The WVSOM curriculum is carefully constructed to thoroughly prepare its graduates for practice in any setting. However, the WVSOM educational program is tailored to train osteopathic physicians for practicing primary care medicine in rural settings.

The four-year program at WVSOM emphasizes basic and clinical sciences, training in hospital and primary care clinical settings and extensive training in diagnostic skills including early clinical experiences. Students are prepared for the challenges of rural practice through family medicine clerkships in rural areas.

The common thread of osteopathic manipulative medicine ties together all elements of WVSOM's curriculum.

WVSOM  began offering a new preclinical curriculum in August 2012 for Year 1 students and in August 2013 for Year 2 students, referred to as the Patient Presentation Curriculum (PPC).

Years 1 & 2 (Pre-Clinical)

Patient Presentation Curriculum (PPC)

  • Lectures, labs, team-based learning, standardized patients and robot simulators are all used as methods of presentation.
  • Topics include basic medical and clinical sciences integrated into the context of physician/patient interactions.
  • Courses focus on the most common ways patients present to a physician.
  • Osteopathic manipulative medicine is integrated with basic and clinical sciences.
  • Clinical skills such as communications, physical diagnosis, physician skills, etc. are incorporated throughout the program.

Years 3 & 4 (Pre-Doctoral)

Clinical training at statewide campus

Patient Presentation Curriculum

The PPC is based on the most common ways patients present to a physician. These presentations provide the framework for the Year 1 and 2 curricular structure. The Year 1 curriculum begins with a foundation course to provide basic mechanisms needed to understand the subsequent patient presentations and treatments.

The year continues with relatively simple presentations organized by organ systems. Second-year presentations become progressively more complex and incorporate previous presentations to form a spiral curriculum that reinforces and builds on previous learning. Concurrent with the patient presentation courses, Clinical Skills and Osteopathic Principles and Practice (OPP) courses are offered in which students learn basic skills essential for an osteopathic physician.

Throughout the curriculum, the seven osteopathic competencies and clinical reasoning skills are incorporated. The curriculum continues in Years 3 and 4 with clinical training at Statewide Campus sites.

Early Clinical Exposure

Some clinical training is conducted during the preclinical years. Introduction to the clinical aspects of preclinical sciences occurs early in the student's studies, in the correlated organ systems instruction.

Under the supervision of campus clinical faculty and physicians at nearby hospitals, rural clinics, nursing homes and public health sites, students learn practical clinical procedures, such as CPR, blood drawing, office laboratory procedures, observation of patient care, introduction to the hospital, geriatrics and community medicine.

The essence of clinical training has been said to be "experience with graduated responsibility." The first clinical rotation is an eight-week preceptorship with a primary care physician.

It is during this training period in a family physician's office that the student develops the basic skills necessary for the conduct of the practice of osteopathic medicine.

This course serves as the foundation for all future clinical rotations. Concentrated clinical training is then initiated in the third year and continues until graduation.