Touro University California
College of Osteopathic Medicine
Early Clinical Experiences

Rehfield ECE    Nima ECE    Laura ECE

Introduction and ECE Objectives

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Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine (TUCOM) has a unique integrative curriculum that allows for students to acquire a sound foundation in the basic sciences while understanding how that foundation relates to patient care.  The first two years at TUCOM, known as the preclinical years, are spent on the Vallejo campus primarily learning through lecture, laboratories, small-group discussions, and simulated patient scenarios.  The workload during these preclinical years is intense, and without early clinical exposure it may be difficult for the learners to see how their current coursework relates to their long-term careers.

Early Clinical Experiences (ECE) are structured opportunities during the preclinical years for osteopathic medical students to gain exposure to clinical medicine.  These formalized activities are completed for credit as an important component of the first and second year Osteopathic Doctoring courses.  TUCOM currently offers a variety of opportunities for ECE, each of which has common objectives:

  • To increase patient contact time during the preclinical years, thereby enhancing empathy towards the patient experience and increased awareness of doctor-patient relationships
  • To increase curiosity, interest, and humanism of the disease processes that are observed and discussed, thereby motivating learners and making the material easier to remember
  • Provide authentic examples of how basic science relates to the clinical aspects of medicine

Currently, the Early Clinical Experiences program at TUCOM consists of spending at least one hour at a designated ECE site once per semester during the preclinical years (4 times total during the first 2 years of medical school.)  One of the students’ ECEs each academic year must be at an osteopathically-focused site (SRFC, SAAO Lunchtime Clinic, Suitcase Clinics, Health Fair providing OMT, etc). 

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TUCOM Early Clinical Experiences Quick Facts

  • How many ECEs are required?

    • ≥ 1 hour at a designated ECE site once per semester 

    Does it matter where I do them?

    • It must be a designated ECE site (you can set up your own, but Dr. Hendriksz has to help credential your preceptor 4-6 weeks before your scheduled ECE)
    • ≥ 1 of your ECEs each academic year need to involve performing or observing OMT

    What are the prerequisites?

    How do I get credit?