A. T. Still University, based in Kirksville, Missouri, is a combination of four schools which educate health care professionals based on the principles of osteopathic medicine, first devised by American physician Andrew Taylor Still, M.D. Its main campus is in Kirksville, Missouri. The Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCOM) is the world’s first osteopathic medical school, founded in 1892. ATSU also has schools on its campus in Mesa, Arizona: the School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (SOMA), the Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ASDOH, Arizona’s first dental school), and the Arizona School of Health Sciences (ASHS). ATSU also offers online health management training programs through its School of Health Management (SHM). A. T. Still University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Our Goal: To prepare excellent osteopathic physicians to serve the health care needs of society.
Our Values: As an osteopathic medical college devoted to excellence we value relationships, integrity, learning together, compassion, the whole person, teamwork, and innovation.
Our Vision: We aspire to be recognized in the communities we serve as
- a community of medical educators who established a learning centered model of medical education
- creating life-long, meaningful relationships with students and serving their medical education needs throughout their career
- establishing a community of scholars that value innovation in medical education
- committed to a process of continuous quality improvement addressing the ever-changing educational needs of osteopathic physicians
- the innovative leader in the development of contextual medical education curriculum
- establishing a successful partnership with Community Health Centers (CHCs) that fosters medical education and results in an increase in the number of osteopathic physicians in CHCs
- a model of inter-professional health care education and practice
The school operates in a portion of an existing 100,000-square-foot building on the 22-acre campus of A.T. Still University in Mesa. The campus is the anchor of the Arizona Health & Technology Park, a 132-acre education, healthcare, and technology triangle owned by ATSU and Vanguard Health Systems. The master plan for the new park includes hospitals, long-term care facilities, professional offices, and product development research facilities.
“The Medical School of the Future”
According to some experts, ATSU’s new osteopathic medical school couldn’t come at a better time – or a better place. Studies estimate a national shortage of as many as 200,000 physicians by 2020. In addition, the way healthcare is delivered in this country is rapidly changing because of increased demands for services, the economics of providing affordable healthcare, and the need to ensure quality healthcare.
As a response, ATSU formed Blue Ribbon Committees of national healthcare experts, medical educators, and technology experts to develop a new, modern, technology-driven curriculum that will serve as a model to move the osteopathic medical profession to a leadership position in medical education.
Curriculum – What’s Different?
SOMA will complement the osteopathic medical school model by adding innovative strategies to what already exists. The most striking change is ATSU’s new partnership with the nation’s Community Health Centers (CHC), which provide a healthcare safety net for underserved communities. SOMA students will begin their clinical observations in CHCs at the start of their second year instead of waiting until the third year as in traditional models.
Parts of the basic sciences will be bundled with clinical sciences and learned together. This practice of learning skills in the same environment in which they will be applied is called “contextual learning.” This has been shown to be more effective than methods that impose arbitrary educational divisions. The new curriculum has been planned using Best Evidence Medical Education (BEME). The use of BEME requires that only the curricular elements that have been studied and proven effective are selected and implemented.
Not only will students be advantaged by the new curriculum, but CHC patients also will benefit from these changes. By putting osteopathic medical students in the CHCs, ATSU is working toward ensuring that underserved communities have the healthcare they need.
Along with the dramatic changes occurring at ATSU, the University is keeping its focus on osteopathic principles and a humanistic approach to healthcare and education. The new curriculum was designed to enhance whole person healthcare ensuring that physicians care for people in their entirety – in body, mind, and spirit.
Community Health Centers
Students’ education in years two through four will be based at one of the 11 select Community Campuses across the country. The second year is spent in these Community Campuses in small group settings, learning additional clinical presentations, observing patient care, and gaining an understanding of the local health system and community health practices. Third- and fourth-year students will complete their clinical rotations at their Community Campuses, in Community Campus associated hospitals, as well as with affiliated healthcare providers and at select healthcare institutions.
Osteopathic principles and practices are integrated throughout the curriculum, and the osteopathic manipulative treatment program is designed for primary care applications. This provides distinctive training in the value of healing touch in patient care.
ATSU is partnering with the following Community Health Centers and safety-net providers for Community Campuses:
- Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health, based in Waianae, HI, and serving Native Hawaiian, Asian and suburban populations in the northwest coastal section of the island.
- Community Health Centers of King County, serving urban, suburban, émigré and ethnic populations in the county east and south of Seattle, WA.
- A consortium of clinics in the Portland Oregon area, serving farm-worker, rural, and suburban constituents in northern Oregon.
- Family HealthCare Network, based in Porterville, CA (south of Fresno) and serving suburban and farm-worker populations in the valley at the base of Yosemite national park.
- El Rio Health Center, based in Tucson, AZ, and serving urban, suburban, ethnic, HIV, and homeless constituents in and around Tucson.
- An American Indian focused campus, based in Phoenix AZ, and serving American Indian communities in central Arizona, the Southwest, and the nation.
- North Country Community Health Center, based in Flagstaff, AZ, and serving isolated and ethnic populations in rural northern and eastern Arizona.
- HealthSource of Southern Ohio, based in Milford, OH (east of Cincinnati), and serving rural, farming, ethnic, religious and Appalachian communities across southern Ohio.
- Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, based in Beaufort, SC (north of Hilton Head), and serving rural, suburban and ethnic populations in the low-country region of South Carolina.
- Alabama Medical Education Consortium, representing Alabama’s Community Health Centers with a base in Troy, AL (south of Montgomery), and serving rural, suburban and ethnic populations across Alabama.
- Sunset Park Family Health Center, based in Brooklyn, NY, and serving urban, émigré, ethnic, HIV, older adult and homeless populations in Brooklyn.