Introducing osteopathic medical education in an allopathic residency

Amity Rubeor, Melissa Nothnagle, Julie Scott Taylor
Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 2008, 108 (8): 404-8

BACKGROUND: Osteopathic medical school graduates, who are entering allopathic residencies in increasing numbers, want to maintain their osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) skills, but such residency programs do not include osteopathic curricula.

OBJECTIVES: To describe the development and implementation of an osteopathic curriculum within an allopathic family medicine residency, and to evaluate the program's success.

METHODS: Osteopathic residents, with the assistance of their allopathic faculty, generated the goals, objectives, and implementation strategies for an osteopathic curriculum that consisted of an osteopathic clinic and educational activities. The modified nominal group technique was used to determine the success of the clinic, highlighting its strengths and weaknesses. Success of the educational activities was measured by the American Osteopathic Association's approval of the residents' first year of postgraduate training.

RESULTS: Osteopathic residents, who staffed the clinic, reported maintenance of their OMM skills to be the greatest strength of the clinic and lack of structured didactics to be its greatest weakness. Since the curriculum was introduced in 2004, 3 residents have applied for and received the American Osteopathic Association's approval for training.

CONCLUSION: In the present study, an osteopathic curriculum was successfully implemented in an allopathic family medicine residency, enabling osteopathic residents to maintain their OMM skills. In addition to exploring the curriculum's impact on allopathic colleagues, further research should investigate whether osteopathic graduates who participate in such a curriculum are more likely to practice OMM after their residency ends.

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