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Frequently Asked Questions


  • What is the size of a small group vs large group?

    There are a variety of small group learning activities in the UIWSOM DO curriculum. Small Interactive Group Session (SIGS) groups consist of eight to nine learners. The size of groups in Structures Lab varies depending on the activity, and typically ranges from four to eight learners. Groups of learners also engage directly with our community partners, with the size of each group varying based on the needs and capabilities of our partner organizations. Large Group Sessions (LGS) typically consist of the entire cohort of learners.

  • What does a typical day look like?

    A typical day during the first two years of the UIWSOM DO curriculum includes facilitated sessions in the morning, with self-directed learning in the afternoons. Learning activities are held from 8am to noon Monday through Friday, with one afternoon per week dedicated to Community Engagement (CE) or Early Clinical Experiences (ECX). During morning sessions, learners attend Small Interactive Group Sessions (SIGS), where learners report out to each other biomedical science information extracted from patient-centered cases. Learners also attend Large Group Sessions (LGS) to engage in higher-order discussions with applied biomedical scientists and experienced clinicians.

    Each week, learners attend Structures Lab, where small groups of learners interact with faculty facilitators through a series of integrated, practical experiences. Learners also work directly with physicians to develop relevant clinical skills in the Developing Osteopathic Clinical Skills (DOCS) Lab. Finally, learners engage with the community and health professions through various experiential opportunities. During years three and four, learners are placed in core and elective clinical rotations and participate in a wide-variety of clinical experiences in various specialties, and continue to develop clinical skills in preparation for residency.

  • How are simulations used?

    Simulation-based medical education allows learners to practice and evaluate clinical knowledge and skills in an environment that mimics a real-life clinical experience.

  • How many hours of osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) training do learners receive in the program and at what time in the curriculum does the training occur?

    The Osteopathic Manual Medicine (OMM) curriculum at UIWSOM is robust and guided by the AACOM Teaching Guide for OMM. During the first two years, OMM training is integrated into large and small-group (SIGS) sessions, Structures Lab, community engagement and clinical experiences, and Developing Clinical Skills (DOCS) Lab. In DOCS Lab, osteopathic examinations and approximately 90 core osteopathic techniques are integrated with physical examinations, medical interviewing, procedures and differential diagnosis skills. Learners have the opportunity to practice clinical skills during clinical experiences in the OMM clinic and other clinical experiences. During core and elective rotations, learners perform osteopathic examinations relevant to the specialty in which they’re training.

  • How is anatomy taught at UIWSOM?

    Gross anatomy at UIWSOM is integrated into Structures Lab primarily as prosection, with opportunities to complete some focused gross dissection of particular structures and body regions.

  • What is the ratio of learners to cadaver?

    In Structures Lab, UIWSOM learners rotate through prosection stations in small groups of approximately eight. These stations integrate gross anatomy, histology, pathology and radiology/imaging. For dissection activities, groups are typically smaller.

Clinical Rotations

  • Where are the rotation sites?

    While the majority of core clinical rotations will be in San Antonio and its immediate area, there will be a number of students placed in rotations in other sites such as Laredo, San Angelo, Kerrville and Abilene.  After submitting their preferences, students will be assigned to a geographic location in which they will do most (if not all) of their core clerkship rotations.  The SOM will make every effort to accommodate special requests (families, home owners) but there will be no guarantees made.  Core rotation assignments will be distributed approximately six months prior to the start of the first rotation to provide students rotating outside of San Antonio the opportunity to move and establish residence.  The Office of Clinical Affairs can provide information on housing options at each clinical sites.

  • Will UIWSOM have any ties to out-of-state clinical rotations?  If a student decided to do an elective clinical rotation say on the east coast - for example, if the student has ties to a particular university or hospital system they previously served under, would UIWSOM assist or support the student in pursuing that rotation?

    In the fourth year, students are required to take two rotations (four-weeks each) in a medical specialty and one rotation (four-weeks) in a surgical specialty for a total of three selective rotations. These can include sub-internships and residency audition rotations.  Selective rotations must be scheduled at an affiliated clinical site, and students must notify the Office of Clinical Affairs of all arrangements.

