I am Nissar A. Darmani, Chair of the Department of Basic Medical Sciences (BMS) and Associate Dean for Basic Science for Research for the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP-Pomona) both at our Pomona, California, and Lebanon, Oregon (COMP-Northwest = COMP-NW) campuses at the Western University of Health Sciences (WUHS). I joined COMP in February, 2005 to help further develop and organize the well-established teaching mission of the department and to expand basic research in biomedical sciences. The department of BMS is one of two basic science departments currently operating at COMP, the other is the Department of Medical Anatomical Sciences (MAS). With 26 faculty members in the Department of BMS and 16 in the Department of Anatomy, the two departments cover the COMP curricular and research needs in medical biochemistry, microbiology, immunology, pharmacology, physiology and anatomical sciences for both Pomona and Lebanon campuses. Teaching, basic and clinical research is conducted in close collaboration between the various departments at COMP as well as in conjunction with other WUHS colleges. COMP, established in 1977 with its two basic science departments, was the first and founding college of the university. In the 1980s – 2000s, eight additional, independent colleges (Allied Health Professions, Dental Medicine, Graduate College of Biomedical Sciences, Optometry, Pharmacy, Podiatric Medicine, Graduate Nursing and Veterinary Medicine) were established, making the nine present colleges of WUHS. WUHS is deeply invested in the future and is rapidly expanding its campus in downtown Pomona, CA and the class extension of COMP at the Lebanon, Oregon campus (COMP-NW). COMP-NW’s first class was inaugurated in August 2011.
Education is one of our primary academic missions. Our approach to medical teaching is interprofessional education grounded with the philosophy that physicians are part of the Health Provider Team who must be well prepared, life-long learners who keep pace with the new advancements in the life sciences. We believe that this philosophy is the platform upon which future health care excellence is built. Another major mission of COMP is basic and clinical research with the bench to bedside approach.
BMS and MAS faculty members have adopted a systems-based medical curriculum to integrate the basic and clinical sciences. This curriculum provides a firm scientific foundation for the medical education of our students and introduces our osteopathic medical students to the clinical world in their first two years of education through interactions with in-house and guest clinicians. Our faculty actively continues their engagement with the students electronically throughout their medical education. COMP is uniquely positioned to prepare well-educated and compassionate physicians and medical scientists who will develop into highly skilled future practitioners and innovators that will not only deliver effective health care but also become leaders of medicine.