//PCOM prioritizes vaccination in a curriculum change

PCOM prioritizes vaccination in a curriculum change

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PCOM South Georgia Students Learn Vaccination Techniques

Health professions students are positioned to assist in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine President Jay S. Feldstein, DO ’8 believes.  He noted that interprofessional initiatives like Students Assist America, spearheaded by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, are asking federal and state leaders to give health professions students the opportunity to help with the vaccination effort.

He said, “We are at a crucial moment in this crisis where nothing is more important than getting as many people vaccinated as possible. The students of PCOM and other health professional schools can and should, under direct medical supervision, play a critical role in scaling up our inoculation efforts to provide a vaccine to all who want one.”

Typically, at PCOM, medical students are trained to vaccinate through an advanced clinical skills course taught just prior to clinical rotations during the students’ third and fourth years. However, due to COVID-19, a permanent curriculum change in the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program has recently taken place on PCOM’s three campuses. 

At the urging of Dr. Feldstein, first and second year DO students are receiving training in giving inoculations as part of their primary skills course. Harry Morris, DO, MPH, Ali Moradi, MD, MPH, DrPh, and George Fredrick, MD, direct the osteopathic medicine primary care skills courses in Philadelphia, Suwanee and Moultrie respectively and have worked together to align their curriculums to include early injection training.

Second-year Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine students at PCOM South Georgia recently learned subcutaneous and intramuscular injection techniques under Dr. Fredrick. The course directors are using materials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Immunization Action Coalition to train students in intramuscular and subcutaneous injections. Included in the course work are topics such as vaccinating various age groups, side effects, contraindications, and vaccinations during pregnancy. 

“These skills are crucial for our students to learn at this time,” Dr. Fredrick said. “By changing the curriculum to address this technique earlier, it better prepares our students to aid in the vaccination effort if their skills are needed.” 

Dr. Feldstein added, “Health professions students are uniquely positioned in this moment to contribute to the nationwide vaccination effort while simultaneously gaining the hands-on experience they will bring as medical providers in their communities. As a physician, I am incredibly proud of the progress my colleagues on the frontlines have made and continue to make. As a person, I am humbled by the humanity and grace they have shown under the strain of this tremendous pressure. With the support of the budding medical professionals trained at PCOM and other area health professional schools, I am confident that, together, we will see our way through this.”

About PCOM South Georgia

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) extended its commitment to the Southeast by establishing PCOM South Georgia, an additional teaching location in Moultrie, Georgia. PCOM South Georgia offers both a full, four-year medical program leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree and a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree. PCOM is a private, not-for-profit institution which trains professionals in the health and behavioral sciences fields. Joining PCOM Georgia in Suwanee in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state, PCOM South Georgia focuses on educating physicians for the South Georgia region. The medical campus, which welcomed its inaugural class of medical students in August 2019, has received accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 229-668-3110.