabetic patients. The Rancho Cucamonga Patient Care Center opened in 2008 and provides family medicine, internal medicine, and foot and ankle care.[55] WesternU is a member of the Association of Academic Health Centers.[56] The university is also a primary leader in expansion of graduate health science education, especially post-graduate residency \training in medicine in association with partners throughout the Western states.

In 1998, the university established the Harris Family Center for Disability and Health Policy.[57] The Center advocates for the health needs of individuals with disabilities[58] and provides consultation and training to organizations, companies, and hospitals to help them meet the needs of disabled individuals.[57]

The Pumerantz Library provides a diabetes education program to the community in a partnership with the Pomona Public Library.[59] The project aims to help Spanish-speaking members of the community access reliable information about diabetes.[60]


Pomona campus[edit]

The parking structure at E 2nd and S Towne Avenue.

The main campus of WesternU is in downtown Pomona, California, with an official postal address at 309 East 2nd Street. Upon the school's founding, a portion of the campus was extensively renovated from an outdoor shopping mall. Since that time, several buildings have been acquired and built, including a patient care center, a pet hospital, classrooms, and research facilities. There are two parks located on the urban campus. The Pomona campus consists of 19 major buildings spanning some seven city blocks along the main "Esplanade". 22 acres (8.9 ha),[5]

The northeastern corner of campus has the Health Education Center, the Patient Care Center, and a large parking structure. These WesternU buildings opened in 2010, as a part of a $100 million expansion project.[34] The Health Education Center is a 180,000-square-foot teaching and research facility that also houses the colleges of medical, dentistry, podiatry and optometry.[53] The fourth floor of the Center has state-of-the-art research laboratories. The seven level parking structure has 600 parking spaces.[61]

Directly west of the Health Education Center is the WesternU Pet Wellness Center, an on campus pet hospital and clinic. The facility was established in 2008 as the Banfield Pet Hospital and transitioned to solely WesternU operation in 2014.[17] The center provides primary care services such as vaccinations, spaying and neutering, microchiping, surgery, dental exams and cleanings, as well as flea, tick and heartworm control.[62] The center includes a surgical suite, an x-ray room, a half dozen exam rooms and isolation facilities.

The Daumier is a mixed-use building located south of the pet hospital on 3.6 acres at 3rd and Linden Street. This building was completed in June 2014, at cost of $45 million, and serves as a 173,000-square-foot facility primarily for WesternU student housing but with research and educational support space as well as a fitness center, community pool, media room, and other university offices.[63][64] The Daumier was designed to LEED silver specifications.[65] The building was named the Daumier after the 19th century French artist Honoré Daumier.[64]

Promenade on campus of WesternU, with the Health Sciences Center to the left.

The central portion of campus contains Ethan Allan Park, the Health Professions Center (HPC), the Veterinary Medicine Center, and the Health Sciences Center. Ethan Allen Park is located directly west of the Pet Wellness Center. In 2006, the park was named in honor of Dr. Ethan Allen, founding chairman of the school's Board of Trustees.[66] The other park on campus is Centennial Park, a Pomona city park on the west end of campus. Directly south of Ethan Allan Park, the Health Professions Center houses the College of Pharmacy and contains several classrooms, research facilities, and a student commons area. The building was built in 1962 and was previously the Pomona Buffum's department store.[67] The university acquired the building in 1992, after first receiving the option to buy. The Center for Oral Health, a non-profit organization promoting oral health, is based in the Health Professions Center. In 2012, the Center for Oral Health affiliated with WesternU and moved from the bay area of California to the WesternU campus .[68] The Health Sciences Center, directly west of the Health Professions Center, is a two-story, 72,000-square-foot building with the main anatomy laboratories, a laboratory for osteopathic manipulative medicine, and extensive classroom space. The physical therapy school is based in this building, as is the tutoring program. The Health Sciences Center was formerly a Nash Department Store.[35] The university began using the building in 1990, and then purchased it in 1993.[69]

Anderson Tower at WesternU, with the historic Fox Theater to the right.

The western range of campus contains the Rodney P. Wineberg Center, home to research administration and laboratories, in addition to the Pumerantz Library, and Anderson Tower (formerly known as the Chase Bank building). The Rodney P. Wineberg Center contains 8,550 square feet dedicated to research.[70] The Rodney P. Wineberg Center building was originally a JCPenney.[34] The multi-story, 35,000-square-footPumerantz Library is on the west edge of campus. The library opened in 2001, after the university acquired the building in 1998.[69] The building was built in 1929, and previously housed a switching station for the Pacific Telephone & Telegraph company.[71] In 2015, the Southern California Medical Museum opened at a nearby location on the WesternU campus.[72][73]

Anderson Tower demarcates the western edge of campus at Garey avenue and Second Street. This seven-story, mid-century modern 70,000-square-foot building was built in 1963,[74] and WesternU purchased the building from JP Morgan Chase in September 2013.[75] The same month, WesternU reached an agreement with a power company, Washington Gas, to build 2,688 solar panels on three campus buildings.[76] The solar panels were completed in February 2014,[77] and will produce more than 1,100 megawatt hours of energy each year.[76][78]

Oregon branch campus[edit]

WesternU College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Northwest, main building
The main building for the Oregon campus

WesternU also operates a second campus on 50 acres in Lebanon with an official postal address at 200 Mullins Drive. The first program offered at the Oregon campus is medicine (DO), though additional colleges and programs are planned.[20]

The Oregon campus is adjacent to Samaritan Health Services Lebanon Community Hospital,[19] Groundbreaking for the medical school campus began in June 2009, and it opened for classes in August 2011.[19] The new 55,000-square-foot (5,100 m2) building cost about $15 million,[79] and is the main component of a 50-acre medical campus.[6][7]

Campus safety[edit]

Each year, WesternU publishes a safety report of any crimes reported on campus.[80] In 2014 on the Pomona campus, there were three cases of burglary, 7 cases of larceny, one motor vehicle theft, and no cases of aggravated assault or robbery.[3][80] In 2014, no crimes were reported on the Oregon campus.[80]


WesternU Demographics[81]
Asian/Pacific Islander 33%
Black/Non-Hispanic 3%
Hispanic 11%
Two or more 11%
White/Non-Hispanic 36%
Unknown 6%

A total of 3,839 students were in attendance at WesternU in the 2016–17 academic year.[4] The modal WesternU student is 28 years in age and some 62 percent are female; 38 percent male; 36% are White/Non-Hispanic, 33% Asian/Pacific Islander, 11% Hispanic, 11% identify as two or more ethnicities, 3% African-American, and the remaining students are of unknown ethnicity (6%).[4]

Students at WesternU participate in a vast number of campus clubs[82] and an active student government association. A wide range of professional fraternities are active on campus, including Sigma Sigma Phi, Kappa Psi, Beta Sigma Kappa, Delta Sigma Delta, and Phi Lambda Sigma.

There is a university theater troupe, "Sanus", which hosts regular performance events. In 1985 medical students formed the group [83] "Sanus," is the Latin word for "sanity."[83] The students said they used the opportunity to act and perform plays as means of relieving stress.[83] The theater troupe remains active, and students from other colleges also participate.[84]

Other officially recognized student organizations on campus include the following:[82]



WesternU employs 323 full-time faculty and 37 part-time faculty.[3] Some notable faculty members include:


As of 2017, a total of 13,375 graduates completed study at WesternU.[92] At the completion of the 2016-17 academic year, 1,036 students graduated from WesternU. Some notable alumni include:

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]