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“Introduction to Osteopathic Medicine” - Osteopathic Principles and Practice

  • Author(s): Thayer, Sydney M.
  • et al.

As the medical system shifts toward team-based approaches to patient care, it has become increasingly important for M.D. physicians to understand the intricacies of how different healthcare providers practice. Osteopathic medicine, a practice distinct from allopathic medicine in its philosophy of healthcare as well as the practice of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), is increasing in popularity among patients and practitioners. Practicing the osteopathic core belief that each individual is the delicate balance of mind, body, and spirit, D.O. physicians approach patient care with the understanding that the human body is capable of health maintenance through hemeostatic pathways. Through manual manipulation of the body's tissues with OMT, practitioners of osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) serve to bring balance to the body. This balance strives to promote the body's natural healing mechanisms. The following Independent Study Project (ISP) aims to expose M.D. students to the philosophy behind and principles of osteopathic medicine. The process of creating a preclinical elective involved research regarding osteopathic medical philosophy, techniques, and published studies prior to developing a curriculum consisting of didactic, hands-on teaching, and clinical shadowing sessions. The student who developed this project further performed in an administrative role by recruiting preceptors, proposing the course to the Electives Committee, recruiting students, and organizing course proceedings during the Winter Quarter 2017 at UC San Diego School of Medicine. Enrolled student qualitative assessments of the course were gathered and complied such that future iterations of the elective would incorporate changes that reflect student feedback. Three first year medical students enrolled in the course entitled "Introduction to Osteopathic Medicine"--Osteopathic Principles and Practice during the Winter 2017 Quarter. All students completed the required coursework and were assessed to have fulfilled the learned objectives. Recurrent themes from the subjective student feedback demonstrated gratitude for the availability of osteopathic medicine exposure during the preclinical years an the enhanced understanding of the role of touch in clinical encounters. All of the students also expressed a desire for more hands-on training and more directed learning of specific OMT techniques. The proposed ISP was successfully executed as outlined with the creation of a preclinical elective in osteopathic medicine offered at the UCSD School of Medicine during Winter Quarter 2017. Further, the results from this pilot course will be presented at a national conference on osteopathic medicine in Spring 2017, thus completing an additional objective outlined in the proposal. This course will continue to be offered with the assistance of a medical school representative who has already been identified for the following year. Future iterations of this course will be modified based on student feedback, and the use of surveys to quantitatively gather data on student progress and satisfaction has been proposed.

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