COM Minimum Technical Standards Required for a D.O. Program

All applicants are required to comply with the Technical Standards for the D.O. program. The California Health Sciences University acknowledges Section 504 of the 1973 Vocational Rehabilitation Act and PL 11-336, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 19903, and requires minimum technical standards be present in students accepted into the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) program.

The program at CHSU is a rigorous and challenging academic program that requires students to possess specific characteristics and abilities within the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains, referred to here as technical standards. An applicant or student must be able to combine the functional use of visual, auditory and somatic senses to observe and demonstrate professional knowledge and skills presented in the classroom, laboratories and practice settings.

Conferring the D.O. degree on a student graduating from the COM indicates that each student has demonstrated that they have acquired and can apply the knowledge and professional skills essential to the roles and functions of a practicing physician.

The acquisition and application of these skills ensure the safety of patients served by the student and physician. Therefore, each student must be able to demonstrate proficiency in these skills with or without reasonable accommodation. These skills are as set forth below in the following Technical Standards that each student must possess in order to successfully complete all of the academic/curricular requirements for the D.O. degree.

The University reserves the right to deny admission to any applicant who cannot meet the Technical Standards as set forth below, with reasonable accommodations, as determined by the application process, interview and student disclosure. Every applicant is considered without regard to disability. Applicants are not required to disclose the nature of their disability(ies), if any, to the Admissions Committee. Any applicant with questions about these Technical Standards is strongly encouraged to discuss his/her specific issue(s) with COM Student Affairs prior to the interview process. If appropriate, and upon the request of the applicant, reasonable accommodations will be provided. Once admitted to the program, students will be expected to maintain the Technical Standards and demonstrate them through their coursework, interaction with peers and faculty, and in their professional experiences throughout the program. Reasonable accommodation for persons with documented disabilities will be considered on an individual basis, but a student in the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program must be able to perform in an independent manner. Students who fail to demonstrate the Technical Standards while in the program will be evaluated and appropriate action (e.g., remediation, counseling, or dismissal) will be taken. Because this expectation is separate from academic achievement, simply maintaining a passing GPA is not sufficient to prevent a student from being dismissed from the program. Furthermore, the College of Osteopathic Medicine reserves the right to dismiss any student from the program who either fails to disclose information relevant to their qualifications under the Technical Standards or falls out of compliance with the Technical Standards after admission to the program.


A student must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand, noting nonverbal as well as verbal signals. The student must be able to observe and interpret presented information. Specific vision-related requirements include, but are not limited to the following abilities: visualizing and discriminating findings on monitoring tests; reading written and illustrated material; discriminating numbers and patterns associated with diagnostic and monitoring instruments and tests; reading information on a computer screen and small print on packages or package inserts; distinguishing shapes, colors, markings, and other characteristics of small objects.

Observation requires not only the functional use of the sense of vision, but other sensory modalities as well such as hearing and other somatic senses. For example, observation can be enhanced in some situations by the use of the sense of smell.


An osteopathic medicine student should be able to speak, hear, and observe patients and other health care professionals in order to extract both verbal and non-verbal information, and must be able to communicate effectively with and about patients. Communication (in English) includes speech, reading, writing and computer literacy. The student must be able to perceive and respond appropriately to all types of communication (verbal, non-verbal, written) with faculty, staff, peers, patients, caregivers, family of patients, the public, and all members of the health care team.

Specific requirements include, but are not limited to, the following abilities; reading, writing, speaking and comprehending English with sufficient mastery to accomplish didactic, clinical and laboratory curricular requirements in a timely, professional and accurate manner; eliciting a thorough medical history; and communicating complex findings in appropriate terms that are understood by patients, caregivers, and members of the healthcare team.

Each student must be able to read and record observations and care plans legibly, efficiently, and accurately. Students must be able to prepare and communicate concise but complete summaries of individual activities, decisions and encounters with patients. Students must be able to complete forms and appropriately document activities according to directions in a complete and timely fashion.

Sensory and Motor Coordination and Function

Osteopathic Medicine students must have sufficient motor function to elicit information by palpation, auscultation, percussion, as well as other diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers.

Basic laboratory skills to accomplish basic practice tasks utilizing both gross and fine motor skills, include but are not limited to: being able to perform basic laboratory tests (urinalysis, CBC, blood glucose testing, etc.), carry out diagnostic procedures (endoscopy, paracentesis, etc.) as well as read and interpret EKGs, X-rays and ultrasound images. Other motor activities include performing suturing, first aid and/or cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the clinical setting.

