Tag Archives: DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine

Did you know, DCOM is not LMU’s first medical school?

4 Oct

It’s been about six years since LMU first announced its plans to pursue what is know the LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine.  I still remember one of the most interesting tidbits about the University that was unearthed in the planning for the announcement was the historical timeline for the first medical school run by LMU.

I was reminded of that history recently, when Oliver Springs native Dean Ford contacted me. Ford, who had no connection to LMU, purchased a lot of frames at an auction years ago. He said he assumed they were all blank and never went through them all. When he finally did, years later, he found a large diploma from the Medical College of Lincoln Memorial University for one Dr. Stanley Nease. The diploma was dated 1915, which would make it one of the last class years to graduate from the Medical College of Lincoln Memorial University.

The Medical Department of LMU in Knoxville, Tenn. circa 1905.

The school  dates back even earlier than LMU as it was founded in 1889 as the Tennessee Medical College. It was a private medical college located in Knoxville, Tenn. It was one of 133 medical schools in operation in the United States by 1890. Following a period of time, the school fell on hard times financially and started looking to align itself with larger schools. TMC approached LMU with an articulation agreement to make TMC the Medical Department of LMU in 1905. A contract was affirmed and ratified in 1906. By 1909, TMC was sold to LMU and became the Medical College of LMU.

The Operating room of Lincoln Memorial Hospital.

The financial troubles continued and by 1914, LMU’s board arranged for the sale of the school building and associated hospital. It concluded operation at the end of the school year and made arrangements for its students to complete their coursework elsewhere. Dr. Nease was among those who completed their degrees after the school was shuttered. Included in the back of the frame Ford found was a letter from the University of Tennessee certifying that Nease had in fact completed his studies.

Dean Ford presents Stanley Nease's diploma to Senior Director of Marketing and Public Relations Kate Reagan.

After his discovery, Ford tried to find a living relative of Dr. Nease to give the diploma to. After a exhaustive search, he contacted his friend John Rice Irwin, the founder of the Museum of Appalachia, to see if he would be interested in adding the diploma to the museum’s collection. Irwin, a longtime friend of LMU, referred Ford to the University and last week I met him at the LMU-Cedar Bluff Extended Learning Site. He generously gave LMU the diploma, which is nearing 100 years old. It had been damaged by water and time.

 I turned the Nease diploma over to University Archivist Michelle Ganz. She indicated that the document was likely beyond repair for display, but it was still an important piece of LMU history that would be saved in our collection. When she returned to the archives she discovered that our collection already boasted several duplicate diplomas or diplomas that were never picked up from the Medical College at LMU from that time period.

My newest project will be to take one or two from the archives and prepare them for exhibit at LMU-DCOM. On the heels of the Inaugural Class graduation in May, I think it would be great to display one of the first LMU-DCOM diplomas alongside one of the last Medical College at LMU diplomas.

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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.

Six years & six memorable moments!

15 Sep

Happy Anniversary to me! Six years ago today, I started work at Lincoln Memorial University. It was a glorious day for sure. Not only, did I get to come back to higher education, I managed to stay off unemployment after my last employer was bought out. In honor of my six fun-filled years in Harrogate, I have come up with a list of the six most important or memorable moments since I joined the LMU family.

 

                6.  Ribbon Cutting & Grand Opening celebration at LMU-Cedar Bluff (June 17, 2010)

LMU-Cedar Bluff Ribbon Cutting

The University had outgrown its former West Knoxville Extended Learning Site on Hayfield road. Home to the MBA program and graduate education classes, the facility was at capacity and the University was looking to expand its offerings in Knoxville. For months LMU Chairman Pete DeBusk and President Jim Dawson scoured the area for space. The pair kept coming back to a then-vacant former Food Lion location in the Cedar Bluff area. The lease deal became final in January of 2010 and the construction team immediately got to work with the goal of having the facility ready for fall classes.

