Tobacco dependence curricula in US osteopathic medical schools: a follow-up study

Brian N Griffith, Norman J Montalto, Lance Ridpath, Kendra Sullivan
Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 2013, 113 (11): 838-48

CONTEXT: Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of illness and death in the United States. A 1998 survey of US osteopathic medical schools identified deficiencies in tobacco dependence curricula.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the current content and extent of tobacco dependence education and intervention skills in US osteopathic medical school curricula.

DESIGN: An electronic survey.

SETTING: Osteopathic medical schools with students enrolled for the 2009-2010 academic year.

PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-seven osteopathic medical school deans or their designated administrators.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Reported instruction in 7 basic science and 6 clinical science content areas (elective or required) and hours of tobacco dependence education were assessed and compared with the 1998 data.

RESULTS: The mean (standard deviation) number of content areas reported as covered in 2010 was 10.6 (2.3) (6.1 [1.2] basic science areas, 4.6 [1.3] clinical science areas). Seventeen of 27 respondents (63%) reported that smokeless tobacco content was covered at their school, and 9 of 27 (33%) reported that the stages of change counseling technique was covered. Compared with 1998, a significant increase was noted in the percentage of schools covering tobacco dependence (92.6% in 2010 compared with 57.9% in 1998, P=.0002). Reported hours of tobacco dependence instruction were also significantly higher in 2010 compared with those in 1998 (Fisher exact test, P<.05). No statistically significant changes were found in the proportion of schools covering all 13 content areas (15.7% vs 22.2%), the proportion covering motivational interviewing in detail (26.3% vs 33.3%), or the proportion requiring curricula on smokeless tobacco (57.9% vs 59.3%).

CONCLUSION: Osteopathic medical school respondents reported more instruction on tobacco dependence in 2010 compared with those in 1998. However, some important basic science and clinical science content areas are not being adequately taught in US osteopathic medical schools.

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