Who We Are

Established in the U.S. over 130 years ago, the osteopathic medical profession educates Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.s) who are licensed to practice all aspects of medicine and surgery in all 50 states, and numerous countries world-wide. D.O.s graduate from a college of osteopathic medicine and complete subsequent specialty training in residency programs and fellowships in hospitals, community health centers or other clinical settings. D.O.s have always utilized a holistic approach to providing medical care, an approach that seeks to first preserve health, and when necessary, treat disease.

Given these progressive tenets, the state of Michigan was particularly welcoming to osteopathic physicians. As a result, in 1965, Michigan D.O.s, obtained a charter to establish an osteopathic medical school in the state. In 1969, the Michigan legislature enacted Public Act 162, specifying that “A school of osteopathic medicine is established and shall be located as determined by the state board of education at an existing campus of a state university with an existing school or college of medicine.” Subsequently, the charter was transferred to the Michigan State University (MSU) Board of Trustees and the college was relocated to MSU’s East Lansing campus in 1971 becoming only one of two MSU colleges established by legislative decree.

With that act, Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM) became the first-ever university-based osteopathic medical school, a singular and profession-defining achievement that propelled the rapid expansion of the entire osteopathic profession nationally. Today, more than 25% of all U.S. medical school graduates are now graduating from one of 41 osteopathic medical schools nationwide.

Since 2009, the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine has annually matriculated ~300 medical students into its three sites – MSU’s East Lansing campus, the Detroit Medical Center in Detroit, and the Macomb University Center in Macomb County. In 2022, >99% of the 290 of the college’s graduates placed into a residency, with over 40% of graduates entering primary care specialties and 78% of all graduates entering residencies in the state of Michigan.

Indeed, over 25% of the currently licensed and actively practicing physicians in the state of Michigan are D.O.s (8,759), with the majority of these D.O.s also being alumni of the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. Similarly, the majority of physicians currently practicing in MSU’s health clinics (via MSU Healthcare) are faculty and/or alumni of the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Moreover, despite not being the oldest nor largest medical school in Michigan, the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine has more physician alumni practicing in Michigan than any other medical school in the state. Furthermore, over 2,100 alumni of the college are currently practicing in critically needed primary care specialties in Michigan, which is greater than all primary care alumni from the other six Michigan medical schools combined. Additionally, MSUCOM has the largest number of its alumni practicing in medically underserved areas, with around 1,400 alumni – nearly matching the total number of physicians practicing in underserved areas who are alumni of the six other Michigan medical schools combined. To translate this impact to people, more than 1.7 million individuals residing in Michigan's rural areas, and over 4.3 million Michiganders currently residing in Primary Care Health Professional Shortage areas are receiving care from D.O. alumni of the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine.

The economic impacts of our college are equally amazing. Extrapolating from an American Medical Association (AMA) study, MSUCOM alumni physicians practicing in Michigan alone generate over $8.2 billion in economic output, create over 24,000 jobs coupled with over $5.4 billion in associated wages, salaries and benefits, and generate over $600 million in state and local tax revenues annually.

Leader Among all Osteopathic Medical Schools Nationwide

The MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine is the recognized leader amongst all osteopathic medical schools nationally on a number of fronts, most notably for research, with MSUCOM faculty earning recognition for their numerous research programs, publications, and other scholarly works, while receiving research funding through a number of government and private agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the DOD, and more. In NIH funding alone, the college’s faculty secured ~$37 million between fiscal years 2019-2021, accompanied by thousands of publications. Please see the college’s Research and Scholarly Activity summary for full details of its numerous research investments and programs. MSUCOM is also home to the Applied Immunology Center for Education and Research (AICER) – one of MSU’s established centers that is focused on discovering new immunotherapies for autoimmune diseases, cancer and infectious diseases. The college also has the oldest and largest D.O.-Ph.D. program in the nation with about 50 students currently enrolled.

MSUCOM Statewide Campus System for Graduate Medical Education

The College of Osteopathic Medicine has a long-established network of over 33 community teaching hospital partnerships throughout Michigan to support D.O. medical students in their third and fourth years of clinical education, as well as 2,000 residents and fellows undertaking their graduate medical education (GME). Known as the MSUCOM Statewide Campus System (SCS), this community-based educational consortium is unique nationally among all medical schools and holds institutional accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

International Opportunities

The College of Osteopathic Medicine is home to the Institute for Global Health (IGH), which serves as the focal point for global health information to all colleges at MSU since its creation 36 years ago. The mission of the Institute for Global Health is to support global health education, research and capacity building. As a result, the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine offers international opportunities for students to build not only their clinical skills, but also to expand their capacity to holistically approach the diverse populations they seek to serve. First and second-year students may take part in elective experiences in Guatemala, Malawi, Mexico, Dominican Republic, South Korea, Peru and Cuba. An online Master of Science in Global Health and a Graduate Certificate in Global Health are also offered by the Institute for Global Health.

Outreach and Service

The College of Osteopathic Medicine is home not only to most of MSU Health Care’s physicians, but also to MSU’s first street medicine programs. These programs are led by students serving underserved populations by meeting them where they are in each one of our medical school communities – Lansing, Detroit and Macomb County. These student-led clinics provide care each week, working alongside faculty and volunteer physicians, and working with community partners to holistically serve people experiencing homelessness through empathetic health care, offering medical treatment with follow up, connections to health education and social services, such as housing. International clinics are also provided by MSUCOM physicians in places like Malawi, Africa and Merida Mexico, to name a few.

Ongoing Leadership and Growth at MSUCOM

The College of Osteopathic Medicine welcomed its inaugural Physician Assistant program in the 2022-2023 academic year. The 27-month, 108-credit curriculum leads to the degree of Master of Science in PA Medicine. The curriculum allows PA students to team with other health professionals during both their didactic and clinical training experiences. The college’s PA students learn and work closely with D.O. students and are introduced to osteopathic medical philosophy to have a broader, more holistic approach to patient care. The first class will graduate in May 2024.