    Six electives (four-weeks each) are also required. These can include sub-internships and residency auditions, as well as rotations in research, healthcare administration, health policy, public health, global health, anatomy, and OPP/OMT.  Electives may be done (with prior approval by the Department of Clinical Affairs) at:

    1. a) Any hospital site which has an accredited residency program in the elective specialty
    2. b) Office preceptorship (with a credentialed Adjunct Clinical Faculty member)
    3. c) Other outpatient site (public health, research, etc.) as approved by the Office of Clinical Affairs

    Students may not attend nor receive credit for a rotation that has not been approved by the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs.

Residency Training

  • How will UIWSOM students be viewed for residency programs compared to other DO and MD programs that are more established and with full accreditation?

    Preaccreditation status has no effect on application to residency programs. Preaccreditation is the highest level of accreditation a medical school can possess until it is about to graduate its first class; it signifies that an accrediting body has deemed a school’s administration, faculty, global resources, and curriculum to be appropriate to deliver quality medical education and training.  Full accreditation is expected immediately before the inaugural class graduates in 2021.


    Residency applicants are judged not only on reputation of their school, but also on their COMLEX scores, academic record, letters of recommendation, and observed performance on clinical rotations.  The Offices of Student Affairs, Clinical Affairs, and Graduate Medical Education are all available to address students’ questions and concerns regarding the important transition from medical school to residency.

  • How will the proposed unification of accreditation of osteopathic and allopathic residency programs affect students?

    The unification of accreditation of residency programs simplifies the application process and increases access to both residency and fellowship training. For more information and news regarding the single GME accreditation system, please refer to the AOA’s and ACGME’s resource pages.


  • Should students plan on taking both the COMLEX-USA and USMLE?

    All osteopathic medical students (OMS) in the United States are required to pass COMLEX-USA Levels 1, 2-CE, and 2-PE in order to graduate. With the unification of accreditation of residency (graduate medical education) programs, it is expected that an increasing number of residency program directors will become familiar with COMLEX scores, thus reducing the need for DO students to take USMLE in addition to COMLEX. Some OMSs elect to take some or all parts of the USMLE because they believe that this may improve their chances of getting in to a competitive residency program. UIWSOM will advise learners regarding the USMLE on an individual basis depending on their goals. Learners who elect to take an USMLE examination must commit the time required for preparing and taking this additional examination.

  • What other methods will UIWSOM provide to students to further prepare them for boards (i.e. will exams contain questions similar to previous COMLEX-USA exam questions)?

    In addition to the integrated, comprehensive and spiral DO curriculum, UIWSOM has invested in Osmosis Prime for all learners, which includes customizable study plans, access to a test bank, and study aids. Learners are required to complete a set number of board questions each unit. In addition, at the end of the second year there are six weeks allocated to board preparation. UIWSOM provides a week of live board prep for all learners, and five additional weeks for individualized study depending on learner needs.

  • How will the style of teaching at UIWSOM best serve the student population in doing well on the COMLEX-USA exam?

    While UIWSOM fully understands the importance of the COMLEX-USA examinations in the DO licensure process, the primary focus of the UIWSOM DO curriculum is on the development of critical thinking skills, clinical reasoning skills, and applied clinical experiences within the community. The majority of the first two years of the curriculum is spent on the integration and application of knowledge, skills, and attitudes relevant to the development of an osteopathic physician – preparing learners for their residencies and careers. At the end of the first two years, learners are given six weeks to prepare for the COMLEX-USA Level 1 examination.

  • Will additional instruction and prep time be provided to students who decide to take the USMLE Step 1 in addition to COMLEX Level 1?

    No. It is up to UIWSOM learners to decide whether they take USMLE or not, and how to prepare.

  • How are learners graded? Will exams be integrated or by subject area? Multiple choice and/or essay in additional to practical exams?

    During the first two years at UIWSOM, the integrated DO curriculum is divided into several units, each with an overarching theme (e.g., Molecules, Cells, and Compassion). During each unit, learners take formative assessments which assess their mastery of higher-order learning outcomes. There are also self- and group assessments during SIGS wrap-ups, weekly essays, lab assessments of clinical skills, and reflective practices. At the end of each unit, an assessment week consists of summative assessments that reflect the formative assessments in scope and style.


  Student-Run Clinic

  Student Affairs

  • What support systems are in place?  (Faculty mentors, learning communities etc.)

    The Director of Student Success provides the academic support are directs learners to the appropriate resources. Learners are encouraged to seek help from faculty during office hours and the Director of Student Success as necessary for their success.

