Distance learning at OUM doesn’t mean distant learning. Physician mentors and academic advisers lend guidance during the online preclinical phase, and the OUM Student Association (OUMSA) connects students with one another. Additionally, students may draw from a variety of programs to boost their fund of knowledge.
While academic advisers help students navigate the preclinical coursework, physician mentor, who typically reside in the student’s community, offer support and first-hand clinical guidance beginning with the system-based modules, and potentially throughout the remainder of the student’s medical education. They do not teach case content or biomedical theory, but offer clinical experience and advice relevant to the student’s current system-based module. In short, mentors act as a guide, coach, and student assessment aid. Physician mentors:
- explain the career paths — personal, professional, scientific — and the ethical aspects of life as physicians;
- explain how knowledge gained through case studies may be applied to the diagnosis and management of a patient’s problem;
- demonstrate basic clinical skills related to each module’s cases; and
- complete a checklist assessment of the student’s clinical skills, and monitor and report his/her knowledge and attitudes of practicing medicine.
Students are urged to identify their prospective physician mentor before beginning the e-ITM. Students will not be allowed to register for their first system-based preclinical module until OUM has approved their physician mentor. * Mentors must be registered/licensed physicians holding an MBBS or MD degree, in good standing, who are currently in or have completed postgraduate medical education. In the US, a Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) is also an acceptable mentor. The school provides materials for students to present to prospective mentors who complete an application for review and approval by the student’s regional dean. Mentors receive a modest honorarium after submitting an assessment and invoice after each system-based term.
*To prevent a potential conflict of interest, a student shall not be able to select as his/her mentor anyone related by blood or marriage, e.g., spouse, mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, grandparent, or cousin.
The academic adviser is the student’s primary contact regarding academic status and program progression. The academic adviser provides continuity in the program and helps students overcome impediments inherent in a distance-learning environment. Many academic advisers are also instructors for the preclinical curriculum including the e-ITM module, e-Foundation Sciences blocks, and the system-based modules. Thus, advisers are familiar with the OUM curriculum and licensure requirements in their country.
The academic adviser serves as the student’s coach for benchmark exams such as the USMLE, by assisting with preparing the student for the exam and eliminating deficiencies in the student’s knowledge base through reading assignments, test questions, and practice exams. All OUM academic advisers hold an MD, MBBS, or PhD in one of the basic sciences. They will also have familiarity with licensure exam requirements in their respective country.
Academic advisers are available upon request for students in good academic standing (but required for students having academic difficulty). It is strongly recommended that all OUM students take advantage of the availability of these important resources.
Structured Study Protocol
The Structured Study Protocol (SSP) is a rigorous, intensive study regimen to help prepare preclinical students for the USMLE. As the name implies, the program provides an added level of structure and discipline for students during the preclinical phase. In addition to the assigned reading and lectures for the e-Foundation and system-based modules, students on this intensive track will have supervised extra assignments, as well as daily and weekly quizzes designed to test students at USMLE levels.
The SSP is open to all preclinical OUM students in the e-Foundation 100-series and system-based modules and may be offered to students after completing the system-based modules but before starting the clinical phase as well. Participation in either version of the SSP is highly recommended for anyone wishing to practice medicine in the US. There is no additional cost for the program but there are certain standards imposed, including achieving high exam scores to remain in the SSP.
Basic Science Immersion
The Basic Science Immersion (BSI) is a comprehensive six-week course that covers all the basic sciences that will be tested on USMLE Step 1. Daily quizzes and weekly cumulative examinations are derived from daily reading assignments.
All OUM students who plan to sit for USMLE Step 1, must pass the OUM In-House Examination (IHE) to receive the University’s approval to sit for the USMLE Step 1 exam. Offered once a month, the IHE focuses on basic science principles. Students are encouraged to take the IHE multiple times as they progress through the preclinical phase to gauge their fund of basic science knowledge and USMLE Step 1 readiness. The IHE’s 100 questions are randomized, and students should expect a different exam each time.
Case of the Week
The Case of the Week program helps students strengthen their diagnostic, test ordering, and management skills. The online program presents a weekly case in daily increments. Each day’s presentation is followed by a brief quiz consisting of one to four questions. A new case is presented every Monday. Case of the Week is offered free of charge, and both preclinical and clinical students are encouraged to participate.
Oceania University of Medicine Student Association (OUMSA)
The OUM Student Association (OUMSA), formed by students in early 2014, is a chapter of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), one of the largest medical student associations in the world. Though AMSA is located in the US, membership in AMSA and the OUMSA is open to all OUM students, no matter where they live.
OUMSA serves as a helpful source of information to students who are trying to navigate the various medical registration pathways and global internship opportunities available to OUM’s diverse student body.
International Medical Honor Society
OUM students who excel academically will be eligible for nomination by the faculty in the recently formed international medical honor society, Mu Delta Iota (MDI). Following criteria used by the renowned Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) national medical honor society, MDI will accept faculty nomination of students in their first year of clinical rotations. MDI is now an option for academically gifted international medical students who previously were not eligible for membership in AOA.
Student-to-Student Learning—An Added Bonus at OUM
In addition to the structured programs and resources that OUM provides to students, the program attracts a student population with a wealth of clinical experience, many with extensive careers (up to 30 years) as nurse practitioners, senior nurses, respiratory therapists, physician assistants, paramedics/ambulance officers, physiotherapists, chiropractors, and other clinical health specialists. These individuals bring many skills and life experiences to the classroom and help to nurture rich and vibrant discussions, creating a unique classroom dynamic conducive to learning. This highly interactive environment produces students who are supportive and encouraging to fellow classmates.