TCOM Alumni Newsletter

February 2013

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UNTHS Students

TCOM’s Academy of Medical Educators: Innovative Outcomes for Students Start with Professors

Founded by TCOM Dean Don Peska, DO, MEd, in 2010, the Academy of Medical Educators (AME) is a rigorous outcomes-oriented approach to medical education that gives professors teaching skills designed to help
medical students succeed today and tomorrow.

AME enriches TCOM’s already innovative approach, referred to as a “problem- and taskfocused curriculum,” in which students use class time to address patient case studies rather than passively listening to lectures. TCOM students develop clinically relevant skills, and as a result, they consistently score among the highest in the nation on osteopathic medicine licensing exams.

AME offers graduate-level course work that leads to a formal certificate in Higher Education. The approximately 30 AME participants meet four hours per week and are exempted from a component of their patient-care responsibilities so they have time to focus on curricular design and implementation, self-study and educational research.

“Few if any other medical schools in the nation have an academy this ambitious,” says Associate Dean, Curricular Design and Faculty Development, Frank Papa, DO, PhD, who leads the Academy. “Most are not as outcomes-oriented. If we continue this approach, we will be one of the first medical schools with a true 21st century curriculum among all osteopathic medical schools, if not all U.S. and European medical schools.”

Future Health Professionals “Take Flight” At UNTHSC

If someone followed you around all day long at work, you’d probably be pretty creeped out. But when it helps a young person choose a lifetime career, it’s an entirely different story. It’s called shadowing, and it’s the central component of a program by the UNT Career Center called “Take Flight.” The idea is to help current college undergraduates identify their intended future profession in medical or allied health professions, then shadow a mentor within that field at UNTHSC.

By shadowing, visiting students (from both UNT and TCU thus far) experience two days in the life of medical and health professions students, faculty and staff. Participants meet with current TCOM students and admissions personnel, as well as with both the School of Health Professions’ Physician Assistant (PA) Studies and Physical Therapy (PT) programs.

Activities include hands-on work in laboratory and clinical facilities, the anatomy lab, osteopathic manipulative medicine lab and the patient simulation lab. “I loved how friendly everyone was,” said Zulma Ibarra, a UNT
junior who wanted to know more about TCOM. “This is real-world experience that students eagerly seek out,”
said Jimmy Renfro, UNTHSC Assistant Director of Career Services. “Classroom training is essential, but so is the
experience of being fully immersed in the daily experience. This program is a real eye-opener for everyone involved.”

Anonymous Donor Gifts OMM $121,000

It’s the kind of thing you usually only see on TV: a generous benefactor wishing to remain anonymous leaves a part of their estate to a worthy cause. In this case, however, it’s true. A Dallas osteopathic physician
left an anonymous estate gift of $121,000 to TCOM and the Department of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM).

The gift helps launch a $1 million endowment for the OMM Department. “We’re very grateful for this gift,” said David Mason, DO, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of OMM. “TCOM’s OMM Department has great need for endowment funding to ensure we retain top-tier faculty and provide educational opportunities to ensure our graduates are first-rate physicians who contribute to healthier communities.”

The endowment fund, called the John H. Harakal, DO, Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine Endowment Fund, is
named for the OMM department’s founding chair. Harakal was influential in osteopathic medicine - he was
a fellow of the American Academy of Osteopathy and Chairman for the Osteopathic Philosophy, Principles and
Practice section of the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners. Harakal earned numerous honors, including TCOM’s Founders Medal and the A.T. Still Medallion of Honor from the American Academy of Osteopathy.

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