Posted in Education, Health, medical school, news

New Medical School May Be The Barometer of COVID And Post-COVID Era Training

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.

Noorda-COM “learning pod”

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.

Posted in Education, medical school, news, osteopathic school, students

Didn’t Match Into Residency? Your Next Steps……

“Match Week” in March of every year is like a medical/osteopathic school lottery. Thousands of students hope to get accepted into a residency and if they don’t, they use this week to apply again or “scramble” into open spots that might not have been filled.

Interview Tips for Residency Programs

Many of these applicants have fantastic CV’s or resumes, but might not have matched because they applied to programs who were highly competitive, or chose a specialty that did not have enough spots (too much demand and not enough supply).

So many other students may find themselves in the Spring without an internship or residency, feeling lost and scared about what the future may bring. If you’re one of them, realize you have options. Here are your next steps….

Keep searching for new and open spots!!!

Sites such as the NRMP and Resident Swap post the latest spots that open. Residency spots can be open post-match for any of the following reasons:

  • Some programs still have spots that did not fill
  • Some students may have extenuating circumstances that caused them to abandon a position they received during match
  • Some are new programs who just received accreditation
Image from Residency Swap

Check for openings daily!!!!

Boost your resume

While you are searching and waiting for new spots to become available you can spend the time you have doing the following:

  • Edit and improve your personal statement, MSPE characteristics, CV, etc.
  • Do research – many projects can be accomplished in a short amount of time and very meaningful
  • Do community service – again there are multiple meaningful projects that can be done that don’t require huge time commitments
  • If you had low board scores, consider retaking one of them

Consider taking Step III or Level III of your boards

Many residencies might not have chosen you because they thought you would score low on the boards. If you need to reapply next year and already have a “Pass” for your third set of boards, that issue becomes a non-issue and you become a highly competitive applicant. This may not be an option for all students, but is worth looking into.

In short, you are not alone. Hundreds of students don’t match and multiple programs fail to fill each year. And as new residencies are born each year, their timeline on accreditation or opening may differ from the rest allowing you the opportunity to apply and secure a spot in April, May and June. Don’t give up hope! You graduated medical/osteopathic school. Now let’s get you a job!!!

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in coronavirus, Covid-19, Graduation, Health, news

Graduation Cancelled? Here’s A Few Options

As the coronavirus epidemic grips the country, institutions have been preemptively cancelling events that would bring crowds of more than 250 together. But students have worked their whole academic careers for this moment where they, in front of their loved ones, receive the honor and acknowledgement that they are joining the ranks of others who hold similar diplomas/degrees.




So in the face of a virus that has the potential to infect others within feet of eachother, how do we prevent it from crippling one of the most revered ceremonies in one’s lifetime?

To the Class of 2020: Dear Graduates…..

Here’s a few options…….

The pomp and circumstance of graduation ceremonies requiring an audience of hundreds is not always necessary. Most graduates, although grateful for the ceremony, want to receive their diploma relatively quickly and then celebrate with friends and family.  Family want to see their loved one receive their diploma and capture it on film.




So assuming the city in which the graduation is taking place bans gatherings no less than 10 people and all family members are negative for COVID, or not eliciting coronavirus symptoms or classified as “high risk“, each student could essentially have their own mini ceremony.


graduation done.jpg

Choose an area outdoors and schedule students to receive their diploma in front of their close family (with whom they have already been in isolation) with the background and decor within the video frame.  Students can be scheduled 15 minutes apart, with they and their families awaiting in their vehicle for a text when it’s their turn.

The faculty could appear first on film explaining the diploma.  If person-to-person contact is to be avoided, it can be set on a stand (with gloved hands) by which the student walks over to the stand as the faculty leaves and picks it up. Family with whom the student has been with throughout the lockdown can stand next to their graduate for the proud moment.



If hooding is required for a medical/osteopathic ceremony, this could be done masked, or similarly with the hood being on the table and a family member putting it on their graduate.

For the average class size a few days to a week could probably capture all of their happy and proud moments. And for a university, individual colleges can separate and hold events of their own to honor each graduate.



Each video can be posted online so other students can see their colleagues reach their milestone as well.

Another option is let the students have access to their cap and gown, obtain their diploma holder (which never has the true diploma in it during the ceremony anyway) and allow them to video tape their own creative way of obtaining their degree……hiking up a mountain, digging in the sand, scubadiving, etc.  We “coronials” can be awfully creative!

