The Section of Community Health strengthens medical education by integrating classroom knowledge and community service, building compassionate medical leaders through interdisciplinary teamwork that improves overall community health and the health of at-risk and underserved populations.

The Section of Community Health explores developing and implementing effective approaches to health promotion and disease prevention at the community level in rural and urban geographical regions. Areas of emphasis include preventing chronic diseases and promoting healthy women, infants, and children. This Section works in partnership with many community-based organizations, and with state and city health departments, to develop programs that span multiple sectors, including community-based early childhood education settings and schools, primary care, housing, and community settings, including faith-based organizations and social service providers.

The scholarly area focuses on the development of knowledge and skills necessary for addressing health challenges of diverse and underserved communities. Curriculum topics include cultural competencies and organizing strategies necessary for working in diverse communities drawing upon the resources and needs of the following community organizations:

Benton Hospice
Boys and Girls Club
Lebanon Fire District
Lebanon Senior Center
Lebanon soup Kitchen
VA Home
Planting Seeds of Change
Public Health
School district
Special Olympics
The Oaks
Willamette Manor

Program Description

Community Health is one of six sections in the Department of Population Health. Students are exposed to the important social and environmental determinants of health and develop skills in community assessment, evaluation, and research. The Community Health curriculum empowers future Osteopathic physicians to improve the health of diverse communities and reduce health inequities through innovative scholarship and direct community engagement.

Students will engage in rigorous and longitudinal community experiences with established community partners to assess and reduce health inequities among local underserved communities

COMP/COMP-Northwest supports the idea of the physician is a “servant-leader”. To support that goal, all COMP/COMP-Northwest students to complete 30 hours of community service. Each student will sign-up to five different projects and will be randomly assigned to one of them. This is a program requirement and must be fulfilled in order to obtain the DO degree.


For students interested in additional experiential educational programs that are organized around a specific theme of interest The Longitudinal Tracks programs offer the following programs

  • The Lifestyle Medicine Longitudinal Track
    Longitudinal Chronic Care Course (LC3)
    Biomedical & Clinical Research Track
    Global Health Track
    Rural Health Track
    Business of Medicine
    Anatomy Track

Course Work

Community Service Learning Coursework
During the first three semesters of the medical school, students will be required to complete 30 hours of Community Service Learning (CSL) and submit a Reflection Paper

A total of 30 hours is required during the first three semesters (fall and spring of 1st year and fall of 2nd year).
If the assigned project fails to provide the required number of hours, students must contact the Director of service learning projects as early as possible to be reassigned to another project

The Reflection Paper concerning the students’ assigned project and an evaluation of the project. The reflection paper should be between 1 to 2 pages in length- single spaced.

A list of students completing the requirements will be submitted to the Registrar’s office as documentation of fulfillment of the graduation requirement.

Track Electives Coursework
Distinction tracks are educational paths that help students at pursue interests in global health, lifestyle medicine, rural health, or research. These tracks integrate with the basic curriculum, and enrich it through special clinical, academic and research opportunities.

Students are expected to complete the requirements of their selected Track according to the schedule below in order to remain in good standing in the Track.

Lecture and workshop-based experiences from outside presenters and track faculty that cover track specific principles.

Implementation and completion of a capstone project or participation in rotation that allows for real-life experience and a better understanding of the selected track concepts introduced in the first two years.

Community Projects

Community Service Learning Projects

Boys and Girls Club: working with community youth with positive life-changing information leading to a healthy productive future and life.

Planting Seeds of Change: students assist school educators and community members as they teach students about sustainable gardens, the farmers market, and how to cook what is grown. Students work alongside students as they plant, grow, harvest, and then consume the produce in their schools cafeteria.

Community Schools: working with Community Schools and creating and delivering exercise classes, nutrition and health information, mini-medical school classes, one-on-one tutoring, personal mentoring and medical school tours to encourage youth to graduate and attend college.

Homeless Shelter: work with guests to prepare and serve meals, work in the thrift store, on the 9-acre farm, or wood lot providing educational workshops on healthy lifestyles topics.

Health Career Ladder: work with local youth in grades 6 – 12 and their parents on the importance of attending college and future opportunity’s in healthcare professions.

Lebanon Fire District: students who have served as an EMT, Fire Fighting or First Responder are eligible for this service learning project to perform various volunteer activities throughout the community.

Soup Kitchen: assist in the cooking and serving food to the community

Hospice Service: to provide care and support for individuals, and families facing serious illness or end-of-life.

Assisted Living Facilities: assistance with daily living tasks for senior and disabled persons.

Special Olympics: assist with year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Public Health: assist with health assessments and improvement plans to address the health needs of the community.

Veterans Home: work with veteran residents to maximize normal living environments and routines, and a sense of community, and quality of life

Track Electives

Longitudinal Track Electives

The Lifestyle Medicine Longitudinal Track
Students acquire skills in nutrition, exercise and stress management education through innovative hands-on training.

Longitudinal Chronic Care Course (LC3)
Students are paired with a patient living with a chronic disease to experience healthcare through their patients’ eyes.

Biomedical & Clinical Research Track
Students acquire skills necessary to conduct scientific studies and participate in laboratory, clinical or osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) research projects under a mentor of their choice.

Global Health Track
Students gain an understanding of why global health initiatives have the potential to reduce poverty, build stronger economies and promote peace.

Rural Health Track
Students learn about issues pertinent to the practice of medicine and addressing issues of population health in rural and/or underserved communities.

Business of Medicine
Students are introduced to business skills necessary to understand healthcare delivery systems, lead multi-disciplinary teams and apply data analytics.

Applied Anatomy Track
The focus of the track will be educating students about the various facets of surgical practice, procedures-based medicine and proper technique common to interventional medical practice.


 Kinders explore science at med school
Lebanon Express article and image
“It was hard to tell who was having more fun at the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest on April 16 — the medical students or the kindergartners.”
  Pint-sized doctors invade halls of COMP-Northwest
Albany Democrat Herald article and image
“…The event was sponsored by the Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of Oregon and Western University of Health Science, COMP-Northwest. COMP-Northwest students and staff welcomed youngsters at several stations throughout the medical school including hygiene, the operating room, the skeleton and the heart.”
 Food Day hosted at COMP-Northwest
Albany Democrat Herald Article
“Wednesday also was Food Day, a nationally recognized effort aimed at supporting family farmers and adding more locally grown produce to residents’ diets. For the second year, Ten Rivers Food Web, Western University of Health Sciences (COMP-NW) and Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital organized a free food fair at the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Northwest to mark the event.”
 Your healthy future starts here
Albany Democrat Herald article
“Student club focuses on global community. COMP-Northwest students promote global health awareness.”

 COMP-Northwest students, Helping Hands tend park
Albany Democrat Herald article
“Medical students with Western University of Health Sciences teamed up Saturday afternoon with guests at the Helping Hands homeless shelter of Albany to clean up and beautify Monteith Riverpark.”
 Climbing the health career ladder
Albany Democrat Herald article
“Middle-school students attend fun academies to learn more about science and potential futures.”
 Lebanon school gardens give to community
Albany Democrat Herald article and image
“School gardens in Labanon are growing more than just tomatoes and squash this summer. They’re also growing more opportunities for access to fresh vegetables.”