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MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) and College of Human Medicine (CHM): The Tale of the 2 Medical Schools on the Same Cam

Posted Mar 02 2011 8:01am
As UNTHSC leadership has been pushing for a new MD school (UNTMD) on its campus, which has already housed Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM), UNTHSC leadership usually refers to the model of Michigan State University (MSU), which houses both allopathic and osteopathic medical schools. UNTHSC administration believes the creation of UNTMD would enhance the stature of UNTHSC and TCOM.
Neither UNTHSC president Ransom nor UNT system leadership knows the reality of the   MSU model that they are about to embrace for their campus. Even though Dr. Ransom was working  in Michigan prior to his arrival to UNTHSC, Dr. Ransom was never involved in anyway with MSU. Let’s take a look if MSU-COM’s stature is enhanced by its association with its sister allopathic medical school (CHM). The College of Human Medicine was founded in 1964 as the first community-integrated medical school, which holds pre-clinical instructions (first and second year) on the main campus in Lansing and clinical education at seven distinct campuses: Lansing, Kalamazoo, Flint, Saginaw, Marquette, Traverse City, and Grand Rapids. The class size has been increasing from 100 students toward 200 students per class with the expansion of a new full-fledged medical school in Grand Rapids. The new medical school was just opened in August 2010 with the local community contributions of $90 million. Grand Rapids is among a few cities investing billions in healthcare industry that the New York Times titled its article: "Grand Rapids Lays Foundations for a Health Mecca."
The College of Osteopathic Medicine was founded in 1969 in Pontiac and was subsequently transferred to Lansing in 1971. It has always maintained a larger class size than its allopathic sister. The class size is increasing from 200 students to 300 students per class size with the recent expansion of 2 branch campuses in Detroit and Macomb. The students of COM and CHM in the first year share the same instructions in basic sciences and anatomy laboratory. Afterwards, they don’t have any shared instructions except on rare occasions of elective clerkships in the same facility. The COM students do their clinical training in community hospitals throughout Michigan. The 2 schools may have a few jointly administered departments or units such as Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Neurology and Ophthalmology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Physiology, Psychiatry, and Radiology. Otherwise, the 2 schools maintain distinct administrative structures and faculty. According to U.S. News & World Report, the College of Osteopathic Medicine (DO degree) ranked No.7 medical schools in the country for primary care and the College of Human Medicine (MD degree) has regularly ranked among the top twenty medical schools in the country for primary care. The good performance and standing of COM is thanks to the well-organized clinical training under the umbrella called Statewide Campus System (SCS). SCS was first established in 1989 with only 13 hospitals . Every year more allopathic hospitals want to be affiliated with the SCS because of the quality of its education and residents/students. Currently, SCS has 31 hospitals as members and more than 2715 available residency positions. About 80% of COM students have been consistently participating in AOA match throughout the years, which is the reflection of the excellence of MSU-COM’s education. SCS has become the clinical training sites for some osteopathic schools in the nation and thus attracted numerous DO graduates to do their residencies in Michigan. If Michigan can provide excellent quality in osteopathic training with its 6,300 DOs, Texas with 4,300 DOs should be able to DO the same. TCOM is already a premier medical school. Let’s not destroy it! Damage has been done to TCOM with the exodus of good professors and TCOM students’ board scores have dropped from the top to the second place.

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