Apr 17, 2021  
2020-2021 University Catalog & Student Handbook 
2020-2021 University Catalog & Student Handbook

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Curriculum

The curriculum at KCU-COM consists of a minimum of four years of structured training leading to the doctor of osteopathic medicine. The first two years of the curriculum center upon the foundations of basic and clinical medical sciences. Osteopathic principles and philosophy as well as contemporary concepts in medical education are integrated into the curriculum. The last two years of medical education focus on training in clinical settings.

Curriculum Philosophy

The purpose of the curriculum is to advance the mission of the University in preparing its graduates to be highly competent, caring and compassionate osteopathic physicians.

COM has an integrated systems curriculum designed with principles that emphasize lifelong learning. The didactic curriculum is transdisciplinary, systems-based and interactive with programmed repetition. The COM curriculum stresses active, adult learning and instills the habit of lifelong learning, a fundamental goal at KCU. Lifelong learning is recognized as a necessary attribute for a fully competent and successful career in the practice of medicine.

The first-year curriculum progresses through all organ systems and stresses normal structure and function. Basic biomedical science disciplines are reviewed in all first-year system courses with an emphasis on normal physiology and anatomy. Clinical relevancy is stressed from the very beginning of the first year through the inclusion of clinical integration sessions that highlight the application of salient material.

The second-year curriculum consists of the first-year system courses with the emphasis on pathology, clinical medicine and pharmacology. Mechanisms of disease processes and clinical patient presentations are stressed so that students may learn to develop a thorough differential diagnosis of disease states. Programmed repetition occurs in the second year with a review of all organ system physiology at the beginning of each course. Clinical integration sessions emphasize application of the material throughout the year.

Principles in Clinical Medicine and Osteopathic Skills are two longitudinal courses scheduled concurrent to all systems courses in the first two years of the COM curriculum. These courses emphasize foundational knowledge in clinical medicine and osteopathic manipulation, respectively, while integrating topics relevant to the current system course. Principles of Clinical Medicine and Osteopathic Skills are competency-based courses. The COM curriculum utilizes standardized patient interactions and increasingly sophisticated simulations to assess the clinical competencies and osteopathic skills of students so they meet the expectations of core clinical rotations and electives in the third and fourth years.

There is an incremental shift over the first two years of the COM curriculum of teacher-centered learning to student-centered learning. This solidifies and begins the process intended to stimulate the lifelong learning required of a physician. Lectures consist of introductions and are delivered in conjunction with assigned readings and clinical integration sessions, which are focused upon cases. Faculty content experts conduct clinical integration sessions and typically employ interactive technology with full student engagement.

The curricular goal by the end of year two is to engender in our students the general ability to think diagnostically at an appropriate level as a physician-in-training. The expectation is that students bring those capabilities to core clinical rotations and electives in years three and four. The overarching curricular goal is that each graduate is fully prepared to enter residency, graduate medical education and successfully develop the requisite knowledge, skills and attitudes of a fully-trained osteopathic physician.

Competencies & Student Outcomes

The COM curriculum was designed to ensure graduates are able to demonstrate specific skills. The University has identified select educational objectives that serve as the foundation of the curriculum. At a minimum, a graduate must be able to:

  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of osteopathic philosophy and practice and osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMM).
  • Demonstrate medical knowledge through one or more of the following: passing of course tests; standardized tests of the NBOME; post-core clerkship tests; research activities; presentations; participation in directed reading programs or journal clubs; or other evidence-based medical activities.
  • Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills with patients and other health care professionals.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of professional, ethical and legal practice management and public health issues applicable to medical practice.
  • Demonstrate basic support skills as assessed by nationally standardized evaluations.

In addition, the COM curriculum prepares students for graduate medical education. Graduates meet the following minimum competencies:

Competency 1: Osteopathic Philosophy and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine

Graduates are expected to demonstrate and apply knowledge of accepted standards in Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT). The education goal is to train a skilled and competent osteopathic practitioner who remains dedicated to lifelong learning and to practice habits consistent with osteopathic principles and practices.

