Stated in the mission and goals of the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine ARCOM is the desire to recruit and train medical students who are focused on service to the underserved. This aim is important because Arkansas is one of the lowest ranking states in physician-to-population ratio. With over 80% of medical students who complete both their undergraduate medical education and graduate medical education in Arkansas staying in the state to practice, ARCOM strives to prepare its students to work in 95 and underserved areas of the state and help improve our states physician shortage. To give our students the best training possible, the goal of this project is twofold. First, because healthcare settings in 95 and underserved areas may not have access to expensive subscription health information resources, we will train our students to search PubMed and other NLM databases to locate quality biomedical and clinical information, and to use MedlinePlus and HealthReach for patient education materials to support effective doctor-patient communication and improve patient compliance. These NLM resources are invaluable because they offer high quality, full text health information free of cost. Second, we will cultivate and reinforce empathy in our students toward the populations they will serve through VR software developed by Embodied Labs, a company that creates immersive, interactive VR experiences for health training. This cutting-edge technology creates first-person experiences of various medical conditions and life circumstances that our students will encounter in the field, allowing them to embody and experience the world as a patient with a particular condition, such as Alzheimers or macular degeneration. Incorporating this training into the first two years of curriculum will better prepare our students for their rotations in the third year, three of which must occur in 95 and underserved healthcare settings. In this way, ARCOM not only graduates future physicians who are likely to remain in our mission-specific areas, but who have also had the best training possible to help them serve the underserved with knowledge and compassion.
Arkansas Colleges of Health Education