ACOM wins national competition

Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine campus Dothan, AL (Source: ACOM / Facebook)
Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine campus Dothan, AL (Source: ACOM / Facebook)(WTVY News 4)
Published: Apr. 22, 2020 at 7:15 PM CDT
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Students at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine have won a national competition.

Each year teams of students at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine compete against one another in a simulation competition.

The winning team then goes on to compete in the national competition in Washington D.C.

However this year’s competition had to be moved online because of COVID-19.

First year medical student, Kyle Cohen said “this year, due to circumstances, we did a virtual patient challenge.”

Teams of five students normally work hands-on together to diagnose their patient and then decide the best course of action.

“When we have the manikin we can kind of do things simultaneously. We can have one person asking some questions, we can have one person doing an examination,” Cohen explained.

With this year’s competition being moved online, the team had to make some adjustments.

“With it being virtual you can only do one thing at a time, so you have to kind of prioritize what is most important- what do I want to do right now,” Cohen said.

Aside from spotty WIFI the virtual setting didn’t affect the team’s performance as they came in first place.

The online simulation allows the students to interact with their patient just like they would in person.

“You see a patient laying there in the bed. You can move the patient so if you need to see their back you can roll them,” Cohen explained.

Dr. John Giannini, who is the director of ACOM’s Simulation Center, attributes much of the student’s success to the preparation they do on campus.

“They’re fortunate because we get to do it with them every week. A lot of schools don’t do it that frequently,” Dr. Giannini said.

Dr. Giannini prepares difficult scenarios for his students that they may see in competition.

Dr. Giannini says to see his students win “it’s very gratifying to me. That’s the greatest compliment a teacher can get.”

And for Kyle, winning isn’t everything.

“Being able to do that effectively I think is more important than winning a championship. It obviously feels good to know that our little school in Dothan can compete on a national level with physician students from across the country,” he said.

ACOM won the international simulation competition in Paris, France in 2017.