Tag Archives: DCOM

They’re baaack!

28 Sep

Prospective students visiting DCOM for interviews listen ad Class of 2015 President Kirubakaran Sivagurunathan makes a presentation.

Walking through DCOM this morning, I passed the fishbowl (the first floor conference room with a glass wall) and spotted the black suits for the first time this year. It’s hard to see the black suits and not sense their excitement and nervousness.

 Twice a week from mid-September to mid-May, twelve fresh faces arrive in Harrogate, Tenn., for in-person interviews as part of the medical school application process. We call them the black suits, because most of them where black suits to their interviews.

 Every Tuesday and Wednesday, 12 DCOM hopefuls get a chance to see why at least thirteen people have applied for each and every seat since the school opened in 2007. Typically in a year, 500 black suits will filter through for interviews.


The official interview comes after the admissions committee reviews the applicant’s AACOMAS application, supplemental application and test scores. The personal interview itself is 30 minutes, long but interviewees go through a full day of programming.


Since the second class went through interviews, DCOM’s Student Osteopathic Medicine Association (SOMA) has sponsored an informal pizza night to give prospective students a chance to meet current students and ask a wide range of questions in a relaxed atmosphere.  Pizza night occurs the evening before the interviews. Often, attendance is determined by travel schedule as applicants travel from across the country to check out DCOM.


On the actual interview day, the black suits will be shuttled from hotels in Middlesboro to the LMU campus. One of the comments we often hear after interviews is how friendly and relaxed our process is. From the start, our visitors are welcomed into the LMU family whether they ultimately choose to attend DCOM or not. Our greatest ambassador is our shuttle driver, Bob Jackson. Bob has been with DCOM from the beginning, when he volunteered to help with whatever the medical school needed because he was proud of its mission and wanted to be a part of it. Bob picks the black suits up in the morning and helps them to relax on the short drive to campus. When their day is done, he picks them back up and gives them a quick driving tour of LMU and often visits some of the highlights in the area, like the Pinnacle in nearby Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.


The day officially gets underway with a welcome session conducted by the admissions staff. When he is in town, Dean Ray Stowers also makes a special point to welcome the black suits. The welcome session is followed by a financial aid overview as well as information about the preclinical and clinical curriculum from faculty. Next, the prospective students are interviewed in one on two sessions with faculty. The students will be paired with a DO and a PhD for the individual interviews. Current DCOM students also make a point to drop in and talk with interviewees while they wait for their time to interview.


Following the interviews, DCOM student ambassadors give tours of the building. The black suits are then joined by current students for a lunch in LMU’s dining hall. After lunch, Bob gives his tour and takes them back to the hotels.


The admissions committee typically meets on Thursdays, following the interview days. This helps the committee make decisions while the interviews are fresh in their minds. The admissions staff tries to have letters out no later than Monday of the next week, but it often depends on the Dean’s schedule as he has final say and review on all applicants. The letters can also be delayed, because Dean Stowers enjoys calling the accepted students personally to offer them a seat in the class.

White Coats & Tradition

21 Sep

As traditions go, 18 years is relatively new. That is exactly how long medical schools in America have been “coating” first year students in a ceremony that has become a rite of passage for medical student. The first White Coat Ceremony was held in 1993 at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and is now a standard ritual in medical schools across the country. During the Ceremony, each medical student is presented and “robed” with his or her short white laboratory coat, formalizing and welcoming the student’s entrance into the study of medicine.


Of course when you are talking about new traditions, it seems that is all that the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine has. Now in its fifth year and celebrating its fifth entering class, DCOM’s White Coat Ceremony, set for Saturday, will be steeped in the young traditions of the new school.


Traditions like a DCOM family barbeque in Democrat Hollow the evening before the ceremony. It’s the first opportunity for the extended family of the newest DCOMers to meet and mingle with faculty, staff and other families. A fresh take on the tradition this year is that the meal will be prepared by  Dean Ray Stowers and Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation/OPP and Assistant Vice President for Program Development Michael Wieting. The pair are certified barbeque judges and the “two Docs” of Two Docs Barbeque. They hosted a similar event during the Inaugural Class Commencement week.


Since the very first White Coat Ceremony in 2007, the Tennessee Osteopathic Medicine Association (TOMA) has provided the white coats for the students of Tennessee’s only osteopathic medical school. During the ceremony, a TOMA representative, usually the president of the organization, makes a presentation to the class. The students are actually “robed” by faculty representatives. Another DCOM tradition is closing with the Osteopathic Oath of Commitment — A pledge the students will also recite during commencement.


The White Coat Ceremony is an important rite of passage for new medical students. The white coat is another tool of the profession. Dr. Stowers said few new students really understand the confidence a white coat can instill in a patient.

Potato, “Patato”; Rondabout, Rotary!

4 Aug

It is hard to believe that there is a need from traffic calming on LMU’s quiet main campus in Harrogate, but that is the exact remedy the administration is implementing to slow down speed demons around campus.

The message was delivered in a post on pathway. Sections of the Mars-DeBusk Parkway would be closed for close to six weeks for “road repairs.” I thought it seemed simple enough. The section affected was on the DCOM hill between the medical school and the Business Education building. There was a pretty big dip there anyway, so surely they would just be addressing that.

