Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Jerry Willis


Osteopathic medicine, founded in 1874, is currently taught at 19 colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). Over the past half-century, there have been few changes in osteopathic medical curriculum. As a result of new responsibilities of the primary care practitioner and changes in the physician-patient role because of managed care and social and economic issues, demands for reform in medical education have increased. Innovations in technology for teaching and learning as well as diagnosis and treatment have demanded significant changes in education and practice. New research-based knowledge has also added considerably to medical course content. However, graduates have not been prepared for changes in practice management nor in population-based care models. Often students graduate from medical schools lacking the essential competencies required to practice effectively in the 21st century. The College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery (COMS), Des Moines University-Osteopathic Medical Center, Des Moines, Iowa identified and defined the essential competencies for effective osteopathic physicians in the 21st century. The objective was to revitalize the osteopathic medical school curriculum, building on a foundation of professional medical competencies. The research was conducted through 16 nominal groups and a survey questionnaire sent to a random sample of 3,000 medical practitioners, clinicians, basic science instructors, and other health care professionals. The outcome was a master list of eight essential competencies and 72 sub-competencies that students should acquire in their four years of medical school at DMU. In addition the research showed that there is a significant difference in how osteopathic physicians and medical doctors rank the competencies, with D.O.s ranking seven competencies significantly higher than M.D.s.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Shirley A. Walrod



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

82 pages