While universities throughout the country struggle to move from an in-person teaching curriculum to online, one medical institution has already set the foundation for flexible and adaptable training if future shutdowns are required.
Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine (Noorda-COM) is located in Provo, Utah and will welcome their inaugural class in August 2021.
Within their college is state of the art equipment, software and simulation facilities that include a hospital suite with trauma bay, operating room, hospital-type wards and emergency rooms.
But with foresight and strategic planning, founding Dean and Chief Academic Officer Dr. John Dougherty mapped a learning atmosphere that allowed ample space and virtual instruction, avoiding an archaic setting that used to comprise of theater seating for hours on end.
Small group instruction for intra-operative surgical demonstrations, for example, is rare in many medical/osteopathic school settings due to lack of adequate space and staffing.
However Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine focuses on an integration of technology with directed personal guidance. According to their website, there will be “No scheduled classes and no large classroom lectures. The heart of our curriculum is faculty pre-recorded, short video segments (3 to 7 minutes) covering defined learning objectives. Students engage with core content in small groups (3-8 people) in on-campus learning pods collaboratively accomplishing required content. Groups are able to schedule their own learning times, leading to a great degree of flexibility for the student.
Moreover on site “learning pods” allow a highly conducive study environment for a student who struggles to academically flourish in a busy off-campus apartment commonly inhabited by noisy roommates.
When asked how a college such as Noorda-COM is prepared for unpredictable times such as the current COVID pandemic, Dean Dougherty stated, “Our disruptively innovative curricular model would be minimally impacted by social distancing restrictions while maintaining an exceptional educational experience.”
Training institutions, such as those in the healthcare field, are not afforded the opportunity to postpone education during pandemics, hence medical schools need to adapt and continue to prepare the next generation of health care providers. Those who struggle may need to look to schools such as Noorda-COM on how to execute this.
Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.