Teaching ultrasound in osteopathic medical schools

Yuriy Slyvka, MD, PhD; and Jennifer L. Gwilym, DO
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: February 7, 2023

Accepted: October 19, 2023

Published: December 7, 2023

  • Yuriy Slyvka, MD, PhD, 

    Department of Biomedical Sciences, Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Athens, OH, USA

  • Jennifer L. Gwilym, DO, 

    Department of Primary Care, Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Athens, OH, USA

J Osteopath Med; 124(3): 107-113

Context: An important diagnostic tool, ultrasound (US) has been incorporated into the curriculum of medical schools for more than 20 years. In the last decade, the interest in US educational research has experienced exponential growth but mostly from Medical Doctor (MD)-granted schools. The extent to which US is embedded in the curricula of the colleges of osteopathic medicine (COM) still requires a comprehensive evaluation.

Objectives: This survey is designed to evaluate the current status of US teaching in COMs with an emphasis on the inclusion of the US in osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) training.

Methods: An anonymous, voluntary, 22-question online survey was created and administered to all COMs to collect data about the current state of US teaching. A descriptive analysis was performed to describe and summarize the final data. Fisher’s exact test was utilized for the comparison of study variables.

Results: We received responses from 36 of the 43 (83.7 %) COMs invited to participate in the survey, all of which had US training within their curriculum, most commonly integrated into the year 1 curriculum (86.1 %). Focused US training is incorporated into 83.3 % of these schools (30 of 36). Focused US training is covered in 83.3 % of schools (30 of 36). US is mostly taught in the anatomy course (38.8 %). US is incorporated in the OMM course in 12 of 36 schools (33.3 %). The majority of respondents feel that US training will make osteopathic students more competitive in the job market (88.9 %) and want more US in their curriculum (86.1 %). The idea that US is useful for a better understanding of the key OMM concepts is believed by 62.9 % of respondents. The major obstacle to the implementation of US in the curriculum is having appropriately trained faculty (86.1 %). The majority of the respondents did not feel that an adequate budget is a handicap to implementing US in the curriculum.

Conclusions: US is included within the curriculum of all respondents to our survey, a third of whom included US within their OMM curriculum. US is treated as a useful and important skill for future osteopathic physicians. The majority of COMs desire more US training in the curriculum. The main barrier to implementing US in the curriculum is the lack of appropriately trained faculty.

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