July 10, 2018

Getting to know Rocky Vista University

By SGHW Staff

An Interview with Dean David Park, DO

Recently, we had the chance to get to know Dean David Park, DO and learn about Rocky Vista University’s Southern Utah campus. The Ivins, UT location is the second medical school and first osteopathic school in Utah. It is not necessarily a new medical school, but rather a new campus of an established medical school founded in 2006 in Parker, CO. We were excited to learn more about how their new campus is getting involved in our southern Utah community and what they have to offer.

What makes Rocky Vista University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine unique?

We are one of 51 campuses of Osteopathic medical schools in the country and we are ranked highly in national board scores. We also embrace technology and innovation and we train our students for the 21st century so all students get ultrasound training and simulation training. In other words, before they practice on real patients, they will work on a $100k+ mannequin that can simulate various types of scenarios kind of like NASA experiences with the various simulation training scenarios they provide for space travel. By the time they see a real patient for the first time in a hospital or medical setting, they feel much more comfortable and have more experience because of the technology we are able to incorporate. 

What is Osteopathic Medicine and what types of professionals graduate from your program?

There are two types of fully licensed physicians in the United States, the traditional MD and the DO. The DO stands for Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. It is a form of medicine created in the United States that was created by an MD that felt that medicine needed to be more than surgery and medication. The first tenant of Osteopathic Medicine focuses on the idea that the body is a unit of body, mind and spirit, thus, we treat the patient as a full person. The second tenant is that the human body is capable of self-healing, self-maintenance and self-regulation. The third tenant is that structure and functionally are integrally related. Thus, we need to consider both the form and structure of the body as well as the organs and mechanisms held by that form and structure. 

The practical component is that we learn osteopathic manipulative treatments (OMT) to add to our practice which help impact form and thus help address function. 

After students complete the medical school training in 4 years at our campus, the DO students choose medical specialties (residency training) just like MD programs such as family medicine, internal medicine, etc. – they have the same options as MD students. 

How many students attend RVU? How do they get involved in the community?

We have 125 students/year and we just finished our first academic year. The first cohort will start their second year and we will have a new cohort of 125 students coming with 250 total students on campus for the upcoming academic year. Eventually we will have four cohorts with a total of 500 students.  

We expect our students to engage in service as part of their training. They get involved on university wide service events as well as engaging in service groups self-formed by students. For example, many students will form special interest groups where they will go to local schools and teach about medicine and wellness. They will also be involved in the marathon and local races to provide medical coverage or engage in non-profit initiatives. Many of them enjoy mentoring and inspiring younger students in the community. My belief is that we learn the most through teaching, so, mentoring and teaching our future generations is important to us. In a few weeks, we will be running our first pre-med academy for students in Iron County and Washington County where chosen students interested in medical school will have a 3 day intensive medical training to learn more about medical school and medicine in general.

What do you wish the community knew more about RVU?

We would love for them to realize that Southern Utah has it’s own medical school and to be proud its one of the top Osteopathic schools in the country. We want to partner with the community as much as possible because healthcare is a community and we expect our staff and students to collaborate. We want to be a positive, contributing force to the community moving forward and want to find ways to partner, support and share in positive initiatives in Southern Utah. 

For more information about Rocky Vista’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in Ivins, UT, visit www.rvu.edu

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