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Special Communication  |   August 2020
Forty Years of University of New England's Research and Scholarship and its Impact in Maine, New England, and Beyond
Author Notes
  • Financial Disclosures: None reported. 
  • Support: None reported. 
  •  *Address correspondence to Jane Carreiro, DO, University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, 11 Hills Beach Rd, Biddeford Maine 04005-xxxx. Email: jcarreiro@une.edu
     
Article Information
Medical Education
Special Communication   |   August 2020
Forty Years of University of New England's Research and Scholarship and its Impact in Maine, New England, and Beyond
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, August 2020, Vol. 120, 540-542. doi:https://doi.org/10.7556/jaoa.2020.088
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, August 2020, Vol. 120, 540-542. doi:https://doi.org/10.7556/jaoa.2020.088
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1
Abstract

The University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNE COM) was founded by a group of osteopathic physicians who wanted to ensure that the practice of Osteopathic Medicine would endure in northern New England and that patients in the region would continue to receive the best health care possible. UNECOM merged with St. Francis College in 1978 to form the University of New England (UNE). 1  UNE has grown and developed over the years, building on the shared Franciscan and osteopathic traditions of integrating philosophy and intellect. Following the 1996 merger with Westbrook College in Portland, Maine, UNE now comprises 3 campuses, 13 additional health profession programs, 6 Centers of Excellence in Research, and strong undergraduate programs that link the environment, people, and community in a “One Health” concept.

The University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNECOM) sits along the rocky coast of southern Maine. UNECOM has graduated more than 3300 physicians who practice throughout the country and around the world. Sixty-two percent of our graduates are in primary care (family medicine, pediatrics, or internal medicine) and more than 26% of all graduates practice in rural and underserved areas. UNECOM's impact on Maine is particularly notable. We are the number-one provider of physicians for the state of Maine. Sixty-one percent of UNECOM alumni practice in primary care, and 40% practice in rural and underserved areas. UNECOM graduates practicing primary care in Maine have an annual economic impact of more than 100 million US dollars on the state. 
UNE has significantly grown and developed since its founding and now comprises 3 campuses, 13 additional health profession programs, 6 Centers of Excellence in Research, and strong undergraduate programs that link the environment, person, and community in a One Health concept.1 This expansive, holistic view of health dovetails with the osteopathic tenets of mind, body, and spirit and permeates everything we do at UNECOM.2 Our collaboration with UNE's College of Dental Medicine, College of Health Professions, and College of Pharmacy provides a community of health professions with a multitude of immersion experiences and active learning opportunities for interprofessional education using rural immersion, simulation programs, peer teaching, student-run clinics, and clerkship experiences focusing on health care to underserved populations. 
UNECOM partners with affiliate health care systems located in rural and underserved areas throughout New England and the Middle Atlantic states. We have found that early student exposure to these communities creates opportunities for personal and professional connections. Ultimately, these partnerships benefit the health systems and people in those communities, providing a pipeline of physicians. We are the only provider of physicians to those health systems with which we have had more than 10 years of partnership, providing twice as many physicians as other medical schools. 
The innovative and committed osteopathic physicians who founded UNECOM saw the future clearly and invested in it. Those forward-thinking values are imbued in our faculty, professional staff, and students, who continually look for ways to improve our commitment to health for everyone. Our curriculum was redesigned in 2012 with the “end” (ie, rotations and residency) in mind. In 2011, we surveyed our clinical clerkship sites, asking what skills and behaviors they would like to see in every third-year student. A consensus of 9 activities emerged, which we then integrated with the osteopathic competencies to develop our curricular goals. The Association of American Medical Colleges published the guidelines on CORE Entrustable Professional Activities for Entering Residency in 2014,3 which included 8 of UNE's 9 consensus expectations (osteopathic philosophy was not included). This terminology was then adopted by the faculty and became the driving force and guiding principle for student outcomes for the curriculum. 
The curriculum uses expert faculty presentations with small-group, team-based, and peer teaching to integrate the biomedical and clinical sciences and fuses the study of human anatomy with training in clinical skills. First-time student pass rates for the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners’ Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination of the United States Level 2-CE, and Level 2-PE have typically surpassed the national average over the past 5 years (Table 1). UNECOM's first-pass match rates for the National Resident Matching Program have surpassed the national average for all UNECOM seniors (Table 2). 
Table.1.
University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine First-Time Pass Rates for COMLEX-USA
Testing cycle First-time pass rate, % National pass rate, %4
First-time pass rates for COMLEX-USA Level 1
 May 2013–April 2014 95.0 92.0
 May 2014–April 2015 95.1 93.9
 May 2015–April 2016 95.3 92.3
 May 2016–April 2017 94.4 92.7
 May 2017–April 2018 98.8 96.0
First time pass rates for COMLEX Level 2 CE
 June 2013–May 2014 99.1 92.3
 June 2014–May 2015 90.8 92.6
 June 2015–May 2016 93.3 92.2
 June 2016–May 2017 96.0 93.2
 June 2017–May 2018 94.7 92.8
First time pass rates for COMLEX-USA Level 2 PE
 July 2013–June 2014 97.2 92.6
 July 2014–February 2015 92.5 92.1
 March 2015–February 2016 94.6 93
 March 2016–February 2017 94.7 92.9
 March 2017–March 2018 92.4 93.2

