AZCOM questions - curriculum, rotations, etc

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by rkaz, Dec 25, 2008.

  1. rkaz

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Messages:
    995
    Likes Received:
    125
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    Hey there, I was just wondering if current students (or current applicants who are familiar with the school's program from their interview day experience) could say anything about the school's curriculum. I am currently applying to AZCOM for 2009 matriculation (interviewing in January), and have some questions. AZCOM is one of my top choices, so I am really hoping to get some info here. I did an extensive search on SDN, but the pre-osteo AZCOM threads were predominantly on topics related to students' application status, and the AZCOM class threads were predominatly on topics related to housing. I found some stuff about clinicals, but those threads were back from 2005/2006. So I was hoping that current students could kindly answer the following questions:

    1. Is the curriculum mostly lecture based, or do you guys have any small group work, PBL / case-based study sessions? I mean, is it an integrated curriculum, or lecture only?
    2. Is the curriculum system-based or organ based (or neither)?
    3. Also, do you have any clinical integration into the first/second year basic sciences?
    4. Do you use the clinic on campus for seeing standardized patients in first/second year (or is that clinic just for you as students to receive health care for your own selves)? How satisfied are you with your training on the standardized patients?
    5. Which hospitals in the Phoenix metropolitan area do 3rd/4th year students do their rotations at? I was reading old threads about ward-based versus preceptor-based rotations... what are your feelings towards that, especially in light of the 250 student class size? Are students satisfied with clinical education? Are you able to get good rotations in comparison to UofA med students?
    6. Is class attendance mandatory during the basic sciences?
    7. If attendance is not mandatory, can you watch recorded lectures online? Are online lectures available? Podcasts? Other study resources?
    8. Are there any tutoring or academic assistance available for students who are struggling with classes? Are faculty really 'open-door' and friendly with assisting students?
    9. Are there many opportunities for international rotations/electives?
    10. How diverse is the student body in terms of ethnic backgrounds, life experiences etc?
    11. Any other advice/input?

    Any information on the above questions would be most appreciated, thanks! :)
     
  2. DocWahwee

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ooooooh Masoor ( our 2012 class president)..... this sounds like a question for you….lol

    In the meanwhile, I’ll take a stab at providing some answers (we’re on Christmas break and my brain is a bit fried). I’m a first year at AZCOM and I also participated in the masters program at MWU.


    1. Is the curriculum mostly lecture based, or do you guys have any small group work, PBL / case-based study sessions? I mean, is it an integrated curriculum, or lecture only?
    The curriculum is mostly lecture based, however there are some courses that have “small-group” component. Our biochem class has weekly workshops that consist of 20-30 students per group. The topics typically cover clinical cases or go over topics that are have been historically difficult for students. These workshops are taught by the faculty attempt to be more interactive, however do feel much like a lecture. Our physiology class also has weekly workshops, but they are less “lecture” style and more group-work oriented. The topics alternate weekly between a PBL case studies and workshops designed to go over calculations and concepts in current physio lectures.

    2. Is the curriculum system-based or organ based (or neither)?

    We’re neither. Here’s our curriculum (if it asks for a password, just hit cancel and it should let you in):

    http://mwunet.midwestern.edu/administrative/Registrar/documents/0809_Curriculums/AZCOM_2012.pdf
    The faculty do a good job of trying to make the other classes relate to each other and cover similar topics in a similar timeframe. For example, histo, embryo, and anatomy is really one big class. So if we’re learning about the abdomen in anatomy…. We’re also learning about the histo of the GI tract and GI development in embryo.

    OMM and intro to clinical med (ICM) are a bit different and teach in a more “chronological fashion.” Therefore, first you learn to take a history, then you learn to perform a physical, then you learn how to diagnose, then you learn how to treat (over the first two years). OMM and ICM both have lab components where you practice your physical skills.



