The Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM) matriculated its third class in August of 2020. This Class of 2024 is composed of graduates from 93 U.S. colleges and universities, with above average composite medical board (MCAT) scores and highly competitive undergraduate grade point averages. These students originate from 33 states with approximately one-third coming from Idaho and the ICOM target 5-state region including Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. When combined with the Class of 2022 and the Class of 2023, the student body totals 486.

Osteopathic medicine is a distinctive form of medicine. From their first day of school, osteopathic medical students are trained to look at the whole person. Doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs) use all the knowledge, skills, tools, and technology available in modern medicine, with the added benefits of a holistic philosophy and emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention. Because of this whole person approach to medicine, 56 percent of DOs choose to practice in the primary care disciplines of family practice, general internal medicine, and pediatrics. The remaining 44 percent specialize in any number of specialty practice areas.

There are more than 100,000 DOs in the United States with a strong history of serving rural and underserved areas — often providing patient-centered care to some of the most economically disadvantaged persons in our society. The American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) currently accredits 37 colleges of osteopathic medicine offering instruction at 58 locations in 33 states.

ICOM was formed to help address the current and growing shortage of physicians in the Mountain West and beyond. Although Idaho is among the most rapidly growing areas of the country, the state ranks 49th in physicians per capita. Approximately 30 percent of all actively practicing physicians in the U.S. are over 60 years of age. This cohort accentuates concerns about a wave of impending retirements amidst a much smaller influx of newly trained physicians. 

Over half of Idaho hospitals are Critical Access Hospitals (CAH). These hospitals and their medical provider base must be maintained to assure access to health care for those they serve. The availability of primary care providers in these areas is a key public policy concern.

Before ICOM was established, Idaho was the most populous state without a medical school of its own. ICOM’s mission is to train competent and caring physicians prepared to serve persons in Idaho, Montana, North and South Dakota, Wyoming, and beyond with an emphasis on rural, underserved areas within this five state region. ICOM was conceived and established to be of sufficient size to attract a well-qualified faculty and student body as well as to have the technical and other resources necessary to effectively train physicians for 21st Century medicine.

In December 2017, COCA granted ICOM pre-accreditation status and authorized the recruitment of an initial class of 162 students. ICOM’s leadership and Board of Trustees is focused on providing these and subsequent students with a high quality academic and clinical clerkship experience and facilitating their placement into ACGME-accredited post-graduate training/residency programs. 

Although ICOM is still relatively new, we are proud of the many students, faculty, and staff who represent the College and our profession in many prominent leadership roles, including:

Dr. Tracy J. Farnsworth | ICOM President 

    • Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA)

Dr. Thomas J. Mohr | ICOM Dean & Chief Academic Officer

    • Chair of the AACOM Assembly of Osteopathic Graduate Medical Education (AOGME)
    • AACOM Representative on the Coalition for Physician Accountability

Dr. Rita Getz | ICOM Senior Associate Dean of Learner Outcomes & Assessments

    • Member of AACOM Council on Residency Placement

Liz Watson | ICOM Director of Student Affairs

    • Chair Elect of the AACOM Council of Student Affairs

Nicole McMillin | ICOM Director of Financial Aid

    • Vice Chair of AACOM’s Council of Student Financial Aid Administrators (CSFAA)

Ellie Matthews | ICOM Recruiter

    • Secretary of AACOM’s Council of Osteopathic Medical Admissions Officers (COMAO)

Krista Niezwaag, OMS-III

    • Chair of the Executive Board of the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP)

Samuel Loescher, OMS-III

    • Member of the American Osteopathic Associations (AOA) Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA)

Albert Nakayama, OMS-III, 2LT USAR

    • National Army Representative of the Student Association of Military Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (SAMOPS)

David Bassa, OMS-III

    • National Advocacy Liaison of Omega Beta Iota: National Osteopathic Political Honor Society

Phil Zeek, OMS-III

    • Western Regional Coordinator for the National Student American Academy of Osteopathy (SAAO)