Abbrevieations: AOA, American Osteopathic Association; ACGME, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education; CE, Cognitive Evaluation; COMLEX-USA, Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination of the United States; PE, Performance Evaluation.

Table.1.
University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine First-Time Pass Rates for COMLEX-USA
Testing cycle First-time pass rate, % National pass rate, %4
First-time pass rates for COMLEX-USA Level 1
 May 2013–April 2014 95.0 92.0
 May 2014–April 2015 95.1 93.9
 May 2015–April 2016 95.3 92.3
 May 2016–April 2017 94.4 92.7
 May 2017–April 2018 98.8 96.0
First time pass rates for COMLEX Level 2 CE
 June 2013–May 2014 99.1 92.3
 June 2014–May 2015 90.8 92.6
 June 2015–May 2016 93.3 92.2
 June 2016–May 2017 96.0 93.2
 June 2017–May 2018 94.7 92.8
First time pass rates for COMLEX-USA Level 2 PE
 July 2013–June 2014 97.2 92.6
 July 2014–February 2015 92.5 92.1
 March 2015–February 2016 94.6 93
 March 2016–February 2017 94.7 92.9
 March 2017–March 2018 92.4 93.2

Abbrevieations: AOA, American Osteopathic Association; ACGME, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education; CE, Cognitive Evaluation; COMLEX-USA, Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination of the United States; PE, Performance Evaluation.

×
Table. 2.
University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine Match Results 2016-2019
Characteristic Class year
2016 2017 2018 2019
Class size 124 165 179 178
Number matched, No. (%) 118 (95) 161 (98) 168 (94) 175 (98)
Matches by category, No. (%)
AOA 32 (27) 57 (35) 35 (21) 23 (13)
ACGME 79 (67) 91 (57) 123 (73) 143 (82)
Military 7 13 10 9 (5)

Abbrevieations: AOA, American Osteopathic Association; ACGME, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

Table. 2.
University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine Match Results 2016-2019
Characteristic Class year
2016 2017 2018 2019
Class size 124 165 179 178
Number matched, No. (%) 118 (95) 161 (98) 168 (94) 175 (98)
Matches by category, No. (%)
AOA 32 (27) 57 (35) 35 (21) 23 (13)
ACGME 79 (67) 91 (57) 123 (73) 143 (82)
Military 7 13 10 9 (5)

Abbrevieations: AOA, American Osteopathic Association; ACGME, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