    3. Also, do you have any clinical integration into the first/second year basic sciences?

    Clinical correlates are worked into every class in every lecture. Referred pain seems to be a big topic here (yay dermatomes!!!). Essentially, Azcom follows the traditional style of learning normal human anatomy, physiology, biochem…etc the first year and the second year is learning about what’s abnormal (disease and treatment). However, you do get bits and pieces of clinical information along the way. For example, if you’re currently studying metabolism and the role of insulin and glucagon, they will also teach you about diabetes and you’ll have a workshop on blood glucose where you get take whole blood glucose tests on eachother etc…


    4. Do you use the clinic on campus for seeing standardized patients in first/second year (or is that clinic just for you as students to receive health care for your own selves)? How satisfied are you with your training on the standardized patients?


    In the first year, you don’t see standardized patients. However, they do strongly encourage (and in some instances require) that you participate in programs aimed at helping the underserved. Typically these programs provide free physicals/ medical care to the homeless or less fortunate and help first and second year students practice H& P skills.
    Second years work with standardized patients and I believe patients are seen “on campus”. Since we start seeing standardized patients in the second year, so I really can’t truthfully give an opinion. Though in general, I have only heard good things about students’ performances when it comes to clinical skills.

    The clinic is really more for seeing the public patients. Many of the clinical faculty have practices that are run out of the clinic. The clinic is also provides a “sick clinic”: that is run weekdays from 7-8a for students to come in before class- its $10 per visit and rather convenient, since most medical students don’t see the light of day. Also, I have known MWU students who have shadowed physicians at the clinic for their own personal investigations.


    5. Which hospitals in the Phoenix metropolitan area do 3rd/4th year students do their rotations at? I was reading old threads about ward-based versus preceptor-based rotations... what are your feelings towards that, especially in light of the 250 student class size? Are students satisfied with clinical education? Are you able to get good rotations in comparison to UofA med students?


    I can’t find a list of the current hospitals that we rotate at, however I believe the shorter list is where we don’t rotate. With the expansion they are revamping the clinical edu in the 3rd and 4th years. They’re limiting out- of- state rotations (with a few exceptions) in the 3rd year, so that they can oversee the student’s education and make sure they get the quality rotations they need for 4th year and audition rotations. They are starting to phase in more opportunities for ward based and phase out the preceptor based style. Since AZCOM has a history of producing a large number of specialists, the school is trying to increase the opportunities for students to get ward-based rotations- which may be necessary for residency apps and 4th elective rotations. As previously state, I have only heard good things about AZCOM students when it comes to clinical skills. My mom works as a clinical manager in a dept where AZCOM rotates at, and she and the docs have always been impressed. The Docs that work with us in the ICM labs have said that we are some of the best students they have ever seen in comparison to other schools. A doc that I spoke with from Marricopa state that he preferred AZCOM students over UA students. Overall, the majority of students are happy with their clinical experiences from what I have heard.
    Here’s some info to view:
    http://www.midwestern.edu/250/

    http://mwunet.midwestern.edu/academic/AZCOMClinEd_Dept/ceHome.htm


    6. Is class attendance mandatory during the basic sciences?

    Class attendance is expected, but not mandatory. Workshops and labs do have mandatory attendance.

    7. If attendance is not mandatory, can you watch recorded lectures online? Are online lectures available? Podcasts? Other study resources?

    The school doesn’t record lectures since attendance is expected. All notes and other study materials are printed for students and are posted to blackboard.

    8. Are there any tutoring or academic assistance available for students who are struggling with classes? Are faculty really 'open-door' and friendly with assisting students?

    There is tutoring available for struggling students through student services. Yes there is a true “open-door policy” and the faculty is awesome (at least the majority of them). They are very approachable and excited to see students coming in for help. I started at MWU in the masters program and decided to stay at AZCOM for medical school because of the faculty and staff.

    9. Are there many opportunities for international rotations/electives?

    I believe there are some, but not until the 4th year (and that may change in the future). The 4th year is pretty open in respect to location, because a large portion of your 4th year is dedicated to audition rotations for residency positions. So if you intend on doing an international residency, then they might be able to set something up. I would recommend calling up the clinical ed dept and taking to someone about your interests- they would have better advice than I do.

