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SOMA Spotlight - MWU Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine - Student Osteopathic Medical Association

SOMA Spotlight - MWU Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine

This SOMA Spotlight focuses on Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine's OSTCE and Todd Kruse, OMS II. Todd is the President of CCOM's Student American Academy of Osteopathy Chapter and a SOMA member. 

1. What OMM project are you involved in at your school?

I am the student coordinator for the Osteopathic Soft Tissue Clinical Experience (OSTCE) or “Soft Tissue Clinic” at Midwestern University CCOM. This free student run clinic, which is open every Wednesday to MWU students, faculty and staff, started up just over a year ago.

2. What makes this project so unique?

The Soft Tissue Clinic is a free clinic that is located on campus in the OMM department office, rather than being at a clinic somewhere in the city of Chicago (about a 45 minute drive) like most of our other clinics, that students can work at. This makes it easy for the patients – who all study or work at Midwestern – to take an hour out of their work day to receive an OMM treatment that they probably wouldn’t get otherwise. It’s also convenient for the student doctors, because we don’t have to travel far and can just stop in after class.

3. What aspect of this project do you enjoy the most?

I really enjoy working with the Midwestern students, faculty and staff. Everyone we treat is so grateful. Most of our cases are patients who have chronic conditions like osteoarthritis or carpal tunnel, overuse injuries, or sub-clinical aches and pains – issues that cause enough discomfort for the patients to seek free OMT treatment with us, but not enough for them to seek professional treatment. Normally patients wouldn’t be able to see their physician for OMM treatment of these conditions on a regular basis, but since our clinic is free and usually not too overbooked, our patients can come in every 2-3 weeks and they are making us a part of their healing process or chronic pain management plan.

4. Can everyone at your school participate in this project?

Not quite. Space is limited so we only allow students who are members of SAAO or SOMA to participate. We also limit the number of MS1s that can volunteer to ensure that they get enough experience in the clinic to really get something out of it. Since we started last year, we’ve had 18 MS1s and about 25 MS2s participate in the clinic each year plus a handful of MS4s, but we are hoping to expand eventually.

5. How does this project help spread osteopathy in your community?

Midwestern University is a health science graduate school, and many of our patients from the other programs don’t know very much about Osteopathic Medicine before the come in. At each patient visit, we have the opportunity to explain to our inter-professional colleagues what we do as D.O.s, and better yet, we get to show them by giving them an OMM treatment!

6. How has your involvement in this project impacted your future as a physician?

I think it really solidified my interest in using OMT as part of my practice when I move on to residency and my career as a primary care physician. All of our patients are so appreciative of us student doctors taking the time to put our hands on their aches and pains and doing something to make them feel better in that moment. It doesn’t have to be anything major, even just a few minutes of soft tissue treatment goes a long way. 

7. Has your involvement in this project assisted you in personal professional development?

Absolutely. I jumped on this program about a month before we had our first clinic day, and with that I was able to learn (mostly by trial and error) a lot about the logistics of starting up a clinic from scratch.  There is a lot that goes into it. A group of MS2s did most of the paperwork to get it approved before I started, but I was able to help with scheduling, recruiting, and training student doctors; advertising to patients; and putting together all of the necessary paperwork for documentation, workflow, etc.  Now that the clinic is up and running, there is a lot less work, but I still get experience working on a team with our student board and the faculty, organizing and communicating with the student volunteers, and problem solving when issue come up. We are constantly trying to make improvements to our clinic.

Osteopathic Principles & Practice Director


Michael "Mikey" Padilla, OMS III

Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine