TCOM: what do ya'll think?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by rufus, Nov 11, 1999.

  1. rufus

    rufus Member
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    Hi, everyone! Here's my situation: I am a TX resident who applied to all eight medical schools in my state (7 allo and TCOM). I did not apply out-of-state for financial & familial reasons. I sent my secondary into TCOM a couple of weeks ago, and one of the ?s asks which other schools you've applied to, so I listed the seven allo schools in our state. Do you think this will hurt my chances for receiving an interview (I've heard the school is pretty darn selective as it is) because it perhaps appears that I'm not dedicated to studying osteopathic medicine? Quite honestly, I don't have a preference for MD vs DO. They're both medical degrees and I'd be happy to practice as either. My main goal is simply to broaden my chances w/i my own state. I'm just curious what you guys think. And if any of you have been TCOM, I'd appreciate your perspective. I've been there a few times, and I really liked what I saw.
     
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  3. TiffanyD

    TiffanyD Junior Member
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    Howdy Rufus,

    I'm going to UT Austin in the spring to finish my post-bacc pre-recs. (I went to a private school in Boston for undergrad...but I'm still NOT a Yankee!) I was just wondering what your impressions of the UT schools were. I know UTMB - Galveston because my dad went to school there, and is an assocaite professor (he does the internal medicine clinical rotations). I recently read about TCOM and I was very impressed! It made me look into the DO philosophy, which I find very interesting! I'll apply to all the TX schools, plus a few DO schools out of state. Good Luck with your application process!
     
  4. rufus

    rufus Member
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    Hi, TiffanyD! (I just can't bring myself to say howdy as it's a decidedly aggie tradition! [​IMG]) I graduated from UT-Austin a few years back and am currently working at UTMB. Small world, huh? Well, I've interviewed at 3 of the 4 UT schools (Southwestern in Dallas the lone hold-out). I like them all and really do think that they all provide a quality medical eduation. But each does have its own personality. UTMB is, well, laid back and now has a non-trad curriculum, which I like, but I don't like the new grading system. UT-San Antonio seems to be geared more towards the non-traditional student (older, married, lots of families and students w/ military experience) and is the most friendly, IMO. Of course, I'm from SA, so I might be biased. Being in the heart of the TX Medical Center, UT-Houston has some incredible facilites (a lot of which are shared w/ Baylor students, I think) and is quite impressive. It did seem a little bit more impersonal to me, although most of the students said they were incredibly happy there. I've also been to Texas Tech and A&M. They have the nicest, most modern facilities. But, being newer and smaller, also have less of a reputation (especially outside of the state). A&M's teaching hospital, Scott & White in Temple, is VERY nice though. Honestly, so long as my husband finishes up his graduate program by next summer, I'll be happy at any of the schools. Best of luck to you in your post-bacc courses!!
     
  5. drusso

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I'm a TCOM student, so I'll try to address your questions: 1) Basically, TCOM won't be concerned that you applied to allopathic schools. Only about 10-15% of students applying to TCOM only applied exclusively to DO schools the year I was accepted. The adcom realizes that medical school admissions is a competitive game and that people apply to both sets of schools. No big deal.

    However, TCOM does screen for students who can DEMONSTRATE an interest in primary care medicine and osteopathic principles and practice. This means going a little beyond having a DO write you a letter of rec. It's best to arrange to spend some time in a DO's office, come up to school and and shadow someone in the OMM department, etc. I highly recommend purchasing/barrowing a copy of Norman Gevitz's book The DO's and read it before your interview. If you can appear well-versed in the philosophy and history of the profession, then you'll be ahead of the game. Perhaps read the NEJM editorial titled "The Paradox of Osteopathy" and develop some opinions on the subject matter presented there. Relatedly, TCOM interviewers are nortorious known for asking ethical questions. Brush up a little on current issues in health care and medical ethics.

    UNTHSC/TCOM is also actively trying to expand its dual degree programs: DO/PhD and DO/MPH. So, if you have some basic science experience and considered grad school, then apply to the DO/PhD program. Your application might be considered more closely. Similarly, if you have any public health experience, then consider the DO/MPH program. Out-of-state applicants who are interested in dual degrees are highly sought after because the out-of-staters tend to be somewhat more academically competitve than some of the in-staters. (No offense!)

    All in all, I think TCOM is a great school. Our new president next year is going to the former army Surgeon General Ronald Blanck, DO. If you have any questions, I'll be more than happy to answer them to the best of my ability.

    ------------------
    David Russo, MS3
    UNTHSC/TCOM
    Research Fellow, Department of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine


    [This message has been edited by drusso (edited 11-11-1999).]
     
  6. TiffanyD

    TiffanyD Junior Member
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    Hey David,

    I was wondering if you could tell me how much emphasis TCOM puts on preventive medicine (i.e. exercise, nutrition) in their ciriculum? Those are particular interests of mine (I'm a personal trainer and competitive kick boxer - yes, I do scare my boyfriend...) and I know that traditionally the DO philosophy is more supportive of prevention than just treating the illness after the fact.
    Also, what is the DO/MPH program like? Is there any coursework you need to complete in order to pursue this track?
    I'm not sure if you know the answers to these questions, but I thought I'd ask. Thanks for your help!
     
  7. rufus

    rufus Member
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    Hi, David! Thank you very much for your response to my questions. My mind has been put more at ease. And I'm definitely interested in primary care, as virtually all of my volunteer and work experiences have been in that arena. As for demonstrating interest in osteopathic principles & practice, I used to work for directly with a DO and the remaining physicians in the practice were split about 70%MD/30%DO. But, truthfully, I don't recall any of the DOs actually practicing OMM. The DOs did seem to take a more proactive rather than reactive approach to designing treatment plans, but that was the major difference I noticed. I'm just curious as to your experiences with DOs, especially in private practice. Anyway, I think I'll pick up a copy of The DOs and peruse the NEJM article. Again, thanks!
     
