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Educational Philosophy

In 2003, the Institute of Medicine (now, the National Academy of Medicine) published a report, Health Professions Education: A Bridge to Quality, highlighting the reforms necessary for healthcare professionals to be adequately prepared for 21st century medicine and beyond.  As part of their program of research in professional preparedness, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching produced a series of works that included Educating Physicians: A Call for Reform of Medical School and Residency (2010).  Educating Physicians, rooted in Flexner’s (1910) seminal work, argued for key educational practices medical schools would need to adopt in order to produce the next generation of physicians, including an intentional integration of clinically applied biomedical sciences, early exposure to experiential learning and professional identity formation, an emphasis on healthcare teams, social accountability and cultural awareness.

To this end, the University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine (UIWSOM) Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) curriculum was developed from the ground up as an integrated curriculum designed to spiral content throughout all Phases of the program and to support osteopathic medical students in their acquisition of the knowledge, skills and abilities expected at each level of training culminating with entry into graduate medical education programs.


Grounded in the principles of adult learning, the UIWSOM model of curriculum design and delivery values independent study and self-directed learning, builds upon experiential; small and large group interactive case-based learning environments, and focuses on conceptual knowledge acquisition and not rote memorization of facts.

All engagements with faculty facilitators are designed to utilize assessment (s) to guide learning and evaluation (s) to improve outcomes.  Our educational program is built upon and is continuously informed by these guiding principles:

  • Reflect our mission, vision, and values
  • Support adult learning and educational principles.
  • Synthesize the science of medical knowledge for clinical practice.
  • Develop critical thinking, clinical reasoning, and reflective practice.
  • Integrate osteopathic principles in education and professional practice

Curriculum Overview

The UIWSOM curriculum is divided into four phases that includes weekly longitudinal community engagement and early clinical experience activities

Phases I and II are comprised of eight integrated units with unit nine serving as a capstone.  All units are organized around weekly themes that illustrate our curricular components: osteopathic principles and practices, professional identity formation and applied biomedical sciences.  Additionally, six curricular threads are weaved throughout the curriculum and include: Mental Health and Wellness, Spirituality, Social Accountability, Service and Scholarship, Student Success, Mentoring and Advising, Board Preparation, Evidence-based Medicine. Contact hours are limited each week to allow for ample self-directed learning time, review and reinforcement. 

Phase I 

1. Essentials/EMT

2. MSK, Touch and Personhood

3. Molecules, Cells, Compassion

4. Host Defense and Communication

5. GI System, Nutrition, Appetite

Phase II

6. Circulation, Respiration, Regulation

7. Endocrine Reproduction Respect

8. Mind Brain, and Behavior

9. Capstone (Spirituality, Mental Health and Wellness)

Phase III consists of required six-week core rotations.  A Reflection, Integration and Assessment week is scheduled every 12 weeks between every two rotations. An OPP/OMM longitudinal integrated clerkship (LIC) component is part of Phase III. The following core rotations are:

Family Medicine

Internal Medicine

General Surgery


Hospital Medicine


Women’s Health

Medically Underserved (rural or urban)

Phase IV consists of a required four-week Emergency Medicine core rotation, three selectives, and five elective rotations.

At the end of Phase IV, students participate in COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE and Level 2-PE preparation and travel for the examination.  Student engage in a three week Ready for Residency unit, during which they are assessed for the entry-level ACGME PGY1 Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs).

A visual map of the curriculum can be found here. 

A schedule for the 2017-2018 academic year can be found here.