Expand international pathways to become a DO

Expand international pathways to become a DO

All DOs in the world are currently trained in the United States, and the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine is one of the few schools of osteopathic medicine that historically accepts Canadian students into its program.

For Canadian students like Philip van Huigenbos, OMS-IV, who resonate deeply with osteopathic principles, pursuing a career in medicine has proven difficult. Originally from Vancouver, Van Huigenbos was first introduced to the field of osteopathic medicine in undergraduate school and was immediately intrigued by the holistic principles combined with the evidence-based manipulative medicine approach. Because Canada has no colleges of osteopathic medicine, he began looking for schools that would sponsor him in the United States.

Van Huigenbos was delighted to discover that MSUCOM has a Canadian initiative program, which reserves places for Canadian students to study at MSUCOM and offers a scholarship to reduce international tuition fees closer to the prevailing state rate. In 2019, he enrolled in the class of 2023 and in 2020, he discovered the Canadian Association of Osteopathic Medical Students.

Founded in 2011, COMSA aims to raise awareness of the practice of osteopathic medicine across Canada, as well as to support and represent Canadian citizens studying in American osteopathic medical schools. The organization assists Canadian students with the application process, conducts seminars to develop the profession, and advocates for Canadian citizens seeking a DO degree. COMSA is also lobbying regulatory bodies for unrestricted licensure and credential protection for Canadian DO physicians.

Now as Co-Vice President of COMSA, Van Huigenbos is proud of how he and the Board of Directors have lowered the barriers preventing Canadian students from entering American osteopathic medical schools and exploring the opportunities to practice as a DO after graduation. Over the past year, COMSA has focused on formalizing its role to better understand the needs of Canadian students and has partnered with the Canadian Osteopathic Association to merge student membership into the professional membership.

To learn more, visit com.msu.edu

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