Apr 17, 2024  
2023-2024 University Catalog & Student Handbook 
2023-2024 University Catalog & Student Handbook

College of Osteopathic Medicine


Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine

Dual-Degree Programs

KCU College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCU-COM) Mission, Vision and Tenets

Mission Statement

The Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCU-COM) prepares students to serve as highly competent, caring and compassionate osteopathic physicians who demonstrate the highest level of clinical competence, professionalism, ethics and sensitivity to the diverse personal and cultural contexts in which care is delivered. We are committed to the service of humanity and advancement of knowledge through a collaborative environment that provides distinctive osteopathic clinical training and fosters excellence in education, research and scholarly activity, and lifelong learning.


KCU-COM is recognized as a leader in osteopathic medical education and health care by exceeding standards of academic and clinical achievement.

Tenets of Osteopathic Medicine

  • Osteopathic medicine espouses a patient-centered, holisitic philosophy that is integrated throughout the KCU-COM curriculum. As adopted by the American Osteopathic Association, they are as follows:
  • The body is a unit, and the person represents a combination of body, mind and spirit. The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing and health maintenance.
  • Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.
  • Rational treatment is based on an understanding of these principles: body unity, self-regulation and the interrelationship of structure and function.

The Osteopathic Oath

During the White Coat Ceremony and at graduation, all KCU-COM students recite the Oath of Osteopathic Medicine, as follows: 

“I do hereby affirm my loyalty to the profession I am about to enter.

I will be mindful always of my great responsibility to preserve the health and the life of my patients, to retain their confidence and respect both as a physician and a friend who will guard their secrets with scrupulous honor and fidelity, to perform faithfully my professional duties, to employ only those recognized methods of treatment consistent with good judgment and with my skill and ability, keeping in mind always nature’s laws and the body’s inherent capacity for recovery.

I will be ever vigilant in aiding in the general welfare of the community, sustaining its laws and institutions, not engaging in those practices which will, in any way, bring shame or discredit upon myself or my profession. I will give no drugs for deadly purposes to any person, though it be asked of me.

I will endeavor to work in accord with my colleagues in a spirit of progressive cooperation, and never by word or by act cast imputations upon them or their rightful practices.

I will look with respect and esteem upon all those who have taught me my art. To my college I will be loyal and strive always for its best interests and for the interests of the students who will come after me. I will be ever alert to further the application of basic biologic truths to the healing arts and to develop the principles of osteopathy which were first enunciated by Andrew Taylor Still.”

Osteopathic Student Professionalism

Code of Professional Conduct

“Upon matriculation at Kansas City University COM, I have become a member of the osteopathic medical profession. I understand that I will be expected to maintain and promote the ethical standards that my profession embodies.

I will enter into a relationship of mutual respect with my teachers and my colleagues to enhance the learning environment and gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes of an exemplary member of the medical profession. I will adhere to the highest standards of integrity, honesty and personal conduct at all times off and on campus. I will recognize my strengths and my weaknesses and strive to develop those qualities that will earn the respect of my patients, my colleagues, my family and myself.”

Assessment of Professionalism

Professionalism is one of the pillars of students’ training as future physicians and its presence is critically important as student doctors develop their knowledge and skills. KCU expects all COM graduates to demonstrate professionalism in all aspects of their training, as well as when they are outside of the classroom/lab.

Students who demonstrate unprofessional behavior will be expected to remediate and correct those behaviors. This professionalism assessment is designed to provide students with a clear understanding of their progress towards meeting professionalism standards, acknowledged nationally as those that student physicians need to meet in order to transition successfully on to residency. Students’ professionalism assessment will also be considered as part of the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) process, when students have their dean’s letter produced for residency applications. All KCU students must exceed all minimum professionalism expectations in order to graduate from the COM. Details about the assessment of student professionalism will be discussed with each KCU-COM class annually.

Students are expected to present and conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times. KCU-COM’s expectations include, but are not limited to:

  • Adherence to all policies, procedures, professional behavior, and attitude.
  • Exemplary interpersonal relationships with peers, faculty, staff, and the general public.
  • The ability to work effectively as part of the academic community and/or health care team

Assessment of student professionalism will include the following:

Professionalism is one of the pillars of students’ training as future physicians and its presence is critically important as student doctors develop their knowledge and skills. KCU expects all COM graduates to demonstrate professionalism in all aspects of their training, as well as when they are outside of the classroom/lab.

KCU’s expectations include, but are not limited to:

  • Adhere to all policies, procedures, professional behavior, and attitude.
  • Demonstrate exemplary interpersonal relationships with peers, faculty, staff, and the general public.
  • Participate as an effective member of the academic community and/or health care team.

