Our guest today, Gina Moses, is the Director of Admissions at New York Institute of Technology’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. Prior to taking this position in 2016, she worked for almost ten years as the Associate Director of Recruitment and Application Services for the American Association of College of Osteopathic Medicine. Gina also worked in different admissions capacities for Georgetown and for the University of Maryland before starting at AACOM and after earning her masters in Higher Ed Administration from USC.
Can you give us an overview of NYIT COM’s program with a focus on the more distinctive parts? [2:00]
One unique thing is the technology aspect to the program. We are probably one of the only medical schools in the nation outside of MIT that has it. The nice thing is that the program blends state of the art technology into the curriculum. With our new campus at Arkansas University we are synchronizing lectures between campuses and even with interviews.
Can you discuss the specific focus and strength of osteopathic medicine and NYIT? [3:19]
The beauty of osteopathic medicine is that it is founded and grounded in the philosophical approach, which makes it so distinctive. This philosophy came about from Andrew Taylor Still in the 1800s. He was a physician, and tragically his children died. This made him recognize there was a disconnect in medical training, and that the traditional training of the time was not effective and often harmful. He felt that medicine needed to be practiced in a more holistic manner, where structure and function are interrelated. So if you break your arm it puts pressure on different points that it wouldn’t otherwise do. Osteopathy is a way of looking at the body to aid in it healing itself. When we train osteopathic physicians we are taking history and philosophy and infusing it into the curriculum in the first two years. Students at NYIT gain 200 hours in those first two years in anatomy and physiology in the musculoskeletal system, which comes together throughout lecture and case-based training but also in hands-on doing. That is the power of osteopathic medicine.
With all this amazing training, the beauty in 21st century medicine is that if you have a sinus infection, an osteopath can palpate your sinuses, head, forehead, neck, shoulders, and lymph nodes to help your body in the healing process – moving fluids around, enabling the body to breathe better, and improving the functionality and flow. It is a wonderful way of looking at medicine.
Palpation or manipulation is very low tech. Why would NYIT pursue this more philosophical approach? [6:31]
At the end of the day we are an osteopathic medical school that provides the best state of the art technology with robotics, so students can work with “patients” through robotics and not do any harm. We are able to look at cadavers online and use technology to see things you might not see when you have an actual cadaver in front of you, since we are not all created the same internally. We infuse state of the art telemedicine, providing healthcare to remote locations, and also when working with patients in front of you with non-invasive, cost effective care, working with the body’s immunology to promote self-healing and not going to a prescription or an opiate because we’ve seen what can happen with over-prescription. In the general public, across the spectrum in healthcare, people are concerned about the cost of it, the cost of pharmaceuticals, and the ethics with some of the big pharma, so the beauty of osteopathic training at the end of the day is it helps cut through some of that noise and get to the heart of whole patient-centered care, in a cost effective, non-invasive manner.
NYIT combines in its first two years lectures and clinical experiential learning. Can you go a little more deeply into that split? [9:16]
What we’ve been doing this past year with the associate dean of curricular affairs is getting our curriculum in line with best practices, so we have two tracks – a lecture-based traditional track, and a doctor/patient continuum which is a problem-based curriculum and a subset of our overall population of students, so we have two different styles. We have actual patients come in for both tracks to talk about their stories, access to healthcare, and experiences so students understand the reality of what they will be dealing with. So we offer a traditional curriculum with all the sciences, and engagement integrating osteopathic manipulative training (OMT), and it really all comes together to be a very dynamic, fluid curriculum.
What opportunities are there for students to customize their educational experience at NYIT? [10:51]
If students have an interest in a dual degree we offer an opportunity for an MBA, as well as elective curriculum in clinical nutrition, opportunities in global health, and international missions. One other thing we are looking at is a DO/PhD program. We have an exceptionally rich and diverse research program both at the New York and Jonesboro campuses, and we hope to offer that program in the next few years.
NYIT has two locations in New York and Arkansas. What are the specialties of each location? [12:02]
The New York location was founded 41 years ago by a personal physician to then President Richard Nixon. We are 35 minutes outside of NYC in Old Westbury, and we offer any type of medical specialty a student could want to go into. We have thousands of alumni in every imaginable specialty, and that is one of the beauties of being located in New York. The alumni base is really robust and the students greatly benefit from that. Jonesboro was developed three years ago – the leadership was approached to partner because of our excellence. They wanted to leverage the abilities and strength New York brings – technology, faculty, and programming. Jonesboro has a mission-specific vision to create better opportunities in healthcare not just in Arkansas but in the delta region of the country. In the delta there are many underserved rural locations, very far from a major metro area, so a lot of folks have to travel hours to see a specialist or even a primary care physician, so we provide opportunities in the state and the greater delta region. We spent $13M to transform an amazing 1930s art deco building and it is now state of the art and in a great college town, so we can leverage all of the benefits of being on a huge college campus.
How does NYIT’s focus and values influence your admissions decisions? [15:41]
It is really important that prospective applicants understand that admissions officers know students have choices. It all comes down to fit – how do applicants see themselves within the field of medicine, how do they want to take care of patients, and how do they want to be taken care of. That is very important to reflect in the AACOMAS application and to the secondary application that all the DO schools will require – to discuss shortly and sweetly how one’s background fits with the philosophy of osteopathy.