                The timeline accelerated after it became apparent that the facility would be needed for summer classes. This also meant marketing the new facility and programs would need to be bumped up as well. Pulled together in less than two months, the Ribbon Cutting & Grand Opening kicked off the campaign. Once we started an award-winning advertising campaign promoting the event, the nail biting started as it wasn’t 100% that the facility would be ready on time. Thankfully, all was well that ended well and the day went off without a hitch. Hundreds of people streamed through the open house and now almost a year and a half later the site is a vibrant hub of activity.

                5. COM Announcement (January 18, 2006)

  

LMU Chairman Pete DeBusk announces plans to bring a College of Osteopathic Medicine to LMU

              The day that LMU announced its intent to pursue a College of Osteopathic Medicine was an important day for the University, but it was memorable to me as an early test in a new position. Though I had been on the job for four months, it was the first time my writing was really scrutinized. I think we rewrote the press release nearly fifty times and it was frustrating. In the end the announcement was made to a full crowd of media, alumni, local politicians and guests. The press release was pitch-perfect. As much as I stressed about the press release and questioned if I was good enough for the big job I had taken, the day was pretty enjoyable. Though the thought of a medical school on campus was very exciting, the idea of it was pale in comparison to the reality that is now the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine

                4. DSOL Naming (March 27, 2009)

 

The Duncan School of Law Seal

               In February of 2008, University officials signed a lease to take over the occupancy of one of Knoxville’s most historic buildings, Old City Hall. At that time the University didn’t have specific plans for what it would put in the building, though the idea of a law school had been floated. By March 27, 2009, LMU had renovated the facility, received Sothern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and Tennessee Board of Law Examiners approval for a School of Law and hired a dean for its new school. What it hadn’t done was announce publicly the name for the new venture. After months of careful planning, a press conference and reception was held on site. It was the public’s first opportunity to see the multi-million dollar renovation of Old City Hall. Once again, it was an event that I spent a lot of time planning and stressing over. When the day arrived I panicked as the new sign for the school was delivered and installed early in the morning. As the sign was hoisted into its position the covering flew off allowing the morning rush hour traffic at Summit Hill and Henley to see what in a few short hours we intended to announce, that the law school was being named in honor of Congressman Jimmy Duncan. I can still picture myself stomping out to the installation team demanding them to cover the sign. Surely, we couldn’t have our guests driving past a sign declaring the very thing that we had invited them there to announce. Thankfully, a new cover was found. Again, the announcement was made without a hitch and the event was beautiful. Congressman Duncan’s wife, Lynn, went to special lengths to invite many of her husband’s congressional colleagues to be on hand for the announcement.  The surprise guests made the day all the more special.

                3. The Arrival of Amy Drittler (September 5, 2006)

                In my first year on the job it was not unusual for me to be at the office by 6:30 a.m. and work until 6:30 p.m. There were at least six months between the time that my predecessor left and I started at LMU. Catching up and getting a feel for what needed to be done was overwhelming. Handling all the marketing and public relations for the University, which was just 2,802 students strong in 2005, was a big job and I was determined to prove myself. Then at the turn of the new budget cycle, my boss told me that we would be hiring someone to handle the public relations and marketing for the then “proposed College of Osteopathic Medicine.” Prayers had been answered, I was getting help. Unfortunately the search process took another three months.

                My savior, Amy Drittler, started on September 5, 2006. In 2006 the University had under-3,000 students, the medical school had not opened and the school of law wasn’t even a glimmer in the administration’s eye. In the five years that we have been a team, the University has grown rapidly. The PR and Marketing department on the other hand, remains a team of two. As much as we have grown, learned and gained valuable experience from our hard work, I think we would both agree that our friendship has been the grand prize.

