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Clinical Research and Education: Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine

Rita Patterson, PhD, Graduate Advisor
Center for BioHealth 431
Phone: 817-735-2318
E-mail: Rita.Patterson@unthsc.edu

Graduate Faculty: Bugnariu, Gamber, Hensel, Hodge, Patterson

There are two degree plan options for medical students in the Clinical Research and Education: Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine discipline, a Master of Science and a Doctor of Philosophy.

A student may begin studies in any semester. Degree plans may vary depending upon availability of course offerings in a given semester and each student's interest and progress toward thesis and dissertation research.

The Department of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine collaborates with the research institutes and centers and with academic departments at UNTHSC to offer both Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees in Clinical Research and Education in Manual Medicine through the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. These two degree programs differ from the traditional degree programs in public health or basic sciences. These academic programs focus on educating students about designing and conducting clinical and mechanistic research, and teaching manual medicine and other complementary and alternative medicine modalities. Faculty instructors offer a variety of expertise including research methods, epidemiology, neuro- musculoskeletal medicine, bioengineering, physiology, and structural anatomy. Visiting faculty and optional mentors may include neuro-anatomists, cell biologists, clinical practitioners, and researchers at other institutions.

Because manual medicine research requires scientifically rigorous protocols that differ from other clinical trials and are similar to physical therapy or other manual medicine modalities, students are provided with closely mentored experiences in their academic course work and in their clinical, mechanistic, translational or educational research projects.

These degrees are offered in conjunction with a pre-doctoral fellowship in manual medicine. The program is also available to post-doctoral, licensed physicians who wish to complete an advanced degree in a flexible environment while being intimately involved in advanced clinical and academic training.

Since 2002, the Department of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine has developed a broad scope of research education and research initiatives in the area of manual/manipulative medicine. This program offers global access to researchers and educators from partnering institutions and affiliated professions. Research topics include chronic and acute medical problems related to pain, gait, balance, and strength for example. Educational components include teaching and learning in applied anatomy, understanding the research literature in manual medicine and CAM, and interprofessional experiences.

Master of Science

Requirements for the MS include 30 SCH of course work. TCOM students in a pre-doctoral fellowship receive 6 SCH for medical school course work. An additional 6 SCH are allocated to thesis work, and 18 SCH are devoted to courses including biostatistics, scientific communications, ethics, epidemiology, seminars and special problems in clinical research or education. MS students are expected to follow all of the rules governing the selection of the advisory committee, filing the degree plan, thesis proposal presentation and defense, thesis development and defense. MS students will participate in academic roles including writing test questions and teaching.

Doctor of Philosophy

Requirements for the PhD include 90 hours of study, with six hours from the medical school and 12 dissertation hours. The remaining 72 hours are organized around the student’s research topic and determined by the major professor. Minimum requirements are these 15 hours in the master’s courses: introduction to research, scientific communications, biostatistics and principles of epidemiology, and ethics. Doctoral students will participate in academic roles including writing test questions and teaching.

Credit is given to individuals who have completed a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree. This is reflected below as “Advanced Standing for medical school course work,” and carries 30 Scholastic Credit Hours. Students enrolled in this program may also be in a pre-doctoral medical school program, in which case the advanced standing will not apply, but credit hours will be transferred as for the Master of Science degree plan above.

Advice and guidance is available from the graduate advisor to this program, and from the Chair of the Department of Manipulative Medicine.

Once the academic foundation is achieved, as determined by the graduate advisor and the student’s major professor, there is flexibility in the PhD program to access coursework and training that will build the intellectual and performance capabilities of the student.

Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy

Qualifying Examination

An oral qualifying examination will determine if the doctoral student has mastered information needed to succeed in the discipline of research and education in manual medicine and CAM. The oral examination will be administered by a committee comprised of the student’s major professor, and three research faculty selected in consultation with the major professor and graduate advisor compulsorily including a biostatistician, and the assigned university member. This committee may be but not necessarily must be different from the student’s dissertation committee, so long as the representation is suitable to the individual’s research, and includes all represented areas. In manual medicine and CAM the student’s major professor participates in this process. The student will be required to orally address unique questions of scientific knowledge in the chosen field of study. Areas covered may include biomechanics, human and animal physiology, immunology, or anatomy. Design and biostatistics questions will be included.

A maximum of two attempts to pass the qualifying examination will be allowed. A doctoral student who does not pass after the second attempt may be dismissed or allowed to complete the requirements for a Master of Science degree.

Grant Writing (BMSC 6310)

Following the qualifying examination and before completing 72 SCH of course work, the student will complete Grant Writing (BMSC 6310) which requires the preparation and oral defense of an original NIH grant proposal. The grant application will describe the student's dissertation research project and serves as the student's dissertation proposal. Following a public oral presentation of the research proposal and grant application, the student will defend them before his/her advisory committee.

After the dissertation committee has approved the research proposal the student advances to candidacy status.

Dissertations are original work, prepared in chapters as two or more publications. Students are required to submit their scholarly dissertation products for publication in suitable journal(s).The dissertation will be presented and defended as a whole prior to submitting any of the chapters for publication. Students may participate in manuscripts or originally author published manuscripts outside of the dissertation process.

This page last modified March 25, 2013

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