Original Article

CME Article: Religion/Spirituality Curriculum in US Osteopathic Medical Schools: A Survey

Authors: Daniel J. Hurst, PhD, ThM, Alyssa Heric, OMS-IV, Kristin M. Collier, MD


Objective: Several articles have been published on the relationship between religion, spirituality, and health during the past 2 decades. Corresponding to this, professional medical organizations such as the Association of American Medical Colleges and the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners have created competencies for medical students that include being able to understand how a patient’s religious/spiritual beliefs may affect their health. It is not, however, certain how and to what extent medical schools implement religion/spirituality in medicine training into their curriculum. Our objective in this study was to quantify and assess the implementation of religion/spirituality in medicine curricula at US osteopathic medical schools.

Methods: In early 2021, an electronic survey was sent to individuals in curriculum positions at all US osteopathic medical school main and branch locations. The survey consisted of questions regarding the presence or absence of curriculum on religion/spirituality in medicine at their school, and, if it was present, what it consisted of.

Results: Ten institutions responded to the survey, with the majority (80%) stating they did not have religion/spirituality curriculum at their institution.

Conclusions: Based on the current evidence, there may be a downward trend in osteopathic medical schools providing formal education on religion/spirituality in medicine.

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