                2. DCOM Inaugural Class Graduation (May 14, 2011)

The LMU-DCOM Class of 2011

                The DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine has been the catalyst for LMU’s rapid growth.  I’m not sure event Pete DeBusk would have predicted how much the medical school would change not only LMU, but the surrounding community. Having been there from the very first announcement, the inaugural commencement ceremony was special to witness. From the initial announcement, to the groundbreaking, to the entrance of the first class, I had had been a part of many milestones for the institution, but no one was more poignant that watching that first graduate go up the steps a student and come down on the other side as a DOctor.

                1. The First Remote Area Medical Clinic (August 19 & 20, 2006)

People lined up for the first LMU Remote Area Medical Clinic

WOW! What a weekend. It is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. The experience truly changed me. The whole RAM saga started when my boss invited me to join her for meeting about “something health related.” It turned out to be the start of a movement at LMU. The Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corp. provided a wide range of free basic health, dental and optical services to the people of Southwest Virginia, Eastern Kentucky and Northeast Tennessee. At the time the Knoxville-based organization kept thing fairly local, though they now travel across the country and around the world. In this instance they were looking to fill a whole in their schedule. The good news was that LMU could do it. The bad news was we had less than three months to pull everything together. A host of issues compounded matters and in the end I went from attending a meeting to coordinating the entire event. When the weekend arrived we didn’t know what to expect. By the time the doors opened at 6:30 a.m. more than 200 people were waiting in line for the free services. All told, LMU and RAM served over 500 people and provided services in excess of $100,000 to people who may otherwise have not been able to pursue care. Additionally the expedition provided veterinary services to 231 animals. The people we served were so grateful for the services it was overwhelming to be a part of such good works. The University’s mission was so in line with the RAM mission, that we have made in annual event.

               

 

We’re #2!

18 Aug

During the last test cycle (April to June 2011) for the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board Certification (BOC) 92 universities had medical technology graduates take the exam. Guess where the LMU program was ranked among the 92? Well, if you read the headline you already know the answer to the question so it’s not much of a game. But nevertheless, the Lincoln Memorial University Medical Technology graduates tied for the second highest pass rate in terms of highest composite score. Yep WE’RE #2!! And that is not #2 in the region or #2 in Tennessee; that is #2 in all of the U.S. of A!

Even more impressive is the fact that the LMU Medical Technology Program has had a 100% pass rate on the ASCP BOC dating back to 2005. If you’re math-challenged, that is six straight years of perfect pass rates.

The Class of 2011 composite class average of 648 bested the national average of 408 by 140 points. A minimum of 400 points is needed to pass the exam. The highest score recorded by a member of the LMU Class of 2011 was 748, a new program record.

LMU Medical Technology Class of 2011 Front row (L-R): Selena Long, Shasta Stewart, Jessica Colont, Adam Price and Derek Richards. Back row (L-R): Dr. Mark Camblin, adjunct faculty member in the LMU Medical Technology Program, Kenny Nicley, Brittany Cox, Breanna Felton, Dr. Bill Engle, director of the LMU Medical Technology Program and Steve Edwards, clinical supervisor of the LMU Medical Technology program.

So sure, the Class of 2011 did really good on this test, but I’m sure some of you are wondering, what is medical technology? And what do you do with a medical technology degree? A medical technology degree will prepare you for a career as a clinical laboratory scientist performing and interpreting a wide variety of tests–from simple blood glucose checks to more complex analysis necessary for diagnosing and treating pathological states.  Still not sure what I’m talking about? Think of any medical drama on TV when an attending tells a resident to run another panel or asks for pathology results or looks at a patient’s chart for a nutrient level. In the real world, those findings come from a lab which is run by medical technology graduates.

 

LMU Medical Technology Graduate and third year osteopathic medical student Souleymane Diallo.

Not all med tech grads end up in the lab. The Medical Technology Program is one program within LMU’s Division of Health Sciences and is one of many health professions programs at LMU aimed at easing the looming medical crisis in Appalachia’s medically underserved region. The curriculum of a medical technology program prepares its graduates for the rigors of post graduate medical education including medical school or physician assistant programs. The program also serves as a feeder of sorts for the LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine and the LMU-DCOM Physician Assistant program. Several LMU Med Tech graduates are currently pursuing advanced degrees in both programs. For example, Souleymane Diallo, a 2009 graduate, is currently a third-year osteopathic medical student at LMU-DCOM.  While at LMU-DCOM he has picked up back-to-back student of the year awards.

