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OU-COM receives praise, commendations during evaluation

Accreditation organization identifies college as ‘role model’

The American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation recently granted continuing full accreditation to Ohio University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.

The AOA commission conducted the on-site evaluation in late October,
and issued their final report last month. The college received four commendations and praise from the commission, and no negative requirements or recommendations.

“It’s unusual, almost unheard of, for a school to come out with no requirements and no recommendations. This was an extremely positive outcome,” said OU-COM Dean John Brose, D.O., who has served on the commission and reviewed many accreditation results for other institutions. Requirements are deficient areas that call for action and solutions, while recommendations are advice for improvements, Brose said.

Continuing accreditation is granted to those colleges that meet or exceed the accreditation standards for educational quality. Accreditation status is reviewed on a seven-year survey cycle of self-study and includes a comprehensive on-site evaluation. The AOA commission receives authority from the U.S. Department of Education to accredit colleges of osteopathic medicine.

During the debriefing after the commission’s on-site evaluation, one inspector stated that OU-COM should be held up as a model for all osteopathic medical schools, Brose said.

At the October debriefing and in last month’s final report, OU-COM received commendations, the highest possible praise from the AOA, in four areas:

·        the college’s achievements in research productivity,

·        the Office of Student Affairs financial literacy programs for students,

·        the recruitment of a diverse student body, including access programs that resulted in an average of 24 percent minority students for entering classes, and

·        the development and commitment of the college’s executive committee. “The enthusiasm and esprit de corps expressed to
the team were very impressive,” the final evaluation report from
the Commission stated.


Research achievements lauded

The report commended the college for its research approach.

“OU-COM has a well developed and implemented program to encourage research achievement by basic science and clinical faculty,” the final reported stated. “There is considerable collaborative effort between OU-COM scientists and those in the OU chemistry, life science and engineering departments.” 

Brose expressed the most satisfaction with this commendation. 

“The research component has been a major thrust of mine as dean,” he said. “The college has done an incredible job to push our research mission.” 

The accreditation team noted research space available throughout the medical college and campus buildings, and cited the opening next year of the new Academic & Research Center, a joint project sponsored primarily by OU-COM and the Russ College of Engineering and Technology. 

The final report also recognized the substantial increase in research productivity by both preclinical and clinical faculty over the past few years, as measured by grant revenues, grant applications and publications.

Grant revenues for the 2006-2007 academic year totaled $3.2 million, including 41 external research grants of $1.8 million, and 38 external program grants of $1.2 million.

New research and program grant proposals totaled $28.2 million.  

The report concluded its commendation by praising OU-COM processes designed “to further increase the level of faculty research” such as the college’s Competitive Grant Program, which assists faculty in developing successful research grant proposals for the National Institutes of Health using constructive feedback from experts across the nation.


Commendations for diversity recruitment, financial literacy programs for students

The accreditation evaluation recognized OU-COM for its efforts to recruit minorities, for its diversity initiatives and for the dedication of the student affairs personnel.

The Office of Student Affairs’ financial literacy programs for students particularly impressed the accreditation team that visited campus. The office’s one-on-one financial aid counseling for students, debt management presentations and the Business of Medicine lecture series earned one of the college’s four commendations.

“Customer service is a top priority, and we are committed to providing service to the students,” said Pat Burnett, director of student affairs.

The Business of Medicine program was cited in the commendation, which noted that attendance at its regular lunchtime sessions often numbers more than 150 out of roughly 200 first- and second-year students. The report cited the variety of topics, including managing credit, budgeting, investing and planning for retirement, among other subjects.

The commission also commended OU-HOM for its commitment to expanding opportunities for populations underrepresented in the medical profession and for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. The hiring of an assistant director in admissions for diversity initiatives, efforts to recruit students from colleges and universities that traditionally serve minority students and the Summer Scholars and Post Baccalaureate programs were specifically cited in the final report.

The pipeline programs such as Summer Scholars advance the college’s diversity priority, while providing a boost for the students involved, according to Director of Admissions John Schriner.

“They help build their confidence and show OU-COM is a supporting environment to lead to their success,” he said.


Mock Accreditation proved beneficial; practice makes perfect

The college practiced for last fall’s commission visit with a mock accreditation drill, which Burnett and Schriner credited as beneficial.

Keith Watson, D.O, associate dean for graduate medical education, led the three-member team that conducted the mock accreditation practice. 

“We went to extreme measures to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s,” Watson said. “We worked hard to make sure things were letter perfect.”

Watson said the mock accreditation practice helped secure such positive results from the commission site visit.  

Brose praised the faculty and staff of the college for the outstanding accreditation evaluation.

“We have an outstanding faculty and staff,” Brose said. “Not only do they do things extremely well, they keep an eye on the educational requirements and compliance, and we go way beyond that as well.”

“The things we do, we do not do for a good accreditation, but to promote student learning and student success,” Brose said.

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Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
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Last updated: 01/28/2016