As well as acheiving the professionalism competencies as outline by the AOA and AACOM below:


Demonstrates humanistic behavior, including respect, compassion, probity, honesty, and trustworthiness. (AOA Core Competency V.2.; EPA 1, 6, 9, 12 (P1, P6))

  • Provides polite, considerate, and compassionate treatment to every person
    • Always displays initiative to help others
    • Clearly articulates concepts of confidentiality, privacy, and informed consent
  • Consistently demonstrates compassion (awareness of suffering and the wish to relieve it) for others
    • Exhibits elements of altruism and empathy by listening to others and respecting their views
    • Always listens and is empathic with others
    • Thoroughly respects and shows interest in others’ cultures, experiences, values, points of view, goals and desires, fears, etc. 
    • Always demonstrates interpersonal skills verbally and non-verbally 
  • Consistently receives feedback in a professional and positive manner                                                             


Demonstrates accountability to patients, society, and the profession, including the duty to act in response to the knowledge of professional behavior of others. (AOA Core Competency V.4.; EPA 5, 13 (P4))

  • Demonstrates accountability
    • Always turns in assignments in accordance with established deadlines
    • Consistently demonstrates personal organization skills
    • Thoroughly plans and organizes own workload 
    • Consistently follows KCU policies and procedures
    • Always follows through on commitments
    • Always arrives on time for lectures, labs, assessments     
  • Demonstrates professionalism in the use of social media and the Internet


Demonstrates knowledge of and the ability to apply ethical principles in the practice and research of osteopathic medicine, particularly in the areas of provision or withholding of clinical care, confidentiality of patient information, informed consent, business practices, the conduct of research, and the reporting of research results. (AOA Core Competency V.6; EPA 1, 6, 8, 12 (P3, P6))

  • Complies with current regulations, laws, and statutes that govern KCU and medical practice (KCU policies)
    • Always demonstrates ethical behavior and basic knowledge of KCU Student Code of Conduct
    • Consistently demonstrates knowledge of the program and profession (training model, core competencies)
  • Applies principles of academic honesty and demonstrate integrity in all venues
    • Always demonstrates honesty, even in difficult situations
    • Consistently takes responsibility for own actions
  • Maintains appropriate professional boundaries with faculty, staff, peers
    • Always demonstrates appropriate personal hygiene and attire
    • Consistently demonstrates appropriate language in professional contexts
    • Always demonstrates appropriate behavior and demeanor in professional contexts     
  • Demonstrates the ability to take responsibility for one’s own actions, including errors and receiving feedback
    • Always takes responsibility for own actions
    • Consistently demonstrates willingness to admit errors and accept feedback
    • Clearly and consistently acknowledges supervisor’s differing viewpoints in supervision


Demonstrate awareness of and proper attention to issues of culture, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, and mental and physical disabilities. (AOA Core Competencies)

  • Treats all patients, colleagues, and others fairly, ensuring that no group is favored at the expense of any other
    • Always displays respect in interpersonal interactions with others including those from divergent perspectives or backgrounds
  • Openly discuss cultural issues, and be responsive to cultural cues
    • Clearly articulates how ethnic group values influence who one is and how one relates to other people
    • Clearly articulates dimensions of diversity (e.g., race, gender, sexual orientation)                        
  • Demonstrates how to cope with differences in people in a constructive way
  • Always displays respectful and collegial interactions with those who have different professional models or perspectives

Osteopathic Medical Ethics

  • All medical students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner demonstrating an awareness and compliance with the ethical, moral and legal values of the profession as described by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). In observing the principles and practices of medical ethics, students will:
  • Place primary concern on the patient’s best interests.
  • Be available to patients at all reasonable times as expected by the preceptor/core site.
  • Perform medical activities only within the limitations of a medical student’s capabilities and within the guidelines determined by the site and/or preceptor.
  • Strictly maintain patient and institutional confidentiality.

AOA Code of Ethics

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) has formulated a Code to guide its member physicians in their professional lives. The standards presented are designed to address the osteopathic physician’s ethical and professional responsibilities to patients, to society, to the AOA, to others involved in healthcare and to self.

Further, the American Osteopathic Association has adopted the position that physicians should play a major role in the development and instruction of medical ethics.

Section 1. The physician shall keep in confidence whatever she/he may learn about a patient in the discharge of professional duties. The physician shall divulge information only when required by law or when authorized by the patient.

Section 2. The physician shall give a candid account of the patient’s condition to the patient or to those responsible for the patient’s care.

Section 3. A physician-patient relationship must be founded on mutual trust, cooperation and respect. The patient, therefore, must have complete freedom to choose her/his physician. The physician must have complete freedom to choose patients whom she/he will serve. However, the physician should not refuse to accept patients because of the patient’s race, creed, color, sex, national origin or handicap. In emergencies, a physician should make her/his services available.

Section 4. A physician is never justified in abandoning a patient. The physician shall give due notice to a patient or to those responsible for the patient’s care when she/he withdraws from the case so that another physician may be engaged.

Section 5. A physician shall practice in accordance with the body of systematized and scientific knowledge related to the healing arts. A physician shall maintain competence in such systematized and scientific knowledge through study and clinical applications.

Section 6. The osteopathic medical profession has an obligation to society to maintain its high standards and, therefore, to continuously regulate itself. A substantial part of such regulation is due to the efforts and influence of the recognized local, state and national associations representing the osteopathic medical profession. A physician should maintain membership in and actively support such associations and abide by their rules and regulations.

