Forward-Thinking Curriculum

For more than 40 years, WVSOM’s approach to an osteopathic medical education has been honed to a methodical, comprehensive path that includes classroom instruction by experts in their field, extensive simulator-based diagnostic instruction, standardized patient experiences, and two years of personal instruction and mentoring through Statewide Campus rotations. All facets of your medical education are focused to prepare you for a life of rewarding, patient-centered care in primary and specialized fields of practice.

The WVSOM Curriculum Advantage

WVSOM presents a contemporary, clinically integrated medical curriculum. In the first two years, students are exposed to a variety of learning modes, including small group case presentations, lectures and laboratory experiences, and interactions with standardized patients and mannequin simulators. The first year program encompasses foundation courses in the basic sciences, including histology, genetics, biochemistry, physiology, microanatomy, pathology, pharmacology, immunology, neuroscience, behavioral medicine, nutrition, geriatrics, clinical skills and osteopathic manipulative medicine.

First and Second Years: Patient Presentation Curriculum (PPC)

WVSOM's PPC uses the most common ways patients present to a physician to form the framework around which the curricular content is taught.

Throughout the first two years, the PPC uses small and large group activities such as flipped classrooms and team-based learning to supplement lectures and labs. The team-based learning and 22 human patient simulators complement the standardized patient labs and electronic health record training that all occur in WVSOM's Clinical Evaluation Center (CEC).

First- and second-year students excel when they utilize the CEC, where they train with standardized patients and human patient simulators. Beyond basic history and physical skills, their simulator experiences in the CEC include delivering babies, inserting central lines, using ultrasound technology or managing emergency situations. Students indicate they want to spend more time in these labs.

The WVSOM Osteopathic Principles and Practice department continues to provide students with a strong program, which includes the Student Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) clinic.

This experience allows students to practice their diagnosis and clinical hands-on skills on patients who are referred by local physicians.

Third and Fourth Years: Statewide Campus

In the third and fourth year, students are assigned to one of six regions in the state where 22 hospitals serve as base sites for their medical education. Additionally, 38 other hospitals in the region serve as training sites for third- and fourth-year students.

Within the Statewide Campus, students fulfill the majority of their core clinical rotations that include eight weeks each of family medicine and internal medicine plus four weeks each of general surgery, psychiatry, pediatrics, OB-GYN and emergency medicine.

During this time, WVSOM's Rural Health Initiative provides students interested in rural medicine the chance to enhance and expand their rural rotation experiences. Students take advantage of international experiences through clubs and elective rotations.

In the fourth year, students are required to complete rotations of eight weeks each in surgery, internal medicine and family medicine. Additionally, students must complete four weeks of pediatrics and 10 weeks of electives.

The fourth year may be completed at their current Statewide Campus site, another SWC site or at an approved site of their choosing


Your Education - Our Top Priority

At WVSOM, our faculty is dedicated to our principal mission: educating osteopathic students in all areas of medicine. Because we are a free standing medical school—not part of a larger university—our faculty of nationally and internationally recognized Ph.D.s, D.O.s, and M.D.s are free to focus on the education of our students. Their passion for teaching and commitment to lifelong learning are the hallmarks of a WVSOM medical education.

Students at WVSOM have unprecedented access to consult with professors on an individual basis beyond the classroom setting. Open office hours, combined with the fact that most faculty members live in close proximity to campus, ensures that instructors are not just available, but eager to address your questions or concerns one-on-one. Teaching is our primary objective, and we understand that learning often happens outside of scheduled class time. We're here when you need us.

Learning Resources - The WVSOM Library

Our modern facility provides comfortable space for individual and group study, a computer lab, a conference room, and an osteopathic history collection that includes a unique index of over 23,000 osteopathic articles. Electronic resources supplement print items, and provide both on-campus and remote access to more than 8,000 e-journals, several hundred e-books, and medical databases such as "Up-to-Date", an evidence based and peer reviewed information resource and M.D. Consult, an authoritative online resource that provides medical e-books, online journals, clinical reports, and patient handouts.

Mannequin Simulators, Technology & You

At WVSOM, we recognize the importance of being in the forefront of medical education. This is why technology plays an integral role in our curriculum. First year students receive a fully equipped laptop computer to utilize during their four years of study. Wireless internet services envelop the entire campus, ensuring students 24/7 access to research resources, course materials and a global communications network. 

At our Clinical Evaluation Center, students utilize human mannequin simulators to confront and treat real world patient situations in a safe, controlled clinical training environment. Underneath these mannequins' life-like exterior is a maze of wires and computer gadgetry that allows them to be programed with unlimited medical conditions and scenarios. Not only are medical students able to train and administer medical procedures on these mannequin simulators, they also receive immediate feedback. Currently, our Clinical Evaluation Center is home to 24 mannequin simulators, including male and female adults, children, newborns and one that simulates delivery of a baby.

Early Clinical Patient Contact

At WVSOM, exposure to the clinical environment begins immediately in your first year with physician shadowing at the Robert C. Byrd Clinic—WVSOM's on campus health clinic. Working alongside practicing physicians, students learn to take a medical history, perform a physical exam, suture wounds, apply and remove casts, scrub for surgical procedures, administer injections and numerous other clinical experiences. This early exposure allows students to develop the clinical skills and caring bedside manner they will need in the more intensive clinical rotations in the third and fourth years.