 

 I have already covered the outstanding job prospects for physician assistant graduates (https://abesquare.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/degree-job-there-is-no-sure-bet-but-this-one-is-close). Medical technology graduates can expect similar opportunities. Though the shortage of trained and qualified laboratory technologists and technicians can put patients’ lives at risk just like the shortages of primary care physicians and nurses, it has not gained as much attention. In the state of Tennessee, LMU is just one of only five accredited medical technology programs. LMU Program Director Bill Engle said that lab managers in the region rely on LMU graduates to staff their labs and that graduates have as many as six job offers before and immediately following graduation.

Did I mention that LMU has an excellent Medical Technology Program?

Math and Science, but that is not all.

3 Aug

The sound of heavy equipment operating on the campus of LMU is nothing new.  The beep, beep, beep of dump trucks backing up often slices through a serene morning. It seems there has been at least one active building site on campus since the Pope, Mitchell and Dishner residence halls were constructed in 2004.

Not merely an illusion, the University has been moving mountains, pushing dirt and preparing sites for the past six years. The Knoxville News Sentinel (http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2011/aug/01/powered-by-local-businessman-lincoln-memorial/) has pointed out the University’s business savvy in keeping the heavy equipment on campus busy with future plans. It has also come in handy once projects finally get off the ground. An example of that would be the three new residence halls that are now under construction. Just weeks ago there was no activity on the site, which was prepared during the construction of the initial two residence halls, Langley and Shelton Halls. Today, the footers of the three new halls have been poured and a crew is busy laying each foundation.

I often tell people who ask about our rapid expansion that “when we move, we move quickly.” For everyone who was on campus during the building of the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (DCOM) in 2006-07, that was certainly the case. Of course, with a class of eager medical students ready to start in July of 2007, we didn’t have much choice.

The construction of the Math and Science building has been a little less frantic. The build has been planned to take 18 months with an occupancy goal of next summer and classes beginning in the Fall of 2012.

Rendering of the LMU Math and Science Building currently under construction.

Since the initial planning phase for the $24 million building, the goal to create a state-of-the-art learning facility for math and science curriculums has been paramount. The new building will contain an impressive amount of undergraduate laboratory space, accommodating biology, chemistry, physics and even athletic training lab classes. In addition to multiple smaller auditoria, the building will boast LMU’s largest lecture hall, a state-of-the-art learning facility that can accommodate up to 400 students. A large student lounge will be at the ready not only for student’s leisure time, but for campus events as well. The facility promises to be the most advanced undergraduate science facility in the immediate region.

 However, it would be a mistake to leave it at undergraduate math and science. The massive four-story building will be 120,000 square feet -to give you some prospective LMU’s largest building, DCOM, is 105,000 square feet.

With all of this room, the building will become a hub for all of the health professions and sciences on campus.  Indeed, the Caylor School of Nursing is slated to move in along with the Post-baccalaureate Medical Science Program and the proposed College of Veterinary and Comparative Medicine. Additionally, among the labs installed will be a much larger anatomy lab for use by the DO and PA programs. The new lab will be a suite of four individual anatomy labs to accommodate multiple classes at any one time, and will at least quadruple the anatomy capacity of the current DCOM building. And let’s not forget research space. Plans also include plenty of research space, including a microscopy lab.

With nearly a full year of construction ahead, the facility is already taking shape as the roof structure is beginning to be put into place and brick has started to adorn the exterior.  Covering math, science, nursing, osteopathic medicine and veterinary medicine, it is easy to say this building is going to have everything but the kitchen sink, although it is sure to have plenty of those too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video Break: I am a…

31 Jul

Check out the latest TV ad campaign for LMU.