SAN ANTONIO, N.M. — The University of Incarnate Word's new School of Osteopathic Medicine is already serving some patients on the south side through its hands-on training, but that's just the start of how it's helping to increase medical care in the area.

 Meanwhile, new funding and additions are already adding new learning opportunities for students at the school.

Osteopathic medicine offers a unique approach to treating patients.

"If you just write a prescription and say, do this, maybe they can't afford it or can't afford their copay, or insurance at all- are they going to be compliant?" asked UIW School of Osteopathic Medicine Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs Brent Sanderlin said. "By having the students here we send them out into the community and let them experience life with those families."

New classrooms, funded, in part, by money from Bexar County, are packed with students aspiring to become "osteopathic doctors," or "ODs."

One of them, former Army medic Matthew Dawson, first learned about "ODs" in physician's assistant school.

"That was what really drew me to it," Dawson said. "Seeing their technique, seeing the way they really approached patient care and how they were really hands-on with the patient." 

This approach means doctors-in-training on the south side will be doing house calls and community care in nearby neighborhoods while in class. 

"From day one we seem to be really engaged with the community as well as other providers, primary care physicians," Dawson said. "We go out, I've done several rotations with providers and gotten hands-on experience with patients."

UIW hopes the program will lead to more doctors choosing to stay on the south side, to care for the families they're getting to know right now.