Section 7. Under the law a physician may advertise, but no physician shall advertise or solicit patients directly or indirectly through the use of matters or activities, which are false or misleading.

Section 8. A physician shall not hold forth or indicate possession of any degree recognized as the basis for licensure to practice the healing arts unless he is actually licensed on the basis of that degree in the state in which she/he practices. A physician shall designate her/his osteopathic school of practice in all professional uses of her/his name. Indications of specialty practice, membership in professional societies, and related matters shall be governed by rules promulgated by the American Osteopathic Association.

Section 9. A physician should not hesitate to seek consultation whenever she/he believes it advisable for the care of the patient.

Section 10. In any dispute between or among physicians involving ethical or organizational matters, the matter in controversy should first be referred to the appropriate arbitrating bodies of the profession.

Section 11. In any dispute between or among physicians regarding the diagnosis and treatment of a patient, the attending physician has the responsibility for final decisions, consistent with any applicable osteopathic hospital rules or regulations.

Section 12. Any fee charged by a physician shall compensate the physician for services actually rendered. There shall be no division of professional fees for referrals of patients.

Section 13. A physician shall respect the law. When necessary a physician shall attempt to help to formulate the law by all proper means in order to improve patient care and public health.

Section 14. In addition to adhering to the foregoing ethical standards, a physician shall recognize a responsibility to participate in community activities and services.

Section 15. It is considered sexual misconduct for a physician to have sexual contact with any current patient whom the physician has interviewed and/or upon whom a medical or surgical procedure has been performed.

Section 16. Sexual harassment by a physician is considered unethical. Sexual harassment is defined as physical or verbal intimation of a sexual nature involving a colleague or subordinate in the workplace or academic setting, when such conduct creates an unreasonable, intimidating, hostile or offensive workplace or academic setting.

Section 17. From time to time, industry may provide some AOA members with gifts as an inducement to use their products or services. Members who use these products and services as a result of these gifts, rather than simply for the betterment of their patients and the improvement of the care rendered in their practices, shall be considered to have acted in an unethical manner.

Section 18. A physician shall not intentionally misrepresent himself/herself or his/her research work in any way.

Section 19. When participating in research, a physician shall follow the current laws, regulations and standards of the U.S. or, if the research is conducted outside the U.S., the laws, regulations and standards applicable to research in the nation where the research is conducted. This standard shall apply for physician involvement in research at any level and degree of responsibility, including, but not limited to, research, design, funding, participation either as examining and/or treating provider, supervision of other staff in their research, analysis of data and publication of results in any form for any purpose.

COM Student Attire

The KCU-COM student dress code promotes professionalism by demonstrating the values of excellence, equity and empathy in the learning and work environment. Students are to wear their KCU identification badge at all times and business casual attire or clean, unwrinkled scrubs while on campus unless specified in a course syllabus.  KCU-issued white coats are required at all KCU clinical activities or when specified in a course syllabus. Hair and nails should be clean and neatly groomed, good oral and skin hygiene adhered to, and strong fragrances/perfumes avoided.  Students that do not adhere to the dress code may be asked to change by any faculty and/or staff, and may incur a grade penalty if the dress code violation occurs within a course. Repeat dress code infractions are a violation of the student code of professional conduct.

HIPAA Regulations & Patient Encounters

All students are required to become familiar with and adhere to all aspects of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, Public Law 104-191 including The Privacy Rule published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Privacy Rule establishes, for the first time, a foundation of federal protections for the privacy of Protected Health Information (PHI). This rule sets national standards for the protection of health information, as applied to the three types of covered entities: health plans, health care clearinghouses, and health care providers who conduct certain health care transactions electronically. By the compliance date of April 14, 2003 (April 14, 2004, for small health plans), covered entities must implement standards to protect and guard against the misuse of individually identifiable health information. More specific information may be obtained at www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/.

As a medical student, these standards pertain to all individually identifiable health information PHI encountered during medical training with the University including, but not limited to, medical records and any patient information obtained.

HIPAA regulations prohibit the use or disclosure of PHI unless permitted or required by law; therefore, each student must utilize reasonable safeguards to protect any information he/she receives. Each student is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of any written or electronic information he or she receives, creates or maintains. The misplacement, abandonment or loss of any information in the student’s possession will result in disciplinary action. At no time should a medical student alter, remove or otherwise tamper with medical records. Specific rules and regulations with respect to student entries in medical records must be clarified during orientation or on the first day of the clerkship.

Furthermore, each student is responsible for ensuring that PHI is used or disclosed only to those persons or entities that are authorized to have such information. Students are expected to maintain strict confidentiality in their patient encounters; to protect the physician-patient privilege; and to ensure that there are no unauthorized uses or disclosures of PHI.

Any unauthorized use or disclosure of PHI including but not limited to digital images, video recordings, or any other patient related materials, committed by a student, or any observation of the same by a student or employee, should immediately be reported to Clinical Education.

Student Health​

KCU-COM students must follow the policies in outlined on the COM Student Health  policy section.