The PNWU-COM DO program prepares students for professional practice through didactics, interactive clinical case sessions, clinical skills training, and formative and summative assessments including properly spaced, high-stakes licensure exams. Upon successful completion of the program, students will have attained knowledge and skills for the competent practice of medicine.  

The four-year curriculum for the DO Program is structured around the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) core competencies:

  1. Osteopathic Principles & Practice and Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment
  2. Osteopathic Patient Care
  3. Application of Knowledge for Osteopathic Medical Practice
  4. Practice-Based Learning and Improvement in Osteopathic Medicine
  5. Interpersonal and Communication Skills in the Practice of Osteopathic Medicine
  6. Professionalism in the Practice of Osteopathic Medicine
  7. Systems-Based Practice in Osteopathic Medicine.  

OMS 1 and 2:  Preclinical Education

A clinical practice thread including Osteopathic Principles and Practice (OPP), Clinical Skills, and Community Doctoring coursework runs throughout OMS 1 and 2. Osteopathic medicine, supported by a growing body of scientific knowledge, is applicable to all branches and specialties of medicine, and includes the unity of the living organism comprised of body, mind, and spirit. OPP courses teach osteopathic philosophy, problem solving, patient management, multiple osteopathic manipulative modalities, and the overall practice of osteopathic health care. Emphasis is placed on the sequential development of palpatory, diagnostic, and therapeutic skills used to assess health and disease. Clinical Skills courses teach students how to perform a proper history and physical examination, effectively document patient encounters, and successfully deliver case presentations. Students also get early clinical exposure, utilizing standardized patients and virtual medicine simulation robots. Community Doctoring courses empower students with the basic understanding of how sociocultural patterns of behaviors, personalities, developmental disabilities, ethics, and communication will affect patient care and clinical decision making.  Students also attain research skills in biostatistics, epidemiology, and evidence-based practice.

Concurrently, a biomedical science thread including Gross Anatomy, Scientific Foundations of Medicine (SciFOM), and Fundamentals of Pharmacology begins OMS 1. The year-long Gross Anatomy course provides students with a solid knowledge base in gross, neurologic, and radiologic anatomy essential for understanding the bases for clinical diagnoses and treatments. The Scientific Foundations of Medicine (SciFOM) course, which runs from Week 1 through Week 12, provides students with a basic science foundation to build on throughout the remainder of the curriculum. Major elements of the course include key concepts in biochemistry, embryology, genetics, histology, immunology, microbiology, molecular biology, neuroscience, nutrition and physiology with a special emphasis on integration and regulation. The Fundamentals of Pharmacology course, which runs from Week 3 through Week 12, introduces students to the study of substances that bind to regulatory molecules and activate or inhibit normal bodily processes, and can be properly used to prevent, diagnose, and/or treat disease.

Systems-based coursework begins in Week 13 and continues throughout the remainder of OMS 1 and OMS 2. Students are provided with a multidimensional, multidiscipline approach to understanding the normal structure/function and pathophysiology of various organ systems. The sequence is as follows:  musculoskeletal/integumentary, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, hematology/oncology, gastrointestinal, nervous, ophthalmology, endocrine, genitourinary/reproductive, behavioral medicine and multisystem.  By the end of the 2ndyear, students will have the basic knowledge needed to understand and explain the prevention, presentation, diagnosis and treatment of the most common disorders of each system. Students will also be able distinguish between those disorders that can and should be competently handled by a primary care physician, and those that need to be referred to a specialist.

OMS 3 and 4:  Clinical Education

PNWU-COM has developed robust, community-based medical education training sites throughout the Pacific Northwest. This model, which meets or exceeds quality standards set by regional medical schools, provides an excellent opportunity for students to be active participants in their clinical training, gain practical experience and apply knowledge acquired from their preclinical education. Students live at a single site for up to two years, which minimizes housing issues and allows the student to become part of the local fabric of the community. Preference for rotation sites is given to students from, or who have family in, the local area. Regional deans and coordinators support the students at each site, set specific objectives and expectations for students, and oversee end-of-rotation examinations. Students train with DOs and MDs with various specialties in varied settings. 

The majority of students will have a four-week rural rotation in family medicine, with an experience designed to meet the rural and underserved mission focus of PNWU-COM. Often, there is only one medical student at a rural site, allowing the student to have more hands-on experience than at other locations. The third-year core rotations include family medicine, internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, women's health, osteopathic principles, and behavioral medicine. The fourth year consists of emergency medicine and electives in surgery, behavioral science, and medicine, which students may schedule anywhere in the United States with the approval of the Clinical Rotations Department. Students, clinics, hospitals, and adjunct clinical faculty must fulfill stringent objectives and requirements for each rotation. Each core site has a variety of electives available. During the fourth year, students audition at potential residency programs of interest.

For detailed course description, please check Student Catalog.

College of Osteopathic Medicine

Contact Information

Butler-Haney Hall
200 University Parkway
Yakima, WA 98901

Vicky Koch
Executive Assistant to the Dean