Many applicants apply to both DO and MD programs because they just want to become a clinical physician. Are you looking for applicants that have a particular allegiance to the DO philosophy? [17:17]
Absolutely that is critical to the whole admissions process. It is fine that a student wants to apply to both programs, but what is key when they apply is to convey why they have applied to a particular osteopathic medical school, especially in the secondary. In the AACOMAS you need to provide the big picture, on secondary applications you need to answer why osteopathic medicine and why you are applying to NYIT, and here is an insider tip: When schools have multiple campuses, you need to express why you are choosing one particular campus over another. Therefore, it is critical to understand the mission of campuses and mission of that school, and how your background and experience align. Also, faculty members could be a DO, MD, or a PhD.
What can an applicant invited to interview expect on interview day at NYIT? [19:09]
The day starts with an 8:30am arrival, we have breakfast available, and start the day at 9:00 with an admissions overview and Q&A. Students will then be assigned their faculty interviewers. As applicants are waiting for interviews, administration folks and ambassadors will meet with and welcome them. By 12pm student ambassadors will take all interviewees on a tour of the campus and provide unopposed time to speak with them about the program, and then applicants are free to depart campus. We know students are coming from all over and want to be mindful to not make applicants incur additional costs related to hotel stays, so that’s why we arrange the day that way.
In Jonesboro the schedule is different due to anticipated drive times for applicants. Interviews are on Fridays, with applicants coming in around 11:30 and the presentation starting at noon. The dean or assistant dean will welcome them and offer tours of the facility, and student ambassadors will be with them throughout the day. Things conclude late in the afternoon and applicants are free to depart campus.
What kind of residencies do graduates of NYIT go into? [21:45]
So the beauty of having a school with 40 years of history and excellence is that students match in all areas of medicine, including primary care. We have been looking at 100% match for the last 3-4 years and are really proud of that accomplishment. We attribute that to really good counseling and coaching from the administration, and students doing really well on their exams to achieve that match.
How do you think the merger of the MD and DO residency systems will affect DO graduates? [23:05]
DO students have always been able to go into MD residencies, but MD students were not able to do the reverse. Now it is one match, everyone is equal, and everyone is viewed as a student doctor. Any push back is honestly from folks who don’t understand the fact that MDs and DOs are so similar. The only area of distinction is the 200 hours of OMT training, and that DO students are experts in anatomy and physiology. The exams for both are very similar. I think the match is a win-win for everybody.
Obviously there is something that DO students study that MD students don’t. Is there anything that MD students study that DO students don’t? [25:29]
No, not that I am aware of.
Can you touch on the Émigré Physicians Program? [25:41]
We are the only medical school in the country that offers a foreign-born or foreign-trained MD with citizenship in the US the opportunity to go back to medical school and re-train in osteopathic medicine. The beauty is that so many of EPPs are excellent at what they do already and become amazing mentors to our medical students. Students in the program have incredible personal stories, and now they are in the US wanting to practice medicine. We have 35 students, so it is a very select group, and very competitive. We get hundreds of applications, but it really is an incredible opportunity for those who want to practice medicine in the US. We get applicants from all 50 states. They must be US permanent residents or citizens, and the program is four years, followed by residency training, etc.
What advice do you have for applicants preparing to apply to NYIT COM this summer? [28:44]
It’s really important to be prepared to apply early. The AACOMAS app opens the first week of May, and we will start to see applications in mid-to-late June. We started interviews on August 25th last year, and interviews will start early again this year. It’s important to work with an advisor or faculty mentor to get the app in as early as possible. Within 10 days of submission we need the supplemental application which remains with a fee of $80 which can apply to both applications. Applicants have to provide a location preference: New York, Jonesboro, or both. All responses on the secondary are limited to 1000 character count. The feeling of the admissions committee on this is that students should know why they want to apply and convey it in a short, sweet way to get them in early for interviews. We receive 7000+ applications from across the US, and the class size for New York is 278 and for Jonesboro is 123. What is most important to convey is why you are applying to medicine, what you know about osteopathy, and how their goals align with the New York or Jonesboro campus. We move on a rolling admissions basis, so the sooner the application is in the sooner we can make a decision.
What advice do you have for those thinking about osteopathic medicine as their career but not planning to apply until summer 2019 or later? [32:40]
During gap years do research, Teach for America, Peace Corps – we see great value in those types of opportunities. We also see great value in students recognizing the need for academic enhancements – a baccalaureate or master’s degree. It’s important students take a look at themselves personally and professionally, and take steps to get to the next level.
Do you like to see applicants who have shadowed an osteopath or already have some experience with osteopathic medicine? [34:27]
It is really important that students take time to connect with a practitioner. Sometimes it can be a challenge to find in their area, so reach out to people like me, to admissions offices, associations, or connect with alumni who will meet with prospective students. I also want to encourage applicants to attend info sessions or come to campus to make connections to find those experiences to shadow. We really want to do whatever we can to help prospective students applying.