Pros and Cons of Integrated Pod Programs

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Apr 16, 2021
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I have an offer from my 2 top schools, Kent State and DMU. I was wondering if any current students from those programs could speak on their experience at their school? For those at DMU, did you feel like the exams were more difficult and catered towards the USMLE for the DO students?

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I graduate from Kent next month and I personally was very happy with this school. Every school with have its own pros and cons but, I am happy to answer any questions you have.

I felt prepared for all board exams (part 1 and 2, taking part 3 in June) and this was before they created dedicated study time. I think students now have like 2 months + sketchy + boards and beyond + board prep class provided to them. I paid for all of that out of pocket. I was not about to take that exam a second time so I studied as hard as I could and used resources that I liked. Board scores took a dive this past year across all schools... not sure if it was because of virtual learning or what. Kent is not on probation or anything like that though. I think only one school is/was.

I definitely felt prepared clinically. My third year, our surgery rotation was only 1 month and we had to rotate through different sites every week (annoying). Now it's 2 months and less rotating. They also introduced clinical exposure starting year 1 vs what it was like for me (wasn't until year 3 for me). I was able to do anything asked of me on externships.

Lots of research opportunities if you are into that. I didn't do much during school because when I was finally ready, covid hit. I'm pursuing that more now though. Some of my graduating classmates are still working on some projects even as they are finishing up.

I liked the class size because everyone can find their own group where they fit in. I'm a nontraditional student and in my 30s. There were quite a few of us so I didn't feel out of place, and no one really cared anyway. Most of my friends in school ended up being pretty young.

It's overall a friendly school-- admin knows who you are and will help you with whatever. It's cheap to live here. I had roommates and spent $300 a month on rent for my first couple of years (for a house).

Tutoring is free and available for all students, in all classes. I'm currently tutoring multiple classes. They are receptive to feedback. It may not happen right away but they've shifted things slightly in the curriculum timing in response to student feedback (4th year, longer surgery rotation, getting more MRI exposure earlier, earlier clinical experience, etc.).

When I look back at the things I complained about, it really was just stupid things everyone vents about. The exam was hard, I didn't think they'd test us on x, we take so many credits at a time (every school does lol). Venting about it helps while you are going through it. I realized during my externships that when residents were letting me go home after my (by my standards) long day, they were still there working. School, externships, etc. all seems so much easier in comparison to what is in store during residency. However, while I was in my fourth year, I was tired. Each year can be difficult in its own relative way. When you progress through the years, you realize you just get used to it and will be perfectly fine.

It can be hard to pick between a school but go with where you felt the best and where you want to live. I was not expecting to end up at Kent because I had bigger scholarships at other places, but I instantly loved it on my interview compared to the others.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to reply or to PM me. I'll be honest about my experience. Some of the changes they have made definitely would have been nice to have my year, but I'm just happy to be graduating! This is really just a general overview and at the end of the day, I'd still pick this school. But that does not mean every person would prefer Kent. School is hard..... pick the place where you think you have the highest chance of succeeding!
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I'm also at Kent. It's not perfect but they're receptive in regards to changes necessary for the better. Each year bring its own difficulties but I keep telling myself to keep my nose above the water and continue to swim. If it was easy everyone would be doing it.

All that aside, I do think boards 1st time passed rates in general are student dependent. They're gonna give you everything you need and the information is out there. How you process, internalize and then regurgitate it out when the time comes is all on you.

I do like the fact that we don't share resources with other programs like DO etc and that it's all in house for us student to use.
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I don't think there are any cons to an integrated education. Some of the best taught courses at DMU are the integrated classes and I personally thought I received an amazing science/medical education that still serves me well.
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I don't think there are any cons to an integrated education. Some of the best taught courses at DMU are the integrated classes and I personally thought I received an amazing science/medical education that still serves me well.
I agree fully. It is better to have integrated for visibility and networking. There is no shortage of people who can watch a lecture, no shortage of library books and journals, and no cadaver shortage if the school has proper resources.

Residencies are where it gets more murky.
Having ortho program or a huge teaching hospital with a lot of MD programs along side the DPM residency has its benefits, but there is also the fact that there are a finite amount of surgery cases, central lines, intubations, ER suturing and fx reductions, etc etc. There is the case for the podiatry programs at small hospital sponsors (+/- FP), medium/lg teaching (some other residency programs, basic MedEd office), or large teaching (ortho, many surg, 100+ total residents running around, full research and MedEd).
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AZCPM student here, all basic sciences are taken with the osteopathic students (similar to DMU). All exams are oriented toward "USMLE and COMLEX" style board questions. In retrospect, I believe this would be more difficult than a non-integrated curriculum.
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