LMU opens West Knox med school

Sandra ClarkOn the Grow, West Hills

Gov. Bill Lee will be in Knoxville Friday, Dec. 6, for the grand opening of  the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine at Lincoln Memorial University-Knoxville. The school at 9737 Cogdill Road enrolled its inaugural class on July 29.

LMU Board of Trustees, administration, students, faculty and staff will attend the ceremony from 11-11:30 a.m. The community is invited.

LMU-DCOM was established in 2007 in Harrogate, Tenn., with the mission of placing primary care doctors in Appalachia and the surrounding area. Since then it has graduated 1,327 doctors, many of whom work in East Tennessee and the surrounding states. As an additional location, DCOM at LMU-Knoxville offers the same four-year, full-time academic and clinical curriculum granting the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree.

Dr. David A. Plundo is dean and chief administrative officer of the new DCOM at LMU-Knoxville location. Dr. Plundo is a board-certified family physician, holding a master’s degree in public health and a DO degree from Des Moines University in Iowa. He joined LMU in June.

The med school program is four years after a four-year bachelor’s degree. There’s a minimum three years of residency, for total training of at least 11 years. In addition, aspiring physicians must pass three sets of national board exams to enter a residency program. Dr. Plundo said the LMU programs are affiliated with area hospitals including Covenant and Tennova.

In 2017, LMU purchased the 11-acre property in West Knoxville and undertook a major renovation to transform two existing buildings into state-of-the art facilities. The main academic building at LMU-Knoxville is over 110,000 square feet and will support the academic and clinical skills training of osteopathic medical students with four auditoriums (including a 321-seat and a 360-seat), 26 mock clinical exam rooms, two pod gross anatomy labs, eight high fidelity simulation labs and a classroom with 46 osteopathic manipulation tables.

The osteopathic physicians will practice in under-served areas with a patient-centered focus, he said. Osteopathic medicine provides all of the benefits of modern medicine including prescription drugs, surgery and the use of technology to diagnose disease and evaluate injury.

The inaugural class is balanced, with 62 males and 63 females. Twenty-five percent of the students are from Tennessee and almost half are from the Southern Appalachian region.

Summer Martin, director of public relations for medical programs at LMU, contributed to this report.

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