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The MISSION of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) is to prepare globally minded, community-focused physicians for the rural and medically underserved areas of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and the Appalachian Region, and to improve human health especially of those most in need. Core to this mission is the need to instill professionalism, integrity, duty, compassion, altruism, knowledge, critical thinking and a sense of responsibility for the health of the community in which graduates will practice. The Global Health program at VCOM provides care to underserved and disadvantaged populations throughout the rural and medically underserved portions of our mission areas and developing countries.
The development of a community or a country is dependent upon the health of the citizens within. Without good health, the economy of a region will not improve. Essential to the practice of osteopathic medicine is the belief that one is only healthy when they are healthy in mind, body and spirit. Around the world, VCOM develops partnerships to improve the spiritual and social well-being of the communities we serve. In Southwest Virginia as well as in Spartanburg, South Carolina, VCOM partners with free clinics, faith based organizations and other non-profit organizations to provide preventive medicine and primary care outreach programs.
VCOM is committed to a sustainable approach to international outreach. VCOM does not provide the visiting medical team approach internationally and has chosen instead to apply an approach that will lead to sustainable improvement in developing healthy communities. VCOM partners with medical schools for the free exchange of education and ideas, leading to improvements in quality of care in the country by both schools. To assure ongoing care for a population, VCOM works with the Ministry of Health to partner on preventive medicine programs, national health clinics and sustainable improvements for health facilities. VCOM also partners with other non-profit foundations to combine resources and efforts for the greatest impact. In the Dominican Republic, VCOM partners with Punta Cana Foundation and USAID programs as well as with the Ministry of Health to operate a year round clinic in a poor area of Veron. The goal of this partnership is to carry out prevention campaigns in the region and to provide ACLS, ATLS and first responder training. In Honduras, VCOM partners with Baxter Institute to provide a sustainable clinic for a poor neighborhood in Tegucigalpa and to carry out various preventive medicine and primary care campaigns with follow-up through that facility. Finally, in El Salvador, VCOM partners with Evangelical University, the Ministry of Health and three local orphanages to provide ongoing care for orphaned children, a program for young mothers and to provide ongoing care to a remote village.
Periodically VCOM is called upon to provide medical relief in the face of disaster. The experience in working in developing countries as well as the disaster training on campus, allow students to develop the skills to provide care in the most extreme of conditions. Since 2004, VCOM faculty and students have provided relief to eight communities following disasters including care to the victims of the tsunami in India, to hurricane disaster victims in Biloxi, Pass Christian, and Waveland Mississippi following Katrina, relief following floods in Missouri, on campus following the Virginia Tech tragedy, tornado relief in Suffolk, Virginia, Glade Springs, Virginia, and Birmingham, Alabama, and internationally following floods in Honduras.
Please visit our International and Appalachian Medical Mission web pages to explore the many projects of VCOM's global health programs.
Dixie Tooke-Rawlins, DO
Dean and Vice President, VCOM
View our latest International and Appalachian Outreach Programs brochure with information on recent trips as well as how you can help our goal to provide health care for those most in need.