    10. How diverse is the student body in terms of ethnic backgrounds, life experiences etc?

    As far as ethnic background, this is kind of dependent on your perspective. I originally came from the mid-west and lived in a bubble with zero diversity. So in my opinion, yes, MWU has a lot of diversity. Although I have heard others who are used to more diversity, say that MWU is less diverse. I would recommend just looking around the cafeteria on your interview day and judge for your self.
    As far as life experience, I would say that AZCOM has A LOT of diversity. AZCOM’s average age of entrance is higher than the national average by a few years. I believe this is highly beneficial because we all have our own strengths/weaknesses and we can learn from one another socially, academically….etc.

    11. Any other advice/input?
    When you’re evaluating which medical school to go to, remember:….

    1) A good chunk of your success in medical school is what YOU make of it.
    2) Go where you will be the happiest. Medical school is stressful, so do yourself a favor and go where you will be happy.
     
  3. rkaz

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Messages:
    995
    Likes Received:
    125
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    Hey thanks so much for this helpful information. I sincerely appreciate your time in writing out your thoughts. :) If Masoor has any insight of his own, I would be grateful to hear from him too.

    I am glad to know that AZCOM is trying to improve on the clinical rotations situation. That has been a major concern I have with the school as a prospective student. Do you know if students get to pick their own rotations in the 3rd year, or are those just assigned by the school? I was wondering if there was a way for students to be proactive in seeking out and getting the type of rotations they'd prefer.
     
  4. DocWahwee

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    I believe 3rd year is kinda of a lottery system, however they will also try to set up students that have strong interests in ward based specialities in ward based rotations. For example, if a student has a strong intrest in surgery, they will try to get you into a ward based rotation for surgery. However, if you have a strong intrest in family practice, then you're more likely to do an out-patient rotation for surgery. They are getting "stricter" as to where you can do your rotations, because they want to make sure you have the skills you need for 4th year and beyond. The majority of theses are in phoenix (and AZ). There are a few rotations in other states. The big out of state "project" are the ohio rotations. Ohio ( is a very DO friendly state with many ward based rotation opportunities for students through OU-COM. Here's the website: http://www.ohiocore.org/sfr/index.htm. Students (about 40) can volunteer to spend their whole 3rd year in ohio to do their core rotations (I also believe they are working on 4th year also).

    I'm not really sure how 4th year is exactaly done, since everyone is doing audition rotations (which can occur anywhere) and most of 4th year is electives. My guess is that it's closer to picking what/ where rotations you want and signing up-but I'm sure there is some system in place, especially for high demand rotations.

    The thing to keep in mind is things right now are really changing, but they are doing their best to give students the best opportunities and clinnical education possible (not that it's poor right now). Its actually the second years that are the guinea pigs for the class expansion- so if you hear complaints it may be because they are having to work out all the kinks for class of 2012 and future clases. Also, since the class of 2011 are the true guinea pigs, they will probably have it all worked out by the time you get to clinnical rotations.
     
    #4 DocWahwee, Dec 28, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  5. rkaz

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Messages:
    995
    Likes Received:
    125
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    Thanks DocWahwee. Do you know which hospitals in the Phoenix metropolitan area offer AOA residencies? I am guessing that people planning on living in the Phoenix area long-term would prefer to choose these sites for their audition rotations.

    It might be worth moving to Ohio if one could get great ward-based rotations there, but I have read that AOA residency programs prefer (require?) students who have done audition rotations at their sites... I wasn't aware of the issue of audition rotations previously, I just read about it a short while ago. Thus, I'd be seeking to do my clinicals in the Phoenix metro area, so I could get a residency here... as all my family lives in the area.
     
    #5 rkaz, Dec 29, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2008
  6. DocWahwee

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    In general, I believe that residency programs do not officially require a student to rotate at their program to be accepted. The plus to doing an audition rotation is that you can get to know the staff and current residents and see if you like the program. Also you can get letters of rec from the site for the residency that you are applying to.

