Attitudes Toward Osteopathic Recognition Under the Single GME Accreditation System: A Survey of Deans at Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and Chairs of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine Departments

John J. Dougherty, DO; Natasha N. Bray, DO, MSEd; and Cheryl H. Vanier, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: March 11, 2019

Accepted: April 9, 2019

Published: February 1, 2020

J Osteopath Med; 120(2): 81-89

Objectives: To assess the attitudes of academic deans at colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs) and chairs of COMs’ osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) departments toward osteopathic recognition under the single graduate medical education (GME) accreditation system.

Methods: An 11-item Likert-type survey with additional demographic questions was distributed via email to deans and OMM department chairs at 51 COMs and additional locations in September 2017. Items were formulated to assess survey participants’ understanding and beliefs regarding the value and support of the establishment of osteopathic recognition within the single GME accreditation system. Demographic information gathered was limited to role (ie, dean or OMM department chair). Survey items were ranked on a 5-point Likert-type scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree.

Results: A total of 39 COMs deans and 24 OMM chairs indicated they understood the intent of osteopathic recognition in a single GME accreditation system, but OMM chairs felt less informed about osteopathic recognition than deans (17% vs 3% disagreeing with the statement, “I have been adequately informed about osteopathic recognition”). There was no difference between deans and chairs regarding their attitudes toward osteopathic recognition in residency training programs, though a minority of deans (n=2) disagreed that osteopathic recognition benefits programs and indicated that they did not recommend it for surgical specialties (n=2) or fellowship programs (n=3). Deans and chairs generally agreed on their overall support of osteopathic recognition, the perceptions of osteopathic medical students toward osteopathic recognition, and the value that osteopathic recognition brings to COMs, with 2 deans dissenting on each item. A moderate correlation was found between information of and attitude toward osteopathic recognition for the deans (r=0.72, n=39), but a much weaker relationship was observed between information and attitude for the chairs (r=0.37, n=24) (difference between the correlations: z=1.89, P=.06).

Conclusions: Although the deans and OMM chairs agreed that they support, believe in the value of, and find that osteopathic medical students are interested in osteopathic recognition, there is an opportunity for improvement of deans’ and COMs chairs’ understanding of osteopathic recognition.

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