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Departments: Family Medicine

Osteopathic Medicine in Downers Grove


Chair: Kathryn R. Burke, D.O.

Family Medicine practitioners personify osteopathic medicine. Departmental members endeavor to instill respect for holistic, osteopathic medicine, particularly in primary care. The basics of the art of medicine are included in the family medicine curricula. Thus, all medical students must have extensive experiences in this area. Medical students are expected to master the continuum of the biopsychosocial aspects of medicine, then apply these concepts in clinical settings. These basic experiences provide the background necessary for the selection of a medical specialty.

Family Medicine provides staff who act as models for group practices where osteopathic medical students gain clinical experience. As externs in CCOM affiliate facilities, medical students are responsible for taking a patient's history and conducting a physical. They learn how to provide the holistic health care for patients coming to these facilities. Students also work in community outreach programs. Clinical activities occur under the supervision of faculty in the Division of Community Medicine. Medical students have the opportunity to be members of a health care team. These programs include health screening, school health programs, and health promotion and illness prevention programs for community groups and organizations.

Members of the Family Medicine Department are actively engaged in clinical studies. Students can assist the clinicians in teaching patients through these studies. These projects include the clinical trials on antidepressant drugs and the effectiveness of various medications in controlling blood sugar. Departmental members help medical students understand the principles of osteopathic medicine. Further, they foster the development of the skills necessary to apply the osteopathic concepts in all aspects of patient care. The course of study includes osteopathic history, philosophy, and principles; the somatic components of disease; examination, treatment, and problem-solving skills.

1515, 1516, 1517 Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM) I
This course is taught in the fall, winter, and spring quarters of the first year. Students receive grades each quarter. Introduction to Clinical Medicine I is designed to acquaint the medical students with the basic skills and techniques associated with the practice of medicine, enabling them to synthesize the knowledge gained in the basic science courses with the material presented in ICM I. As part of their required activities, students participate in a simulated patient program where they learn to perform a physical examination with normal findings emphasized.

The Practice of Medicine
(formerly ICM II - Intro to Clinical Medicine II and Topics in Medicine Courses)

The Practice of Medicine builds upon and reinforces content taught in ICM-I. This course enhances the student's critical-thinking and problem-solving abilities by developing vital communication skills and medical informatics. The Practice of Medicine integrates the clinical presentation, pathophysiology, and therapeutic options for common disease processes. An appreciation of focused physical examinations will be fostered through the refinement of bedside clinical skills acquired in ICM-I. The course is sequenced to parallel material taught in the Pathology, Pharmacology, and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine courses. The curriculum focuses on learner-centered activities, progressively relying on collaborative, small-group work. Activities include role-play, the use of standardized patients, and the application of newly-acquired knowledge and skills to real world scenarios. Small-group sessions also include case-based learning (clinical vignettes in which students find answers to directed questions) and problem-based learning (clinical vignettes in which students identify and isolate key facts, create a hypothesis, and provide solutions).

1700 Community Medicine Rotation

1702 Family Medicine Rotation I
Medical students complete two four-week rotations during their junior year. Carefully supervised, this experience provides students with the opportunity to practice non-hospital-based outpatient medicine as well as inpatient medicine. The goal of the program is to ensure that the student physician is exposed to the more common disorders encountered in an ambulatory care setting. Students are required to be able, under the supervision of a member of the department, to utilize and apply osteopathic concepts in taking a history and physical, perform appropriate procedures, develop a differential diagnosis, formulate a treatment regimen, and identify a health promotion program that includes techniques to bring about changes in the patient lifestyle. Students participate in the community medicine experience, a community-based family medicine-run outreach program that involves care of the homeless, family planning, adolescent medicine, and ambulatory geriatric care.

1802 Family Medicine Rotation II
If the student ranks and is selected for the 4th-year family medicine emphasis track, this experience provides the medical students with one four-week rotation that enables them to continue the process of developing skills in an ambulatory care setting. The intention is to place the senior medical student in a somewhat more intense ambulatory care setting with a patient population that includes patients with more advanced pathologies. The requirement of heightened diagnostic skill, as well as increased ability to deal with more serious and complex medical issues, results in further development of the student's ability in history-taking and physical diagnosis and the development of more complex differential diagnoses and treatment plans.

During one of the three rotations, students may elect to participate in the Rural Preceptorship Program. This program is available to students who may be interested in either establishing a family medicine practice in a rural area or participating in primary health care without access to the technologically advanced services available in large urban medical communities. Students in this program complete a 4-week rotation with a faculty member of the Family Medicine Department who is engaged in a private family medicine practice in downstate Illinois, Northern Indiana, or Wisconsin. Most of these sites offer housing and/or other support for medical students during the rural preceptorship experience.

Related Links

MWU Family Medicine Pre-Clinical Program

MWU Family Medicine Clinical Program

MWU Family Medicine Residency Program

Community Health Resource Center


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