×
UNECOM has been able to make the transition from a mission focused primarily on teaching, training, and professional service to a mission that includes an increasingly rich environment of research and scholarship. Every year, our medical students have the opportunity to participate in 3 research symposia. In 2019, our fall research forum attracted more than 400 medical students, faculty, and guests, and 64 medical students were involved in either oral or poster presentations. The Maine Osteopathic Association Midwinter Symposium located in Portland maintains the practice of osteopathic medicine in Maine. Every year, it hosts a research forum with support from UNECOM. The number of medical students presenting poster presentations has been exponentially increasing in size. The Northeast Osteopathic Medical Education Network also has an Annual Research and Scholarship Forum supporting UNECOM's 17 clerkships and has grown to 150 research posters. These opportunities are critical for osteopathic medical students to present their research and be recognized for their work.5,6 
Community and environment were important to our founders, and they remain the underpinnings of UNECOM today. UNECOM is emblematic of New England values and resources. Our commitment to supporting the mind, body, and spirit of our students, faculty, staff, and community is heartfelt. Our gratitude to those who took a chance on the future is ever-present, as is our sense of responsibility to live up to that vision and trust—to envision the next 40 years and lead the way forward mindfully. Most UNE employees are “lifers,” making UNE part of their emotional family: employees do not leave, and graduates return. This sense of community, belonging, and support is one of our proudest achievements, and it is what makes UNECOM, UNECOM.1 
References
One health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. https://www.cdc.gov/onehealth/index.html. Accessed July 8, 2020.
Tenets of Osteopathic Medicine. American Osteopathic Association website. https://osteopathic.org/about/leadership/aoa-governance-documents/tenets-of-osteopathic-medicine/. Accessed July 9, 2020.
Hawkins RE, Welcher CM, Holmboe ES, et al. Implementation of competency-based medical education: are we addressing the concerns and challenges?. Med Educ. 2015;49(11):1086-1102. doi: 10.1111/medu.12831 [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Exam performance data. National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners website. https://www.nbome.org/exams-assessments/comlex-usa/performance/. Accessed July 9, 2020.
Brannan GD. Growing research among osteopathic residents and medical students: a consortium-based research education continuum model. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2016116(5):310-315. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2016.061 [CrossRef]
Clark BC, Blazyk J. Research in the osteopathic medical profession: roadmap to recovery. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2014114(8):608-614. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2014.124 [CrossRef]
Kelley P, Carreiro J. UNE COM celebrates 40 years of being New England's osteopathic medical school [news release]. May 24, 2019. https://www.une.edu/news/2019/une-com-celebrates-40-years-being-new-england%E2%80%99s-osteopathic-medical-school. Accessed June 23, 2020.
Table.1.
University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine First-Time Pass Rates for COMLEX-USA
Testing cycle First-time pass rate, % National pass rate, %4
First-time pass rates for COMLEX-USA Level 1
 May 2013–April 2014 95.0 92.0
 May 2014–April 2015 95.1 93.9
 May 2015–April 2016 95.3 92.3
 May 2016–April 2017 94.4 92.7
 May 2017–April 2018 98.8 96.0
First time pass rates for COMLEX Level 2 CE
 June 2013–May 2014 99.1 92.3
 June 2014–May 2015 90.8 92.6
 June 2015–May 2016 93.3 92.2
 June 2016–May 2017 96.0 93.2
 June 2017–May 2018 94.7 92.8
First time pass rates for COMLEX-USA Level 2 PE
 July 2013–June 2014 97.2 92.6
 July 2014–February 2015 92.5 92.1
 March 2015–February 2016 94.6 93
 March 2016–February 2017 94.7 92.9
 March 2017–March 2018 92.4 93.2

Abbrevieations: AOA, American Osteopathic Association; ACGME, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education; CE, Cognitive Evaluation; COMLEX-USA, Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination of the United States; PE, Performance Evaluation.

Table.1.
University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine First-Time Pass Rates for COMLEX-USA
Testing cycle First-time pass rate, % National pass rate, %4
First-time pass rates for COMLEX-USA Level 1
 May 2013–April 2014 95.0 92.0
 May 2014–April 2015 95.1 93.9
 May 2015–April 2016 95.3 92.3
 May 2016–April 2017 94.4 92.7
 May 2017–April 2018 98.8 96.0
First time pass rates for COMLEX Level 2 CE
 June 2013–May 2014 99.1 92.3
 June 2014–May 2015 90.8 92.6
 June 2015–May 2016 93.3 92.2
 June 2016–May 2017 96.0 93.2
 June 2017–May 2018 94.7 92.8
First time pass rates for COMLEX-USA Level 2 PE
 July 2013–June 2014 97.2 92.6
 July 2014–February 2015 92.5 92.1
 March 2015–February 2016 94.6 93
 March 2016–February 2017 94.7 92.9
 March 2017–March 2018 92.4 93.2

Abbrevieations: AOA, American Osteopathic Association; ACGME, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education; CE, Cognitive Evaluation; COMLEX-USA, Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination of the United States; PE, Performance Evaluation.

×
Table. 2.
University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine Match Results 2016-2019
Characteristic Class year
2016 2017 2018 2019
Class size 124 165 179 178
Number matched, No. (%) 118 (95) 161 (98) 168 (94) 175 (98)
Matches by category, No. (%)
AOA 32 (27) 57 (35) 35 (21) 23 (13)
ACGME 79 (67) 91 (57) 123 (73) 143 (82)
Military 7 13 10 9 (5)

Abbrevieations: AOA, American Osteopathic Association; ACGME, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

Table. 2.
University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine Match Results 2016-2019
Characteristic Class year
2016 2017 2018 2019
Class size 124 165 179 178
Number matched, No. (%) 118 (95) 161 (98) 168 (94) 175 (98)
Matches by category, No. (%)
AOA 32 (27) 57 (35) 35 (21) 23 (13)
ACGME 79 (67) 91 (57) 123 (73) 143 (82)
Military 7 13 10 9 (5)

Abbrevieations: AOA, American Osteopathic Association; ACGME, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

×