    Here's some info....
    osteopathic residencies in AZ
    http://opportunities.osteopathic.org/search/search_results.cfm?CFID=26949&CFTOKEN=3aabc0ad26bbcfdb-894E2C5E-06BC-40F9-C9D3316E786905E5&jsessionid=f030dc187c85a78390aa2952536214641f37
    There are likely to be more AOA residencies opening up in the next few years with the new AT Still school in mesa and AZCOM is working on 9 or so new residencies in AZ.

    allopathic residencies in AZ
    http://www0.ama-assn.org/vapp/freida/pgmrslt/1,1239,,00.html


    Azcom match lists
    http://mwunet.midwestern.edu/academic/AZCOM/azcomDean_Match.htm
     
  7. rkaz

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Messages:
    995
    Likes Received:
    125
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    Thanks Doc, these links are very helpful. :thumbup:
     
  8. minah86

    minah86 Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2005
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    0
    i know every school is different, so are tests strictly based off of powerpoint/in-class notes, or is reading the textbook/additional readings also important for exams?
     
  9. DocWahwee

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thus far (from my experience in the masters program and AZCOM), 99.9% of the material comes from the lecture notes. Every once in a while a prof (and we have like 10 profs per class) will want to take 1-2 questions from a text for a quiz or exam.

    I've stopped buying text books and only use the notes for studying. Texts are mainly used to as supplement to the lectures- so if you don't understand all the concepts in the lecture, you can use the texts to clarify topics. The only texts I would recommend buying (for 1st and 2nd quarter) are the anatomy/histo/ embryo because our notes do not include pictures due to copywrite issues, and you will need the images for studying.
     
  10. theraball

    theraball Panned
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Messages:
    385
    Likes Received:
    1
    regarding texts, don't buy any until at least the second week of classes. The upperclassmen will steer you to the books to get and the books you can just read in the library. Also, you will find used stuff for sale both on campus and on the internet.

    As Dr. Wahwee says, almost all the tested material is in the form of notes that are placed in your mailbox and are also online in Bulletin Board. The pictorial books like Netter's Atlas and the histology atlases are handy to have at home for those late night study sessions but don't sweat it for the first few days.
     
  11. San_Juan_Sun

    San_Juan_Sun Professor of Life
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Messages:
    715
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Just wait until you go through the match. It may not be "official" policy, but rotating away gives you a huge leg up come application season. Do not fool yourself (or anyone else) into thinking that it isn't necessary to rotate away.

    When I was at AZCOM, we had no issues with doing lots of away rotations, and I believe it helped us when it came down to the match. Since I've left, I cannot comment on how the recent rotation changes have impacted the ability to rotate out. Bottom line though: I would pick a school that gives me lots of freedom in my clinical rotations.

    A thoroughly unimpressive list.

    I would not advise picking a school based on what residencies might open up someday. AZCOM has had a weak clinical setup for over a decade. They know this, and have made only a little headway in solving this problem. Some of the blame lies elsewhere, but generations of students have gone through AZCOM with the same complaints... and little has ever been done to secure a large amount of stable, residency based rotations.

    Does that mean you can't get a good education at AZCOM? Absolutely not. I feel I was well-trained, but that was mainly due to me seeking out good opportunities to learn. It was rarely from anything the school set up for me. I fear (although I admit I'm out of the loop now) that the restrictions on 3rd year rotations sacrifice the best thing AZCOM clinicals had going for them: freedom to set things up yourself.

    As an aside, lest I be accused of being overly negative, there are several key administrators who I highly respect and appreciate in Clinical Ed. They went to bat for me, just as they do for the rest of the students. There are good people at AZCOM, but their hands are tied by problems beyond their ability to fix.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  12. goooooober

    goooooober Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2003
    Messages:
    398
    Likes Received:
    5
    I sincerely hope you are not talking about that grease-ball Shulman or the one with a voice like Milhouse's dad on the Simpsons.

    AZCOM has the potential to be great. But as San Juan has said, only potential.
     
  13. rkaz

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Messages:
    995
    Likes Received:
    125
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    I know AZCOM students have a high pass rate with the COMLEX, but how successful are students with the USMLE? I was wondering not just in terms of pass rates, but also in terms of actual scores. Anyone know?

