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Archives & Special Collections

Learn about PCOM's rich history which all began in 1899.

Background

History of PCOM

In 1899 Mason W. Pressly and Oscar John Snyder, targeted Philadelphia as a future home for an osteopathic medical college. The two DOs followed through with their vision, incorporating the Philadelphia College and Infirmary of Osteopathy (PCIO) on January 24, 1899. They rented two rooms in the Stephen Girard Building at 21 S. 12th Street -- the first of many homes for the College -- and opened their doors to students and patients. In September 1899 the first PCIO degree was awarded to a transfer student; the first PCIO "class," comprised of one woman and one MD, graduated in February 1900.

As the College grew, it moved to larger quarters, establishing its first "campus" at 33rd and Arch Streets, a suburban neighborhood in West Philadelphia. By 1906 the College opened the Osteopathic Dispensary at 1617 Fairmount Avenue, forerunner of the Osteopathic Hospital of Philadelphia. The College moved to 1715 N. Broad Street (1908-1912), then to 832 Pine Street in the city's Society Hill section, where a hospital would come to fruition at 410 S. Ninth Street.

After many prosperous years on Pine Street, PCIO bought its first building at 19th and Spring Garden Streets in 1916. The College, officially renamed Philadelphia College of Osteopathy (PCO) in 1921, added a new hospital to the rear and acquired two adjacent townhouses -- one for additional classrooms and clinics, the other for a nurses' home. A Training School for Nurses and Department of Free Clinics were established in the Hospital, which featured a surgical amphitheater.

Expanding again, PCO was completing construction of a new Collegiate Gothic-style college and hospital building at 48th and Spruce Streets on the eve of the Depression.

In 1951 PCO acquired Women's Homeopathic Hospital at 20th Street and Susquehanna Avenue, making it into a satellite facility called North Center Hospital.

In time, 48th Street no longer met the needs for state-of-the-art medical education and patient care or the demands for larger class sizes. In 1968 the Frederic H. Barth Pavilion of the Hospitals of PCOM opened on the former Moss Estate at City Avenue. Evans Hall, the classroom, library and laboratory building, was completed in 1973. An adjacent five-story office building, acquired in 1979, was renovated into classrooms, laboratories, and medical offices and later appropriately named Rowland Hall after PCOM's fourth president.

In keeping with the College's mission to train primary care physicians, PCOM opened a rural health care center in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania, and several other health care centers in urban Philadelphia neighborhoods.

For more than a century, PCOM has trained osteopathic physicians - doctors who practice a "whole person" approach to medicine, treating people, not just symptoms. Nearly 70% of PCOM students are from Pennsylvania, and many graduates practice medicine in rural and urban medically underserved areas of the state. The College also offers advanced degree programs in psychology, physician assistant studies, biomedical sciences, and forensics.

Synapsis, (Philadelphia, PA: Graduating Class of 2005), 2005, 53.

PCOM Georgia

In December of 2004, the Georgia Campus – Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine was given approval by the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation of the American Osteopathic Association to accept its first class of students in fall 2005. In August 2004, the College purchased a building on 19 acres in Gwinnett County, GA, which will serve as the campus. Renovations to the building began that October.

The facility was designed with student learning, cutting-edge instructional technology and social interaction as priorities. In addition to large and small classrooms, conference areas and study spaces, instructional space includes two amphitheaters with a seating capacity of 100 students each, a large anatomy laboratory, a patient simulation laboratory, a multi-use basic science lab and a large OMM/clinical skills teaching lab. The design of the 149,885 square-foot building incudes two main focal points that take advantage of natural light through the use of skylights and partitions.

Georgia Campus– PCOM celebrated its official opening with a White Coat Ceremony and Ribbon Cutting. On November 6, 2005, the 84 members of the inaugural class were cloaked during the traditional White Coat Ceremony celebrated by first-year students.

On November 7, 2005, GA-PCOM and PCOM administration participated in the official ribbon cutting for GA PCOM. U.S. Congressman John Linder delivered the keynote address.

After a successful team visit from the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation, the Commission approved an extension of the PCOM Osteopathic Medicine Program accreditation to Georgia Campus – PCOM in April 2006.  The campus continued its growth with the addition of a biomedical sciences program that enrolled its first class of 40 students that fall.

In addition to the new program, there were new facilities. Three labs, 12 offices, a conference room, a reception area and a bookstore.

The GA PCOM campus continues to grow, opening its School of Pharmacy in 2010, and admitting its first group of Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students to the program in June 2018.

Digest. 66(1), 2005

Digest. 67(1, 2), 2006

PCOM [cited 2019 Jan 17] Available from: https://www.pcom.edu/campuses/georgia-campus/history.html

PCOM South Georgia

On December 5, 2017, PCOM received initial approval from the American Osteopathic Association’s (AOA) Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) to establish an additional location in Moultrie, Georgia. With this approval, the college will move forward with the development of PCOM South Georgia, a four-year campus with an opening class of 55 DO students.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new location took place on April 26, 2018. Plans call for the new 75,000-square-foot institution to begin classes in August of 2019.

PCOM [cited 2018 Oct 3] Available from: https://www.pcom.edu/campuses/philadelphia-campus/history.html