Joint Medical Program

Pitzer College & Western University of Health Sciences

Joint Medical Program

Pitzer’s emphasis on interdisciplinary learning, intercultural understanding, environmental sustainability, social responsibility and student engagement distinguishes us from most other colleges in the United States. We encourage students to explore how different academic fields intersect and draw on each others’ wisdom and ideas; we enable students to see issues and events from cultural perspectives different from their own; and we show students how to transform knowledge into action as they strive to make the world a better place to live, for themselves and future generations. Pitzer’s curriculum prepares students for the distinctive approach that characterizes osteopathic medical education.

Western University of Health Sciences

Founded in 1977, Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP) is dedicated to preparing patient-centered physicians who are life-long learners with the Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) degree. Located about five miles from Pitzer College, the campus of Western University of Health Sciences has all the attributes of a modern academic health center, including Western University’s Medical Center, research and teaching laboratories, medical library and smart lecture theaters. Medical students spend their first two (pre-clinical) years on campus in lectures, laboratories, small group tutorials and engaging in hands-on, supervised clinical interactions with standardized patients in state-of-the-art clinical skills teaching laboratories. Medical students in the clinical phase of their education spend two years in rotations amongst a highly select group of area hospitals. By rotating among a diverse group of hospitals, students are exposed to a full range of patient care modalities and local conditions. International rotations also exist for students interested in obtaining medical experience abroad.

Admission

Admission to this program is highly selective. A joint Admission Committee admits a maximum of six students each year. The Admission Committee expects that applicants have taken some of the most challenging courses offered at their high school, including Honor/AP/IB biology, Honor/AP/IB chemistry, Honor/AP/IB physics and Honor/AP/IB calculus. In addition, we expect to see community involvement and motivation for a career in primary care medicine. Finalists are required to come for a day-long personal interview with the Admission Committee at Pitzer and Western University in late March.

Applicants must complete the Common Application and complete the Pitzer Writing Supplement section, which includes the below essay and is specific to the D.O. program. The essay should be answered in 650 words or less:

Please discuss your interest in osteopathic medicine and what personal characteristics and experiences make you a good match for the program.

Curriculum

Here is a sample of the three-year undergraduate program you may follow at Pitzer College before starting your D.O. degree at Western University of Health Sciences:

First Year

Fall Semester

Biology
Chemistry
Social science elective
First-year seminar

Spring Semester

Biology
Chemistry
Social science elective
Elective
Clinical half-course

Second Year

Fall Semester

Biology (e.g. genetics)
Organic Chemistry
Social science elective or Spanish
Clinical half-course

Spring Semester

Biology (e.g. neuroscience)
Organic Chemistry
Field work in healthcare
Social science elective or Spanish

Summer

Summer health program in Costa Rica (six weeks)

Third Year

Fall Semester

Physics
Biostatistics or Biological Anthropology
English
Elective
Clinical half-course

Spring Semester

Physics
Biostatistics or Biological Anthropology
Electives (2)
Clinical half-course

If you would like to receive further information on the Pitzer College Joint Medical Program, please click here and then select “Yes” where it asks if you are interested in our Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program.

About Osteopathic Medicine

Osteopathic medicine is the fastest growing segment of the healthcare field in the United States. Today, there are 47,000 osteopathic physicians in this country. Doctors of osteopathic medicine (D.O.s), like M.D.s, are fully trained and licensed to practice the full scope of medicine in all 50 states. In addition to activities shared with their allopathic colleagues, D.O.s add to their practice a “whole person” approach to medicine, by focusing on preventive health care as well as the healing power of touch.

Osteopathic medicine is based on the philosophy that all body systems are interrelated and dependent upon one another for good health. It provides all the benefits of modern medicine including surgery, prescription of drugs and the use of technology to diagnose and evaluate illness. In addition, it provides the additional benefit of handson diagnosis and treatment
through a therapeutic system known as osteopathic manipulative medicine. With the addition of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) osteopathic physicians use their hands to aid in diagnosing and treating injury and illness.

The four-year medical school curriculum at Western University is a student-friendly block-curriculum divided into three phases. Interwoven into all phases are hands-on, didactic courses such as Osteopathic Principles and Practice, Essentials of Family Medicine, Doctor Patient Communication and Physician and Society & Service Learning.

Phase 1
Introduction to basic sciences. Students learn the concepts of anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology and physiology.

Phase 2
Correlated system teaching, integrating basic and clinical sciences in the study of each of the body’s organ system. This extends for three semesters, until the end of the second year.

Phase 3
Clinical experiences. During the third and fourth years, students do clinical rotations at clinics and hospitals in Medicine, Family Practice, Osteopathic Medicine and Manipulation, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Surgery and Emergency Medicine. Additional specialized electives are also available. Major rotations sites include:
• Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (CA)
• Downey Regional Medical Center (CA)
• Pacific Hospital of Long Beach (CA)
• Riverside County Hospital (CA)
• Pomona Valley Hospital (CA)
• Botsford General Hospital (MI)

Following graduation with B.A. and D.O. degrees, students go on to medical internships and residency programs. Students graduating from COMP enter both primary care and specialized practices. COMP graduates obtain residency placement across the country at institutions including:
• UC San Francisco (CA)
• UC San Diego Medical Center (CA)
• U Colorado SOM-Denver (CO)
• County/USC Medical Center (CA)
• Kettering Medical Center (OH)
• U of Buffalo-Buffalo General Hospital (NY)

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