Don’t miss important information – take advantage of recording

New office space at TTM, global elective opportunities, curriculum/policy revisions, and an OUMSA update are only a handful of topics covered at the late October University-Wide Meeting.

The meeting was opened by OUM Founder and Chairman Taffy Gould, who shared details from her September visit to Samoa.

“It was my pleasure to meet many of the clinical students completing rotations at TTM Hospital. I also found it extremely gratifying to meet supervising physicians from several countries who shared such positive comments about our students. Keep up the good work. You should be proud. I know I am,” said Ms. Gould.

Vice Chancellor Dr. Viali Lameko elaborated on September activities in Samoa, referencing the ceremony officiated by the Samoan prime minister when new office space within the hospital was presented to the medical school. The new facilities provide a student study area, as well as office space for Dr. Lameko and other student administrative staff.

Dr. Lameko provided an overview of clinical rotations in Samoa, discussing how the program has grown in recent years and how much he looks forward to meeting more students as they come for rotations at TTM. He announced that three OUM graduates are currently completing internships at TTM, with another set to begin in January 2020.

He also shared that a two-day seminar was recently provided to clinical students by Radiology Across Borders, the volunteer organization of physicians who train doctors in the Asia-Pacific region to detect and treat illnesses through teleradiology and online resources.

Deputy Vice Chancellor and Director of Research Dr. Randell Brown provided an overview of OUM’s research programming and student research projects. He said good progress is being made identifying research opportunities in Samoa, noting that Dr. Lameko has been a key contributor to that process. He encouraged students to consider utilizing their time in Samoa during rotations to work on local research.

“Our goal is to make OUM the major name in research regarding Samoa,” said Dr. Brown, indicating that the published projects required of students could become a significant contributor to the country’s healthcare research.

He closed by sharing that the Research Symposium will again be part of the upcoming Student Conference in Melbourne (March 2020). He has invited students to consider presenting their projects, whether completed or in progress. Both poster and oral sessions are planned. Those interested in sharing their research are encouraged to contact Dr. Brown or Dr. Daria Camera, Assistant Director of Research.

Thank you, Dr. Meshach

Meshach Kirubakaran, MBBS, MD (Gen. Med.), DM (Neph), MHA, FRACP, OUM’s Dean for Australia, joined OUM’s faculty and leadership in 2012. He said he would help for a “couple of years” because he was planning to retire. Almost eight years later, Dr. Meshach remains an important part of OUM. During the University-Wide Meeting, it was announced that Dr. Meshach would, indeed, be retiring in 2020. He will be staying through the accreditation process and until his replacement is found. He was unable to attend the meeting as he was on a locum tenens assignment, but we will be celebrating his illustrious career and his retirement at the Melbourne Student Conference.

In Dr. Meshach’s absence, the Australia report was provided by Joe Korac, General Manager. He shared the concerns Dr. Meshach has had regarding the clinical logbooks and five case studies required of clinical students. Those with questions, especially those who may have been contacted, should follow up with Dr. Meshach.

A preview of the 7-8 March 2020 ANZ Student Conference in Melbourne was also provided. While detailed information may be found in this issue’s full conference story, highlights include:

  • AMC exam prep with Dr. Majid Gondal, AMC and RACGP examiner
  • OUM graduates will discuss Pathway to Success + provide Q&A
  • Dr. Lameko will discuss clinical rotations and Dr. Diamante will present on clinical skills
  • Dr. Brown and Dr. Camera will present OUM’s 2nd Research Symposium
  • Joy Braun, Registrar, will discuss applying to practice in Australia and New Zealand
  • OSCE-style presentations are planned
  • Graduation Ceremony will be held late Saturday afternoon

A Meet & Greet is also scheduled for Friday evening, 6 March at 6:30 pm. The conference will again be held at the Best Western Hotel & Convention Centre near Melbourne Airport. Students received an email with accommodation links and other conference information. Contact Joe Korac with questions.

Deans’ Reports

The report from the Dean for New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific, Dr. Chellaraj Benjamin, was very brief – and very positive. He confirmed that he had arranged for an Intensive Care Specialist from New Zealand to spend three months as a consultant at TTM Hospital. In addition, Dr. Benjamin noted the establishment of rotations at hospitals in New Zealand. Additional information on both announcements is forthcoming.