    Resources include guidance on time management, study skills, learning  and personality styles, communication, counseling and student disabilities to assist in developing the skills necessary for success in the UIWSOM integrated learner-centered curriculum.    

    Learners meet in mission groups upon their arrival and to support their transition into medical school. Additional resources are available to assist learners and provide holistic supports to balance their academic, personal, and professional development.

  • Where do I find the required list of immunizations for the UIWSOM?

    Please go to the Office of Student Affairs website for information on requirements and submission of documentation to Castle Branch.

  • What is Castle Branch?

    Castle Branch is a national background screening and compliance management tracking system that will be utilized by the UIWSOM for maintenance of all required documentations for all our UIWSOM medical students. The package includes a Criminal Background Check, Drug Testing, and Document Tracking of all required immunizations and forms. The UIWSOM Package is UT98. There is no cost to you at this time, all fees for the services by Castle Branch will be paid by the UIWSOM from student fees. Each UIWSOM student will use their AACOMAS ID number as their Personal Identification Number (PIN). 

    Students are advised to view the Student Tutorial before beginning the process to Castle Branch at myCB Student Tutorial.

  • When is the 2018 White Coat Ceremony scheduled?

    The UIW School of Osteopathic Medicine White Coat Ceremony is your initial entry into the osteopathic medical profession. We are excited to provide you with your first white coat which is a concrete symbol of your new professional role. The attire for the ceremony is professional but keep in mind the weather in San Antonio in July will be very warm. The ceremony will be Saturday, July 28, 2018 1:00-3:00pm at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts (map).

  • Should I buy my own scrubs?

    The UIWSOM will purchase two sets of scrubs for each learner-one grey and one black. They will not include the UIWSOM logo since you are required to always wear your UIWSOM student ID. Confirm your size on the Scrubs Sizing Guide sizes available and complete the DO 2022 Intake Survey by May 31, 2018. The UIWSOM will purchase scrubs from Sunshine Medical Uniforms in San Antonio, Texas (2 locations). If you are in town, feel free to go in and try on the scrubs to determine your best size. You may also purchase your own sets of scrubs for use in the Anatomy lab. The only requirement is that scrub sets have the same color top and bottom.

  • Will UIW offer student health insurance?

    Yes, UIW offers a nationwide PPO network through Consolidated Health Plans: A PCHS Multiplan Company. This coverage includes accessibility to both physical and behavioral healthcare services, 24/7 coverage. All UIWSOM students are required to have medical and behavioral health insurance coverage while enrolled at the UIWSOM.

  • What student organizations are currently available at UIWSOM?

    UIWSOM has a growing number of student organizations, all of which are designed to connect our students with a variety of different interests as well as provide services to both our campus and our community. To see the list of current organizations please see the Current Organizations page of the UIWSOM Student Affairs website.

  • What is the process for having UIWSOM recognize an organization that is not currently listed?

    Registration for new organizations occurs every fall and is open from August 1st to August 31st. During that time new organizations must meet the following criteria you:

    1. Read through the UIWSOM Organization Handbook

    2. At least 10 interested parties

    3. Some form of organized governing structure (i.e. Officers, Executive Board, etc.)

    4. Proof that all Learners/Students in Leadership positions are in good academic standing

    5. A faculty advisor who is willing to oversee the group

    6. Have at least two (2) representatives attend UIWSOM Organization Training (will be offered annually each fall).

    7. Some form of Constitution or bylaws that aligns with the UIWSOM Mission (please note that if you are part of a national organization that has guiding principles, we would just need bylaws that correspond with the Mission)

    Once you have all of these things, you can register your Club on CardinalsSync: https://orgsync.com/home/223

    1. Select Organizations

    2. Register New Organization

    3. School of Osteopathic Medicine

    You can also access CardinalsSync through your myWord portal on the UIW website.

    Please note that each organization is responsible for their own fundraising, and maintenance of their budgets, however, OSA is the final signature for all purchases.

    Additionally, in order to keep in line with the UIWSOM Mission, all organizations must sponsor at least one community outreach/engagement activity each year.

  • When are elections held?

    Each organization has different election criteria based upon the national standard of their respective groups. Generally, all new officers would be elected into their offices between August 1st and August 31st each year. This election schedule allows all organization to establish their leadership prior to the organization renewal deadline of August 31st.

