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

Education on aspects of religion/spirituality is a required component of medical education.  Osteopathic medical schools place an emphasis on the body, soul, and mind; however, it appears that the number of schools with an established curriculum of religion/spirituality is limited. A limited number of osteopathic medical schools providing formal curriculum on religion/spirituality points to a potential gap in education.

Target Audience

Southern Medical Journal (SMJ) is an interdisciplinary, multi-specialty Journal, and articles span the spectrum of medical topics, providing timely, up-to-date information for primary care physicians and specialists alike. The SMJ enables physicians to provide the best possible care to patients in this age of rapidly changing modern medicine. Therefore, the readers of the SMJ are an appropriate target for this article.

Learning Objectives

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.

At the conclusion of the activity, learners should be better prepared to:

  1. Discuss how religion and spirituality may impact the physician-patient relationship and clinical processes.
  2. Discussing the role of religious/spiritual beliefs may affect health outcomes may affect the health of patients.
  3. Utilize knowledge about religious/spiritual beliefs to help patients improve their general health and/or for specific conditions.
  4. Develop better education strategies for physician trainees to improve their evaluation and management skills with respect to addressing religion and spirituality in order to improve the health of patients.

Additional Information

Southern Medical Association
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit
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Southern Medical Association (SMA) requires instructors, planners, managers, and all other individuals who are in a position to control the content of this activity to disclose conflicts of interest (COI) with ineligible entities within the last 24 months of the development of this activity. All identified COIs are thoroughly vetted and mitigated prior to the release of the activity. SMA is committed to providing its learners with high quality activities and related materials that promote improvements or quality in healthcare and not a specific proprietary business interest of a commercial interest.

The following individuals, unless otherwise notedhave no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Manuscript Author(s):
Daniel J. Hurst, PhD, ThM
Alyssa Heric, OMS-IV
Kristin M. Collier, MD

Southern Medical Association/Southern Medical Journal Editorial Staff:
Steven T. Baldwin, MD, SMJ Editor-in-Chief
Jennifer S. Price, MA, Managing Editor
Anita McCabe, Copyeditor

Southern Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Southern Medical Association designates this Journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

AAPA: AAPA accepts certificates of participation for educational activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by ACCME or a recognized state medical society. 

AANPCP: The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP) accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by the ACCME.

Healthcare Professionals: For information on applicability and acceptance of continuing education credit for this activity, please consult your professional licensing board.  All healthcare professionals who are not MDs or DOs will receive a certificate of participation.

Available Credit

  • 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit
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This activity is designed to be completed within the time designated; learners should claim only those credits that reflect the time actually spent in the activity. To successfully earn credit, participants must complete the activity online during the valid credit period noted, following these steps:

  • Read the goals and objectives, accreditation information, and author disclosures.
  • Login in below to access the article in order to study the educational content and references.
  • Online, choose the best answer to each test question. To receive a certificate, you must receive a passing score.
  • Complete the activity evaluation and attestation.