    Also, does the school teach to the COMLEX/USMLE? Meaning, are the lectures taught in a way to make students familiar with the exams' content? Are there board prep review classes at the school? Do they give enroll students in Kaplan, etc?
     
  14. Flushot

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,646
    Likes Received:
    13
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    During our interview, they said they were implementing a Kaplan course that was mandatory for the 2012 class, but that's still in the works. It might not even be mandatory, but it also depends on how the next class does on Step 1. They also planned to have more shelf exams to bring up Step 2 scores.

    This is COMLEX only, btw. For USMLE, you'll probably be on your own.
     
  15. rkaz

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Messages:
    995
    Likes Received:
    125
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    Hey guys, I was looking at AZCOM's curriculum and it seems that all the electives are in the 4th year. The 3rd year seems to be filled with all primary care rotations. This seems to be a disadvantage for those students who are interested in specializing, as they don't have exposure to their specialties of choice. Can anyone elaborate on this?

    Also what's the deal with the 3 away rotations? Is that 3 away rotations during 3rd year (allowing a student to go anywhere for 4th year), or are those 3 away rotations for 3rd/4th year combined? I know the Ohio program exists, but I was just wondering how much flexibility students have for selecting their own rotations of their choosing.
     
  16. AZCOM2010

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2007
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Medical Student

    My piece of advice for everyone: Don't think that just because they said it in an interview that it's true. They told our class we could rotate wherever we wanted during 3rd year, then took that privilege away, only allowing us to have 3 out of system rotations. For the coming classes, you will likely not be able to do any out of system rotations, meaning you MUST go where to school tells you to go. They also told us that they cared about student opinions here, and speaking for anyone who's ever spoken to the Dean, this is obviously false. Anyway, I just wouldn't take them at their word. Just my opinion.
     
  17. Flushot

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,646
    Likes Received:
    13
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Yeah, I figured that the presentation was more to sell a product. It's better to find out for yourself.

    For example, I spoke with a classmate who interviewed yesterday and she said there was no mention of a formal COMLEX review, which was a major point noted by my spokeperson during our interview presentation. Granted, it wasn't concrete or anything, but I guess things can change.
     
  18. DocBR

    DocBR MS-3
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Messages:
    421
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Medical Student
    I am not sure how it is working out exactly, but they have something set up for board review in the spring quarter for my class (2011). Last weekend we got a surprise email from Kaplan letting us know that we have been registered and paid up for the USMLE Step1 Qbank + COMLEX OMM Qbank. As for a formal review - it seems all of our clinical ed courses for the last 6 weeks of spring quarter will be board review stuff.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  19. rkaz

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Messages:
    995
    Likes Received:
    125
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    Hey guys, well I have been officially accepted and am planning on matriculating this fall (about 95% sure). :)

    I am wondering about the 3rd year Ohio program... have you (or anyone you know) gone there for 3rd year? How do the quality of rotations there compare to doing 3rd year in the Phoenix area? Since Phoenix is my hometown, most likely I'd like to stay in Phoenix. However, if going to Ohio for 3rd give gives me the opportunity to do excellent rotations at residency-based teaching hospitals, then I am very much willing to go. But if I can get equal quality rotations as teaching hospitals in Phoenix, then I'd prefer not to go. Since I am single with no kids or pets... I would have greater flexibility to move around for rotations than someone with family. Thoughts??

    I know I still have a few years until I get to 3rd year, but since I am planning on canceling other schools interviews since I have been accepted at AZCOM... I just want to feel more confident that I am making a good choice by knowing about what's likely in store for me.
     
  20. theraball

    theraball Panned
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Messages:
    385
    Likes Received:
    1
    Congratulations on getting in. AZCOM is a great school and you are in for the time of your life. The Ohio rotations haven't even started yet; the first group will be going in probably June or July of this year. We'll know more about the quality of this program by the fall or winter--too late to influence your decision, of course. But from what we have heard, some of the hospitals in the Ohio program offer pretty good training programs. By the time you get to rotations, two classes will have gone before you and there will be ample experience to learn from.
    Best of luck,
    Therapy Ball
     

Share This Page