After the first week of repairs it looked straightforward. The crews were digging up asphalt and dirt. There appeared to be some leveling going on, but nothing to draw suspicion. By week two, a clear circular shape could be seen.

Oh no, could that be a dreaded rotary?

A quick confession. I am a fairly average human being. I’m neither short nor tall; strikingly beautiful nor frighteningly unattractive; overly intelligent nor dunce; giftedly athletic nor tragically uncoordinated. I am pretty average in all that I do (except baking… I rock a mean chocolate chip cookie), especially driving. But nothing freaks me out on the road more than approaching a rotary or Jersey wall.

Every year my husband and I pack up our family and make the 12-hour journey to my hometown in Marcellus, N.Y. (a small village outside of Syracuse if you’ve never heard of it). The husband cracks up once we cross into Pennsylvania because I instantly grip the wheel a little tighter, sit up a little straighter and the stress becomes visible on my face. If you have ever driven through Pennsylvania, you know there is going to be construction and its going to involve Jersey walls at some point.

The second most frightening thing to me on the road is a rotary. Now rotaries, much like soda (pop, coke, soda-pop), are known by different names in virtually every part of the country. In  the Northeast and especially Massachusetts they call them rotaries. In England they are known as roundabouts. They are also called traffic calming circles or just traffic circles. I just call them scary.

The concept is pretty easy. Traffic is merged into a circular intersection in which it travels in one direction around a central island. Multiple exit points exist and the confusion comes when you consider every traffic circle, rotary or what-hav- you can play by different rules. In some countries, for instance, traffic entering the circle has the right-of-way and drivers in the circle must yield. In many other countries, it is the traffic entering the circle that must yield.

To add more heat to the issue, though most people use roundabout and traffic circle or rotary interchangeably, U.S. traffic engineers make the distinction that in a roundabout entering traffic must always yield and in a traffic circle entering traffic is controlled by stop signs, traffic signals or is not formally controlled. 

In theory it is more efficient than traffic lights and stops signs because it keeps everyone moving. My irrational fear of rotaries and roundabouts comes from a bad experience as a passenger when the vehicle I was traveling in got stuck in the wrong lane of a multi-lane rotary. Picture a National Lampoon-esque experience like when Clark Griswald drives his family endlessly around the busy Lambeth Bridgeroundabout for hours.

"Look kids it's Big Ben."


The LMU traffic circle, I am told, is going to be a true roundabout, where traffic in the circle will have the right-of-way. The circular intersection will address speed and safety issues on the DCOM hill. The intersection will merge traffic from the Business Education building and the Tex Turner Arena on to the stretch of Mars-DeBusk Parkway that leads to the main DCOM exit and traffic light on highway 25E. It should be ready by the time our undergraduate students head back to class on August 23.

Maybe by then I will have the courage to conquer my fears. After all this is just the right proactive step to easing what is sure to be an increasingly busy thoroughfare once the new Math and Science building is complete.  Besides, I’ve got to be the only one on campus with this irrational rotary-phobia. We all have to have patience for progress.

LMU-DCOM Welcomes Class of 2015

26 Jul

Assistant Director of Financial Aid Amy Arnold helps register the Class of 2015.

Around this time about five years ago, there was a clocking ticking down to the opening of the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine. As the days, hours, minutes and seconds ticked by, the excitement on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University grew. Ushering in the Inaugural Class was a milestone for the University and there was a sense of achievement for everyone involved.

Today, LMU-DCOM opened its doors to 162 new students. There was no clock ticking down. The excitement level for the campus as a whole was considerably less. After five years, welcoming a new class of osteopathic medical students to campus is routine. However, there was no mistaking the crackle of excitement the reverberated throughout the auditorium as the LMU-DCOM Class of 2015 waited to take the giant leap into medical school.

Members of the Class of 2015 listen as Dean Ray E. Stowers welcomes them to LMU-Debusk College of Osteopathic Medicine.

As Dean Ray Stowers addressed the class he reminded them that they had already accomplished so much, just by being there. He said less than one tenth of one percent of students who graduate high school and enter college actually make it to medical school. That accomplishment is a credit to the students’ commitment to their education and their family and friends support.

LMU President Jim Dawson and Chairman of the Board Autry O.V. “Pete” DeBusk also welcomed the students this morning. There were 2,849 applications, or 17 for every one seat, for a spot in the class. The chosen 162 hail from across the country. Seventy-eight are native to the immediate tri-state region of Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia, accounting for 48% of the class. The class is 47.5% male and 52.5% female.

LMU Chairman Pete DeBusk welcomes students during LMU-DCOM Orientation.

LMU-DCOM’s fifth class of students will spend most of this week in orientation. Today, most of the housekeeping items were checked off the orientation list with forms filled out, ID badges made, parking stickers distributed and financial aid information presented. Spouses of osteopathic medical students were included in the day’s activities. The Student Advocate Association, a spouse and significant other support group, presented its own orientation for spouses in the afternoon. As the week progresses, the Class of 2015 will receive training on the tablet computers each student is issued upon matriculation and meet with faculty advisors. The first anatomy class will be held on Friday.

The excitement will wear off as the Class of 2015 progress into its studies, but the sense of their accomplishment should never go away.