Programs & Degree

U N E COM students from the class of 2017 pose in front of pickus hall

Program Description

The degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), granted to graduates of osteopathic medical schools, demonstrates to the public that these physicians received a unique and distinctive education based upon the general principles articulated by its founder, Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, and by the American Osteopathic Association.

Consistent with the philosophy and training programs of the osteopathic profession, the majority of osteopathic physicians practice primary care specialties. Their focus on holistic medicine, one of the basic tenets of their osteopathic heritage, directs them to provide both preventive and curative services to their patients on a comprehensive and continuing basis.

In addition to the primary care specialties (e.g., Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine), many osteopathic physicians choose residency training for careers in other medical and surgical specialties, and in settings such as active military practice, hospitalist care, and academic health centers. All 50 states in the USA and more than 50 countries offer unlimited medical licensure to qualified osteopathic physicians.

  1. Curriculum Overview

NOTE: Medical education is continuously evolving in alignment with best practices for learning and teaching. To maintain the most up-to-date, productive learning environment for our students, the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNE COM) reserves the right to revise and amend as appropriate the policies and practices described in this catalog.

The UNE COM curriculum is designed to develop osteopathic primary care and other specialized physicians who are skilled in health promotion and illness prevention, as well as the delivery of health care to the ill. To that end, UNE COM provides an innovative, contemporary, patient-focused curriculum that fosters life-long, self-directed, evidence-based learning and professional development.

Our progressive, integrated four-year curriculum aligns educational activities with the principles of adult learning to maximize the attainment and retention of knowledge, skills, and attitudes crucial to the delivery of health care in the 21st century.

  1. Pre-Clerkship Education

UNE COM students spend the first two years of the program on the University of New England (UNE) campuses in Biddeford and Portland, Maine. The curriculum consists of a series of large and small group learning activities, combined with independent experiential learning in physicians’ offices, hospitals, extended care facilities and health centers. Facilitated learning sessions include traditional didactic lectures, interactive problem solving sessions, patient case-based study discussions, hands-on laboratory exercises, panel discussions, demonstrations, and clinically focused encounters with standardized and real patients. Learning activities are constructed to provide a strong foundation in the basic biomedical and social sciences as well as clinical skills as they apply to the rapidly changing practice of medicine in the 21st century. A thorough grounding in the manual skills characteristic of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) is provided in the first two years and supplemented, reinforced, and expanded in Years 3 and 4.

Student preparation before class and active participation in class is a consistent element in the learning dynamic throughout the curriculum. An open, free-flowing dialogue between faculty and students is characteristically valued and encouraged.

Progressive, level-appropriate mastery of the seven Core Competencies identified by the American Osteopathic Association serves as the educational outcome of the curriculum. The competencies include:

  1. Osteopathic Principles and Practice: The student will understand and apply osteopathic principles to patient care.
  1. Medical Knowledge: The student will demonstrate knowledge of established biomedical, epidemiological, social, and behavioral sciences and their application to patient care.
  1. Patient Care: The student will have the knowledge, attitudes, and skills to provide compassionate, appropriate and effective patient care.
  1. Interpersonal and Communication Skills: The student will demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective interactions with patients, families, and colleagues.
  1. Professionalism: The student will demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities in an ethical and sensitive manner.
  1. Practice-Based Learning and Improvement: The student will demonstrate the ability to investigate and evaluate patient care practices using scientific evidence and apply these to patient care.
  1. Systems-Based Practice: The student will demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and systems of health care, to provide care of optimal value.

High quality laboratory and educational facilities provide a stimulating venue for the mastery of the seven AOA competencies. The specially constructed Leonard Hall redefines the teaching and learning environment by creating an intentional space that fosters group dialogue, case-based study, and interactive connection using emerging technologies. The Harold Alfond Center for Health Sciences houses laboratories and lecture halls that place UNE COM at the national forefront of health and life sciences education. The Donor Lab (including cadaveric dissection) is among the most advanced facilities in the world. The Osteopathic Principles and Practice (OP&P) Lab is spacious and well designed with the latest technological support. The Clinical Performance Center is an interactive clinical skills teaching, testing and evaluation facility with well-established Standardized Patient and Patient Simulator Programs.

Capitalizing on the University’s support of multiple degree programs in the health and allied health professions, including medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, physician assistant and social work, the College engages in intensive interprofessional education and collaboration.

  1. Clerkship Education

The last two years of predoctoral training focuses on experiential learning in a clinical setting to further develop individual and team learning and to expand clinical acumen. The entire third year curriculum is conducted, over a twelve month period, at one of the designated Clinical Campuses.

The UNE COM Clinical Campuses form a consortium of community based education sites, each consisting of one or more training institutions, within a specific geographic region, that allows coordinated delivery of the core academic training experience. Each campus provides the patient base, didactic and experiential learning opportunities, supervisory infrastructure and longitudinal evaluation necessary for the accomplishment of the educational goals of core clerkships. The College’s Clinical Campuses are located in the New England states, as well as in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Year 3 students are assigned to clerkships in the six core disciplines at one of the College’s Clinical Campuses. Reflecting its focus on primary care, UNE COM clinical campus training programs are based in community hospitals, private physician offices, and community health centers, throughout the northeast, that represent environments in which many UNE COM graduates will eventually practice. Ambulatory care programs train students in office practice and familiarize them with the collaborative roles and skills of non­-physician health care providers. While community hospitals form the core of the Year 3 and Year 4 clinical rotations, affiliations with specialty focused facilities allow students to pursue a range of clinical experiences. Many of these hospitals also provide Graduate Medical Education (GME) as members of the Northeast Osteopathic Medical Education Network (NEOMEN) (see below). Year 4 students continue their learning with selective and elective clinical rotations at UNE COM-approved programs of their choice.

Please see the Core predoctoral clinical clerkship affiliates for more information. The list of Clinical Campuses is subject to change and may vary from year to year.

  1. Postgraduate Education

UNE COM enjoys an educational affiliation with a number of postgraduate internship and residency programs through its Osteopathic Postgraduate Training Institute (OPTI) known as the Northeast Osteopathic Medical Education Network (NEOMEN). As academic sponsor of these independent programs, the College serves as a liaison with the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) to assure compliance with accreditation criteria required for AOA approval of the training programs. As postgraduate medical education transitions to the new single accreditation system under the American Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) these affiliations will remain in place. UNE COM graduates apply to these and other postgraduate programs for internship and residency training. These affiliations exemplify the breadth and depth that these collaborative arrangements offer our graduates for postgraduate training.

Please see postgraduate affiliates for more information on the Northeast Osteopathic Medical Education Network.

  1. Concurrent Graduate Degree Program

UNE COM offers medical students the opportunity of pursuing a concurrent graduate degree in Public Health while pursuing the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree.