Medical EducationOriginal Article

Clearly Distinct: Outcomes of Initiative to Increase Integration of Osteopathic Principles and Practice at West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine

Karen M. Steele, DO, and Helen H. Baker, PhD, MBA
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: March 17, 2009

Accepted: June 29, 2009

Published: November 1, 2009

J Osteopath Med; 109(11): 579-590

Context: In 1992, the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) created a task force as part of an institution-wide initiative to integrate osteopathic principles and practice (OPP) across its entire curriculum. The goals of the initiative, which was implemented with the graduating class of 1997, were to create a clearly distinct osteopathic curriculum and preserve the use of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) by WVSOM alumni.

Objectives: To evaluate outcomes of the Osteopathic Principles and Practices Integration Project among WVSOM alumni.

Methods: A survey was mailed on a staggered timeline to WVSOM alumni who had graduated at least 5 years earlier. Data from the graduating classes of 1995 and 1996 (preintervention) were compared with data from the graduating classes of 1997 through 2002 (postintervention).

Results: After excluding responses from alumni still in residencies, responses from 52 (41.9%) of 124 alumni in the preintervention group and 155 (40.9%) of 379 alumni in the postintervention group were analyzed. Comparisons of preintervention group to postintervention group, based on the χ2 test, revealed significant improvement in the proportion of alumni who agreed that basic sciences faculty at WVSOM provided exposure to osteopathic philosophy (P=.020); that basic sciences faculty at WVSOM taught OMT (P=.019); and that alumni were exposed to osteopathic philosophy during rotations with DOs (P=.031). Approximately 53% of alumni in both groups reported daily OMT use in treating patients. Posthoc analysis using the McNemar test for correlated proportions revealed that the proportion of all alumni rating themselves as “prepared” in OMT and OPP at the end of the second year of the WVSOM curriculum was 92.7%, significantly higher than the 76.1% rating of preparation at graduation (P<.001).

Conclusions: Survey results indicate that WVSOM’s Osteopathic Principles and Practices Integration Project has created a distinctly osteopathic curriculum and has helped alumni maintain use of OMT in clinical practice.

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