Competency 2: Medical Knowledge

Graduates are expected to demonstrate and apply knowledge of accepted standards of clinical medicine in their respective specialty area, remain current with new developments in medicine, and participate in lifelong learning activities, including research.

Competency 3: Patient Care

Graduates must demonstrate the ability to effectively treat patients, provide medical care that incorporates osteopathic principles and practices, empathy, awareness of behavioral issues, preventive medicine and health promotion.

Competency 4: Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Graduates are expected to demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that enable them to establish and maintain professional relationships with patients, families and other members of health care teams.

Competency 5: Professionalism

Graduates are expected to uphold the Osteopathic Oath in the conduct of their professional activities that promote advocacy of patient welfare, adherence to ethical principles, collaboration with health professionals, lifelong learning, and sensitivity to diverse patient populations. Graduates should be cognizant of their own physical and mental health in order to effectively care for patients.

Competency 6: Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

Graduates must demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate their methods of clinical practice, integrate evidence-based medicine into patient care, show an understanding of research methods, and improve patient care practices.

Competency 7: Systems-Based Practice

Graduates are expected to demonstrate an understanding of health care delivery systems, provide effective and qualitative patient care with the system, and practice cost-effective medicine.

Teaching Methods

A variety of teaching and learning methods are incorporated during the first two years. These methods include classroom lectures, laboratory exercises, small-group discussions, clinical integration sessions, computer-assisted instruction, designated student assignments, specialized workshops and the use of standardized patients and human patient simulators.

OMS-III & OMS-IV Clinical Clerkships

Clinical clerkships in the third and fourth years reinforce and expand on the training of the first two years of medical school. The third year consists of required clinical clerkships as well as some selectives at the assigned core site. Fourth-year consists of a required clerkship, three sub-internships, and elective clerkships. Required third- and fourth-year clinical clerkships are only completed at affiliated training sites. Assignment to sites is determined by a rotation match process conducted during the second year.

Enrollment Status for OMS-III & OMS-IV

Students enrolled in clerkships are considered full-time students.

Required Clinical Clerkships & Courses

Descriptions for all courses and clerkships are provided in the Course Descriptions  section. All clerkships offered at variable credit.

Elective & Sub-Internship Clerkships

The following list of elective and sub-internship clerkships is designed to provide students with clinical exposure, observation and training to further their understanding within a selected area of interest as specified in the course title. These experiences take place in a wide variety of clinical, office and hospital settings presenting unique opportunities with regard to the spectrum of clinical situations encountered. Learning is enhanced with specific goals and learning objectives.

Sub-internships are restricted to fourth-year students and are designed to provide the student with an increased level of patient care responsibility. Students serve as the primary care provider under the direct supervision of the attending physician or faculty and may perform simple diagnostic procedures. Training focuses on self-education and includes more advanced study of the discipline. Sub-internships must be completed as full-block experiences.

Electives are generally completed as full-block experiences and are typically awarded four semester credits. Up to three fourth-year elective blocks may be completed as two, two-week elective clerkships (minimum of 10 business days per experience) and be awarded two semester credits for each experience. All other electives and required clinical clerkships must be full block experiences.

Descriptions for all courses are provided in the Course Descriptions  section.

Research Clerkships

These elective clerkship experiences are designed to provide the student with a basic understanding of the selected area of interest. Students focus on the development and execution of a guided research project or participate with an existing study. Emphasis is placed on the integration of research into medical practice to prepare for more advanced study in the discipline. These clerkships take place in a wide variety of clinical, hospital or laboratory settings. Specific goals and learning objectives are determined by the supervising preceptor and a formalized plan must be submitted to Clinical Education (CE) and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs in advance for consideration and approval. Credit value is variable (one to four semester hours) depending on the individualized study plan and required time on task. Credit is assigned based on increments of 1.0 credit for every 37.5 hours of contact time. These clerkships are graded Pass/Fail.

Descriptions for all courses are provided in the Course Descriptions  section.