The mission of ACOM is to "provide quality, learner-centered osteopathic education, research, and service, while promoting graduate medical education, with emphasis on patient-centered, team-based primary care to serve the medically underserved areas of Alabama, the Tri-State area, and the nation." Through the lens of service and collaboration, ACOM research starts in our community and directly benefits the health and welfare of our community, our state, and the nation.
In conjunction with our faculty, network of clinical preceptor sites, graduate medical education (GME) affiliates, students, and community partners, ACOM aims to be a leader in population health, clinical, biomedical, and medical education research. We are dedicated to supporting a rich research culture that serves and builds thriving communities through innovation and discovery.
ACOM supports an ever-evolving research program that engages faculty and students throughout the institution through several initiatives, including dedicated spaces, resources and funding, and research support.
Our 4,000-square-foot Center for Research offers dynamic facilities for biomedical research and collaborative endeavors. Currently, biomedical research faculty are engaged in a number of projects that include cardio-pulmonary and vascular health, cancer research, and brain vasculature. Other projects include computational and predictive modeling of proteins involved in genetic and other diseases with confirmational laboratory analysis. ACOM has been the recipient of several biomedical research grant awards, including those from the National Institutes of Health and American Heart Association.
In addition, the new ACOM Clinical Research Suite is opening at the ACOM Ashford Clinic that will allow ACOM biomedical and clinical faculty to work together on translational research projects. Translational research bridges basic biomedical and clinical research with tools that address critical medical needs, specifically to improve health outcomes. The Clinical Research Suite is a newly renovated addition and will allow ACOM to collect blood and other bodily fluids on research subjects under approved regulatory protocols.
ACOM also supports its mission through population health research, focusing on the social determinants of health (SDOH). Population health is an interdisciplinary approach allowing health professionals and advocates to join health practice and policy for local change through community partnerships and research to improve health outcomes. The SDOH are the "conditions in the places where people live, work, and play that affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes" just as genetics and other risk factors do. For example, economic stability, education access and quality, health care access and quality, a person's neighborhood and built environment, as well as their social and community support all have major impacts on their immediate and long-term health, well-being, and quality of life.
ACOM recognizes the importance of the SDOH and promotes community health not only through research but in practice as well. Utilizing objectives set out in Healthy People 2030, the fifth iteration of the national Healthy People initiative, ACOM is partnering with community organizations to improve the health of our community. For example, ACOM recently received a National Network of Libraries of Medicine award to provide relevant and accurate information to residents of Alabama regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Research efforts at ACOM are also inspired by the innovative approaches to teaching and learning used throughout the ACOM curriculum. ACOM faculty and students are leaders in medical education research across many different areas. Faculty and students have developed research projects throughout the curriculum from clinical skills laboratories to student support services.
ACOM faculty recently received an American Medical Association (AMA) grant award to study the implementation of AMA blood pressure modules integrated across our curriculum. Students and faculty have contributed to medical education literature through researching student learning outcomes in the simulation laboratory.
Technology also plays a large part in our medical education research with several ongoing faculty and student projects involving 3D printing for teaching and learning. Many ACOM faculty also serve as active members of the International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE) and other organizations that emphasize the importance of medical education research. ACOM strives to contribute to educational research to support advances in teaching and learning.
SHARE (Seminars Highlighting ACOM Research and Experiences) is a monthly colloquium to share conference highlights, research projects, ideas, and other projects with the ACOM community. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to participate or suggest a SHARE presenter. All talks are recorded and available here.
First Friday Journal Club is open to all students and faculty who want to present a timely research article and all types of research articles are welcome -- from bench research to clinical to translational to population health and other types of research! Please sign up to lead a journal club!
Check out the ACOM Cureus channel! Cureus is the open access medical journal for a new generation of doctors, researchers, and patients with a mission to eliminate barriers to the generation and dissemination of medical knowledge.