Lincoln Memorial University’s DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM) has developed a modified systems curricular model that emphasizes basic science and foundational concepts of medicine in the first year of medical school and clinical application of those concepts in the second year. The first-year curriculum focuses on normal structure and function as they pertain to the maintenance of health. The second-year curriculum focuses on the pathophysiology of disease and when normal systems go awry. At LMU-DCOM, we combine traditional lecture-based didactic presentations and laboratory exercises along with highly interactive learning sessions, in the Team-Based Learning (TBL) format, that help students master the basic science concepts presented in lecture and lab. In TBL, students work outside of class with individual study of assigned material as preparation for in-class exercises that allow students to improve their critical thinking skills and demonstrate mastery of the topic under discussion. Students work in small teams of up to eight members to solve problems in various topics of medicine related to their current course work. Through didactic lecture and laboratory practice, using simulated and standardized patients, the student acquires basic clinical skills and procedures needed in clinical rotations and eventually as an independent physician.
In the fall of year one, students are introduced to topics in medical biochemistry, genetics and cellular biology in the Molecular Fundamentals of Medicine I course. The Medical Gross Anatomy and Histology courses cover structure of the human body from the macro level to the cellular level. Foundations of Modern Health Care I include presentations and discussion on the foundational skills and information necessary to understand the dynamic practice of medicine in our society.
The spring semester of year one includes Medical Physiology, in which basic principles of physiology are presented in a practical way relevant to medicine and expand upon the biochemistry introduced in the fall semester. Medical Physiology provides students with a framework on how the human body functions normally and is a foundation for the system courses in the second year. Knowledge acquired in Medical Physiology also provides a foundation for Medical Basic Pharmacology. Basic principles of pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics provides students a basic understanding of the therapeutic principles of pharmacology and the underlying mechanisms of drug function. In Molecular Fundamentals II, the functioning of the human immune system is studied as well as the bacterial, viral and parasitic invaders that cause human morbidity and mortality in infectious disease. Medical Neuroanatomy studies the structure, innervation and function of the brain. The Foundations of Modern Health Care II covers topics such as epidemiology and population health, interprofessional education, evidence-based medicine, research ethics and public health and disease surveillance.
The manipulative techniques that DOs employ as an additional treatment modality in their "toolkit" as physicians are taught in Osteopathic Principles and Practices (OPP). OPP is a combination of both laboratory and lectures and is structured for progressive learning over four semesters and teaches the fundamental tenets required to perform osteopathic manipulative techniques. Essentials of Patient Care (EPC) is a combination of didactic lectures, simulation labs and standardized patient experiences that help students practice techniques and examination skills essential as a competent physician. EPC builds in knowledge and complexity over the course of the first two years, preparing students for their clinical rotations in the third and fourth years. OPP and EPC course I-IV represent a continuum that evolves over the first four semesters of the pre-clinical years. Each semester builds on the previous semesters allowing students to develop the clinical skills need for entry into the clinical years of OMS-III and OMS-IV.
The second year of medical school will focus on clinical application of the basic science concepts presented in year one. Students will have didactic lectures and interactive learning sessions (TBL), using an organ system approach to medicine. LMU-DCOM differs in its curriculum design by presenting the groups of systems concurrently, such as Cardiovascular, Renal and Respiratory thus aiding students in improving understanding and integration/correlation of course materials beyond a single organ system. Topics are presented with clinical considerations that integrate with practical application of basic science principles mastered in year one coursework.
Organ systems are grouped as follows:
Simultaneously, OPP and EPC course lectures and labs present clinical skills techniques and examinations that complement the systems coursework. A third iteration of FMHC III is presented in spring of OMSII to present topics in health policy, public health, research, interprofessional education, physician-patient relationships and malpractice are included.