    Student Government Association (SGA) would be the exception, as first (1st) year officers hold elections in the fall, elections for second (2nd) year officers will occur on March 31st each year, having current first (1st) years (incoming second (2nd) year student) formally taking office in April 1st.

  • How do I apply for accommodations at UIWSOM?  What documentation do I need?

    Step 1: Contact UIW Student Disability Services

    Current and prospective learners at UIWSOM should email: hoeflm@uiwtx.edu  to schedule an intake appointment.  Appointments can take place via phone, Zoom, or in person.

    Step 2: Gather your medical/professional documentation

    To be recognized for services and accommodations through the University’s Office of Student Disability Services, a student (full-time or part-time) with a disability/chronic medical condition should provide documentation on letterhead and signed by the appropriate, licensed educational, mental health, or medical professional who is: not related to the student and who is licensed/certified in the area for which the diagnosis is made.

    Documentation requirements vary by situation. The Coordinator of Student Disability Services will talk to the student about documentation during the initial conversation. No student should delay meeting with the Student Disability Services out of concern for not having appropriate paperwork.

    Generally, documentation should provide the following information:

    1. Date of evaluation

    2. Specific diagnosis

    3. Method of evaluation/examination

    4. Specific limitation(s) with respect to the current impact of the disability in the University and related educational environments as it relates to the accommodations requested

    5. Medication – the expectation of how use of specific, prescribed medications will impact the functioning of the individual.

    Documentation by disability:

    Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD/ADD)

    Blind or Visually Impaired

    Chronic Medical/Systemic Conditions

    Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing

    Learning Disabilities

    Physical/Mobility Impairments

    Psychological Disorders

    Traumatic Brain Injury

    Learners are encouraged to send disability documentation to UIWSOM Director of Student Success in advance of an intake appointment.  However, learners may also bring documentation to the appointment. Learners are encouraged to provide all historical documentation for evaluation. Guidance will be provided regarding the extent and type of documentation needed after an intake appointment.

    Learners who do not have documentation of their condition, and/or who believe they have an undiagnosed condition, should contact SDS to consult.

    Step 3: Make a Formal Request for Accommodations

    Students can make a formal request through the University’s Student Disability Services. You will be asked to provide information about your disability, history of accommodations, and to make requests for specific accommodations. You will also be afforded an opportunity to upload documentation. 

    Students are encouraged to submit their request for formal accommodations

    to UIW SDS in advance of an intake appointment. However, the learner can bring the completed form to your intake or complete it during or after the meeting. Completing the form online does not constitute formal registration.                                                                                                                                                   

    Step 4: Determine eligibility and accommodations

    UIW SDS and UIWSOM Director of Student Success will review all requests for accommodations, taking into consideration the information provided during the intake meeting, all disability documentation, and the requirements of the School of Medicine to determine eligibility for services, and, if appropriate, recommend specific accommodations.

    Step 5: Orientation Session with UIWSOM Office of Student Affairs

    If a learner is eligible for accommodations, they will meet with the UIWSOM Director of Student Success to review policies and procedures regarding the provision of accommodations.

    After the initial registration with Student Disability Services, students wishing to receive classroom accommodations for each subsequent semester/year must submit a "request for letters of accommodation" form each time that they register for new classes (for student doctors this is on a yearly basis, for MBS on a semester basis).

  • How can Student Success assist me?
     Student Success is dedicated to provide holistic support to balance academic, personal and professional development; and, enhance all levels of academic performance and personal well-being to promote student excellence, advance learning skills and strategies for students at University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine. Service includes:
    • Academic counseling
    • Individual and group advising
    • Learning and student strategy assessments
    • Writing support
     Additionally, learners may experience challenges as they transition into their program and may consult on or attend Student Success Seminars on the topics below:
    • Adjustment to medical school
    • Balancing quality of life
    • Communication
    • Conflict resolution
    • Improving oral presentations
    • Learning styles & strategies
    • Motivation
    • Personality assessment
    • Personal health
    • Stress management
    • Student Disability Services & accommodations
    • Study skills
    • Test anxiety
    • Test taking skills
    • Time management
    • Wellness and academic resources 


    Student Success provides screening for learning disabilities, attention disorders, learning styles and personality types.  Referrals may be made for additional testing and evaluation when appropriate.  Student Success guides students through the processes involved in requesting accommodations for an identified physical or learning disability.


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