Students must be able to transport himself or herself to off-site clinical settings in a timely manner.

Osteopathic Medicine students must be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care, osteopathic manipulation treatments and emergency treatments to patients. Examples of emergency treatment reasonably required of physicians are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administration of intravenous medication, application of pressure to stop bleeding, opening of obstructed airways, the Heimlich maneuver and performance of basic obstetric maneuvers. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, the ability to stand and equilibrium with the functional use of the senses of touch and vision. Students must be able to lift a minimum of forty (40) lbs. and stand for a minimum of one hour.

Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities

A student should possess sufficient intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities to complete a rigorous and intense didactic and experiential curriculum.

Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, students must be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationship of structures. They must be able to sit in a classroom and participate in a full eight-hour day.

The practice of medicine requires periods of distinct concentration in surgery, trauma, emergency room care and other patient settings. Osteopathic Medicine students must be capable of extended periods of intense concentration and attention.

Students must be able to retain and recall critical information in an efficient and timely manner. Students must be able to identify and acknowledge the limits of their knowledge to others when appropriate and be able to recognize when the limits of their knowledge indicate further study or investigation before making a decision. Students must be able to interpret graphs or charts describing biologic, economic or outcome relationships. They must be able to learn through a variety of modalities including, but not limited to, classroom instruction, small group activities, individual study, preparation and presentation of reports, and use of computer technology. Students are expected to be fully alert and attentive at all times in classroom and clinical settings.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

Students must possess the physical and emotional health required for full utilization of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the care of patients, and the development of effective relationships with patients.

Students must adapt to changing environments and possess coping mechanisms to respond appropriately to continue functioning in the face of uncertainties inherent in academic and clinical environments. Qualities and characteristics that will be assessed during the admission and education process are compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation. Students must recognize and display respect for differences in culture, values, and ethics among patients, faculty, peers, clinical and administrative staff and colleagues. Students must be able to identify and demonstrate appropriate behavior to protect the safety and well-being of patients, faculty, peers, clinical and administrative staff and colleagues. Students must also be able to handle situations appropriately and professionally when those situations may be physically, emotionally, or intellectually stressful, including those situations that must be handled promptly and calmly. At times, this requires the ability to be aware of and appropriately react to one's own immediate emotional responses and environment.

Ethical Values

An applicant and student must demonstrate a professional demeanor, conduct and behavior that are appropriate to his or her standing in the professional degree program. This includes compliance with the administrative rules applicable to the profession of osteopathic medicine and the College of Osteopathic Medicine and the California Health Sciences University. Under all circumstances, students must protect the confidentiality of any and all patient information in their professional and personal communications. Students must meet the ethical standards set forth in the profession of osteopathic medicine.

Osteopathic Skills Labs and Physical Diagnosis Laboratory Policies

All lab courses that include osteopathic manipulation and physical diagnosis/clinical skills courses include demonstrations, practical laboratory experiences and clinical opportunities. These courses require the active participation of all students in the group setting where students, through the active and tactile examination of others along with reciprocal examination, will learn and demonstrate the ability to evaluate and proficiently treat future patients.

Osteopathic physicians utilize palpation (clinically appropriate touching) as part of the osteopathic approach to treatment. As part of the educational process, CHSU-COM students must be able to tolerate being touched, examined and receive osteopathic manipulation by members of all genders, and to touch others (of all genders) in order to acquire the skills necessary for palpation and examination. This palpation is performed in a professional and appropriate manner.

All students are required to participate both as patients and as examiners in the osteopathic skills lab and physical diagnosis lab and examine and be examined by members of the same and opposite gender, including but not limited to nationalities, ethnicities and other diverse groups.

As a graduate from the College of Osteopathic Medicine students have the ability to apply for licensure as a physician in all fifty states of the United States. The license is not restricted to any one particular gender, and therefore Osteopathic Medicine students must demonstrate the ability to practice medicine on both males and females.

In addition, students must be able to pass the requisite criminal background check, drug tests/screens, immunization/tests, and trainings required by, California law and/or California Health Sciences University College of Osteopathic medicine affiliated clinical training sites and their accrediting and/or regulatory agencies.