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Rowan-Virtua SOM's Curriculum

Tensegrity and Osteopathy

tensegrity - noun: the forces of tension (provided by muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia) pulling on structure (bones and joints) that help keep the body both stable and efficient in mass and movementMedical schools must constantly evolve to adapt to rapidly changing environments and advances in medicine. We have developed a transformative curriculum to train today's medical students, so they can prosper at the highest levels of medical excellence for the next 30 - 40 years.

In osteopathic medicine, the concept of tensegrity refers to the balance of forces in the musculoskeletal system that help keep the body stable and efficient in mass and movement. The Tensegrity Curriculum is an integrated, balanced program that trains future physicians to treat the whole patient and promote health by addressing their mental, physical and spiritual well-being.



Rowan-Virtua SOM offers two Pre-Clerkship curricular tracks: Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and Synergistic Guided Learning (SGL). Both tracks offer a comprehensive medical education that features a variety of components integrated within established courses and clinical experiences. The four core components are: System Blocks, Intersessions, Osteopathic Clinical Skills (OCS) and Longitudinal Project-Based Courses. Intersessions and Longitudinal Project-Based Projects offer students the opportunity to focus on topics that are considered cornerstones of osteopathy. An overview of Pre-clerkship curriculum features:
  • Circular-pass integrated systems, combining basic sciences with clinical medicine (SGL track)
  • PBL students will continue in the double-pass systems based model and will incorporate the new courses and features included in the SGL track. These courses, such as Osteopathic Clinical Skills (OCS), are synchronized with the systems model of PBL.
  • Expanded training on leadership and teamwork
  • Emphasis on prevention and health equity
  • Increased procedural training, including point-of-care ultrasound
  • Formative assessments through BRIDGE Weeks across four years
  • Amplified Medical Scholarship curriculum
  • Twelve elective Areas of Distinction for increased study special interest
Learn About Your Curricular Track Options

Pre-Clerkship Overview

Are you interested in a sample schedule and more detailed information about the courses you'll explore during your pre-clerkship at SOM?
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The required core clerkships are under continuous development and improvement. A few of the highlights of our new clerkship curriculum include:
  • Longitudinal Community Service Learning and Community Projects
  • Geriatrics Clerkship at nationally-ranked NJISA
  • Neuromuscular Medicine/Pain Management Clerkship
  • Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine Clerkship
  • Residency Clinical Skills Clerkship (residency procedural "bootcamp")
  • Four-week Intensive Care Unit selective - ICU/NICU/PICU/SICU
  • Clerkship Clinical Skills
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These weeks occur a total of four times over the course of your medical school education: twice in the first year, once in the second year, and once in the third year. These weeks are designed to give formative feedback on knowledge skills and attitudes, accumulated by set points based on benchmarks determined by faculty and the assessment department.

BRIDGE week assessment activities include combinations of several core elements:
  • Building skills: Osteopathic Integrated Exam Review (OIER) and formative Standardized Patient/OSCEs with feedback
  • Reflecting: Self-reflection, Peer-to-Peer Evaluation
  • Integrating: Integrated Foundational Science Individual and Group Assessments
  • Developing: Formative Biomedical COMAT Exams
  • Goal setting: Academic review with coaching
  • Evaluating: Summative Biomedical COMAT Exams, Summative Standardized Patient/OSCEs

 bridge week sample schedule

 *Schedule subject to change

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Summary of Objectives

More detailed information about Rowan-Virtua SOM's curriculum is available in the "Programmatic Level Objectives and Course Descriptions for the Tensegrity Curriculum."