The Dean for North America, Dr. Sarmad Ghazi, also had good news to report regarding rotations. He shared how pleased clinical students have been with their core and elective rotations at the facilities in McAllen Texas, adding that in addition to being happy with preceptors, students have also found it to be a nice town to live in with a modest cost of living.

Dr. Ghazi announced that in 2020, rotations in Chicago will be moving from Jackson Park Hospital to three new hospitals in the area. Information regarding the new hospitals will be available on the North American Rotations page on Moodle and from Melody Calvert, Student Affairs Coordinator, who schedules rotations in the region.

As the faculty IT Lead, Dr. Ghazi closed his report by adding that Zoom is now fully integrated, following the phase-out of Blackboard, and is performing well. Likewise, Proctortrack is largely performing well. The few students who do have occasional difficulty are reminded to open a ticket with Proctortrack and let OUM know so we may follow up and make sure issues are resolved.

Dr. Paula Diamante, Director of Faculty Affairs, shared interesting metrics about OUM’s faculty:

During the Q&A, Dr. Diamante discussed revision of the Community Medicine Clinical Course, as its content is the foundation of the AMC Exam. To assure that students are ready for the AMC Exam upon graduation, OUM has changed to the text most commonly used by Australian medical schools, quizzes are being rewritten, and the syllabus is being revised. More information will be available as the project progresses.

Lastly, she reminded students to always complete course feedback forms at the close of each module. “I do read and value them,” she said.

Policy details always featured in OUM News

While his first slide featured quite a long list of Administrative Initiatives, Chris Dudley, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Administration & Student Affairs, was happy to indicate that those with a “checkmark” had been completed since the last University-Wide Meeting. In addition to reviewing some of the completed items and ones still in progress, Mr. Dudley presented policies that were ratified by the Academic Board throughout the year. Resolutions from the May, September, and November Academic Board Meetings were presented in detail in the OUMNews June, October, and December issues. He also presented information on additional policies, both administrative (Unsuccessful Payment Policy) and academic (AAMC Visiting Student Learning Opportunities program, Exam Windows, Academic Rankings, and more).

One of the most recent Academic Board resolutions going into effect was presented by Dr. Scott Cunningham, Director of Curriculum, regarding the In-House Exam (IHE). Developed by Dr. Cunningham in 2011 to determine a student’s fund of knowledge in the basic sciences, the IHE has been a key indicator of readiness for USMLE Step 1.

Students planning to practice in the US are well aware of the importance of passing the USMLE exams on first attempt. Hearing the concerns of students looking for additional resources to help them prepare for the In-House Exam, and ultimately USMLE, the Academic Board recently approved a resolution that will pave the way for practice exams, provide correct answers to missed questions, and suggest timetables to help students understand what they need to do to pass the IHE. Details about the new IHE resources may be found here.

Accreditation details

Mr. Dudley provided a comprehensive explanation and timetable for what’s ahead for OUM’s reaccreditation by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU) next year. He explained that reports, manuals, and much documentation is currently being produced by faculty and leadership for the nine university areas reviewed during the accreditation process: Mission & Objectives, Faculty, Curriculum & Instruction, Clinical Teaching/Service Facilities, Research, Students, Library, Administration, and Facilities & Other Resources.

Accreditation visits begin with a January visit by OUM leaders to PAASCU in Manila, when they will present documentation (typically about 1,000 pages) and finalize the 2020 schedule. The current timetable has PAASCU making visits in March to 1) Australia, during the Melbourne Student Conference, 2) Samoa, and 3) New Zealand. They will also visit the US/Houston area in July. All site visits include facility tours, IT demonstrations, clinical site visits, and interviews with faculty, students, alumni, and administration.

One student sure to play a part in this process is Tom Dalton, third-year student and President of the OUM Student Association (OUMSA). Tom presented OUMSA activities during the meeting live from Samoa where he is currently completing his surgical rotation at TTM Hospital. He discussed the benefits of joining the student organization, ranging from discounts at Kaplan, Office Depot/Office Max, and UpToDate, to important networking opportunities and leadership development. Tom also shared OUMSA accomplishments during the past year: developing Journal Club guide & requirements, establishing a FAQ page on Moodle about elective rotations in Australia, recognition of graduates unable to attend ceremonies, working with the University on a social media policy, and more. He encouraged those with questions to contact an OUMSA officer.

The next University-Wide Meeting will be held in February 2020. All students who were unable to attend the session summarized above are encouraged to listen to the recording of the meeting.