Obstetrics and gynecology is a division of the Specialty Medicine Department and consists of the study of a central body of women’s health issues, primarily obstetrics and gynecology. The goal of the obstetrics and gynecology curriculum is to provide students in the College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) with a foundation of knowledge and experience in women’s healthcare, including opportunities to observe and participate in didactics, clinical activities, and research involving women’s health. Should a student choose to pursue a career in obstetrics and/or gynecology, their exposure to the field at DMU will provide an introduction to the options and opportunities available in this field of medicine.
COM students receive a series of didactic sessions in obstetrics and gynecology in the second year. In addition, they participate in simulation laboratory experiences in normal labor and delivery. They also learn the correct abdominal, pelvic, and breast examination technique in a gynecology laboratory with professional gynecologic teaching associates with skills to teach medical students how to perform pelvic examinations by providing feedback to the students regarding manual and communication skills.
Students in the third year are required to successfully complete a four week clerkship in obstetrics and gynecology involving direct patient care in hospital and office settings. The faculty for these clerkships is not only in the Des Moines area, but many sites nationwide. The student experience is a structured schedule involving clinic activities, labor and delivery room experience, and gynecologic operating room supervised time. This is a clerkship designed to develop skills in performing pelvic examinations, assisting with gynecologic surgical procedures, and performing supervised normal births and assisting with Cesarean sections. The clerkship is also designed to develop skills in decision-making and communication with women patients through direct clinical experiences and didactic sessions. Fourth year electives in the specialty are available by arrangements in numerous locations . In addition, there are a variety of learning opportunities in women’s health through international experiences via the Global Health Department at DMU, with supervised healthcare experiences in underserved areas of the world.
DMU has a simulation lab experience beginning in the second year, with one-on –one supervision by clinical faculty in a normal birth setting. Students are coached by the faculty in the manual skills of a birth, using a mannequin designed for the lab. The experience also involves didactics and discussion of recognition of the abnormal clinical events. The second year student also has the opportunity to participate in a simulation of an obstetrical complication and its management, with direct supervision of clinical faculty. This experience provides the framework for clinical skills to be further developed in a residency setting.