  8. Dave

    Dave Member
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    In general osteopathic schools prefer those that are interested primarily in osteopathic medicine. If they were deciding between two candidates w/ the same credentials (except allo vs. osteo) they would choose the osteo student first. Being a state school this probably does not apply as much as it does in general to non-state osteopathic schools. This is all according to one D.O. I know, but it makes since.
     
  9. drusso

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Tiffany:

    On the medical education side I'd say that TCOM doesn't emphasize or de-emphasize nutrition or exercise more or less than MD schools. However, on the research side, there are two or three physiologists actively involved in exercise physiology research. I also think that there is an Institute for Human Fitness...I'm not sure about that one though. The MPH program allows students to emphasize in epidemiology, health promotion, clinical research, or general preventive medicine. Students have to start the program the summer before matriculation and knock-out the most time consuming core courses before their first semester: biostats, epi, principles of public health. DO/MPH students complete one extra class per semester plus summer school in addition to the standard medical curriculum. Completing a thesis, meta-analysis, or special project is also a degree requirement. It's a lot of work, but a very valuable education...

    Rufus:

    It sounds like you'd be a fine candidate assuming your academic credentials are in the ballpark for DO schools: GPA = 3.5+, MCATs 8-9+ per section.

    Good luck to you both!

    --dave
     
  10. drusso

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Tiffany:

    On the medical education side I'd say that TCOM doesn't emphasize or de-emphasize nutrition or exercise more or less than MD schools. However, on the research side, there are two or three physiologists actively involved in exercise physiology research. I also think that there is an Institute for Human Fitness...I'm not sure about that one though. The MPH program allows students to emphasize in epidemiology, health promotion, clinical research, or general preventive medicine. Students have to start the program the summer before matriculation and knock-out the most time consuming core courses before their first semester: biostats, epi, principles of public health. DO/MPH students complete one extra class per semester plus summer school in addition to the standard medical curriculum. Completing a thesis, meta-analysis, or special project is also a degree requirement. It's a lot of work, but a very valuable education...

    Rufus:

    It sounds like you'd be a fine candidate assuming your academic credentials are in the ballpark for DO schools: GPA = 3.5+, MCATs 8-9+ per section.

    Good luck to you both!

    --dave
     
  11. KS

    KS New Member

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    Dave,

    I recently interviewed at TCOM four weeks ago, and just this past Monday, TCOM called me to tell me that I was accepted. Not only this, I have been accepted to other schools, mostly MD.

    From what I saw during my visit to TCOM, I felt really at home there. The students were really friendly, the facilities were great, an old grad from my school who now attends TCOM told me it was great, and I could really see myself happy there. After my interview, I fell in like (not love) with the place.

    Since I have a choice of what schools to attend, I want to ask for your advice about how I should choose my school. If you were in this same situation, would you choose a school that has a prestigious reputation and that everyone in the medical community respects as "top notch", or would you go to a school that you will most be happy at? I know that a license to practice is the same no matter where you go, but what do you think?

    Oh, and I am a Texas resident: born and raised.


    ------------------
    KS
     
  12. drusso

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    KS:

    First, congrats! It's nice to have choices. Second, it sounds like part of your question really comes down to asking, "What does prestige buy me?" If I understand your question correctly, it sounds like you're choosing between places like Houston, Baylor, UT Southwestern vs TCOM. I just had lunch today with a first-year who was accepted at Houston but elected to come to TCOM because he didn't like his Houston interview experience and just felt like Houston was too big a place for him. He likes the fact that we're a more tightly knit community. But, back to you...

    Prestige can be powerful currency in medicine, especially if you're interested in policy or research. Name recognition goes a long way toward securing you faculty positions, grants, and money. There's no fluffing that point. I am hesitant to tell you to go to one school or another. However, I will suggest you consider the following questions in making your final decision:

    1) What are your personal goals for a career in medicine, keeping in mind that medical students change their minds often in medical school? Do you see yourself more specialty oriented or primary care oriented. If you're more specialty oriented, then brand-name recognition will probably be an asset down the line for residencies, fellowships, etc. Primary care residencies usually place more emphasis on interviews and personal life experiences (kind of like DO schools!)

    2) What did you specifically like about TCOM or get turned-off to at other schools? Each school does have a "flavor" to its student community and campus. Try to specifically tune into what those "flavors" were. Consider visiting TCOM and some other schools you were accepted at again now that you're at the other end of the process. You might have a different experience.

    3) Do you like the osteopathic approach to patient care? You are fortunate to have many choices. Others applying exclusively to DO schools, might not be that fortunate. The osteopathic profession is already burdened with DO's who don't find the time, energy, or motivation to practice osteopathically. They could have gotten an education more suitable to their current practice patterns at a MD school.

    4) Once you become a DO, you will indeed be a physician, but you will never be a MD. Are you the kind of person who is comfortable being a minority or different? (DO's comprise only 5% of all physicians in the US.) Will you feel frustrated or inadequate if you have to explain to a patient who has never been to an osteopathic physician before what the DO degree is and what osteopathic medicine is all about?

    Ultimately, your own success in the residency match process, and your own future career in medicine, will depend more upon how much enthusiasm, ambition, and personal drive you have toward becoming the best physician you can be, than it will with where you went to school. There are successful physicians in academia, private practice, and industry who have graduated from either private or public schools, from either research oriented or primary care focused schools, or from either DO or MD schools. There are many paths...

    Still, keep in mind that medical school is long, tedious, and often an exhausting endeavor. No matter how "good" other people think that a school is, your experience will be an awful one if you wake up every day hating where you are.

    Good luck,

    --dave
     

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