Allow students access to their CAP and GOWN to make GRAD memories

The graduation is one of the brightest and happiest moments in one’s lifetime. We sure could use a little of that ray of light right about now……




ultimate book cover final

Great Gift!!!

The Ultimate Medical Student HandBook


Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in COMLEX 2 PE, Education, Health, medical school, news

Failed Your COMLEX 2 PE/Step 2 CS? Here Are Your Next Steps…..

Image above from Riverside Community College District


Failing an exam is not easy, especially if it’s one of your boards.  However, these tests have been failed many times before by multiple students who go on and become very successful in their field.  So what do you do when you get the crushing news?  We take it step by step…..

COMLEX 2 PE Failures: Your Questions Answered


Know You’re Not Alone

Considering the countless exams you’ve taken throughout your schooling, you’re sure to wind up stumbling on a few.  And none of the boards have a 100% pass rate. So there are numerous students right now in your same shoes.  The majority of them succeed on their next attempt so odds are in your favor.  Failing a set of boards should never stop your path of becoming a physician, because odds are you will succeed next time around.


Data Gathering Prep Guide For The Boards

Data Gathering Prep Guide For The Boards


Expect to Go Through the Five Stages of Grief

As soon as you receive the failing grade you will immediately be in a state of denial.  As described above you will also feel isolated, but remember, you’re not alone.  Then you’ll become angry that a testing service or grader thought you were not worthy to become a doctor.  You’ll learn that’s not the case but it will still ruin your day, week, or month nonetheless.

Next you may go through a period of bargaining, thinking you could reach out to the testing center to appeal the grade, or pray the grade away, and when the score doesn’t change, you may fall into a depression. Finally you realize the grade is here to stay and you reach acceptance, which is a good sign and necessary to recover and eventually succeed.  Once you’ve accepted what has happened you can start planning how to rectify the situation.

Many students feel they shouldn’t go through the above stages, but how else will you begin to heal from a such a traumatizing incident?  Which brings us to….


Take a Moment for Yourself

Being told you fail a test hurts, and you’ll want to scream or cry. That’s normal, being you busted your butt in school for years and an exam is trying to get in your way of you reaching your goal.  But when we fall we need to get back up and brush ourselves off.   The most satisfying thing you can do at this stage is prove the testing centers wrong by passing it the next time around.  Remember you are in your final years of medical school and you overcame much bigger obstacles than this.   You got this. So now what do you do next…..


Notify Your School Immediately

Some programs are made aware of a time frame in which test scores come out but may not know what exact day scores are released.  So if you failed and are expecting to hear from them checking in on you, don’t. Reach out to them first but realize that not hearing from your medical school is not a sign of indifference.  Once they know you failed they can start setting up a remediation program if they have one or get you in touch with valuable resources.


humanism book cover final

Humanism Prep Guide For the Boards


Be Open To Criticism and New Instruction

Medical students are told their whole life how “smart” they are so we sometimes persist in the disbelief that we failed a test. However, if you failed, chances are you did something wrong.  So take instruction and learn from it.  Even if other doctors in your clinical rotations have taught you differently, those professors in your institution who understand the boards will have insight to help you pass the boards, which is your primary goal.

If you failed humanism/communications – practice bedside manner, confidence building, questions patients commonly ask their doctor, as well as making sure the patient understands what you’re thinking and about to order for them.

Humanism Prep Guide For the Boards

If you failed SOAP notes – practice typing speed, write out notes for multiple cases, have others grade your work to see what you’re missing.

If you failed data gathering, practice coming up with differentials or body systems and common questions to ask, and review cases of all chief complaints offered in study guides.

Data Gathering Prep Guide For The Boards

Passing a test is a always has been. We learned how to play the game early on in our grade, middle and high school years but now we’re playing pro and the stakes are higher when it comes to medical boards.  Realize you need help and be open to it.

Phone a Friend

You will need support from those you love and have your back.  Don’t be embarrassed discussing this one stumble in a long line of schooling successes.  No one makes it through medical school alone, so leaning on someone is par for the course.  Plus you feel better opening up.  I’ve heard from countless students who failed their PE and CS and am here as well.

Medical students and professionals aren’t perfect and shouldn’t be expected to be.  But we are strong, resilient, and hard working.  So approach your board failure as you’d do anything in medicine.  Evaluate, assess and treat…….You got this!


Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.