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Still University
Two medical students dawning scrubs, each smiling while reviewing information in a binder.

About ATSU

A.T. Still University (ATSU) is the founding institution of osteopathic healthcare, established in 1892 by Andrew Taylor Still. As a leading health sciences university, ATSU is comprised of two campuses (Kirksville, Mo., and Mesa, Ariz.) on more than 200 acres with six prestigious schools. Learning environments include residential and online healthcare related graduate degrees as well as community-based partnerships worldwide. ATSU has more than 700 employees dedicated to its not-for-profit mission and an average annual enrollment of over 3,100 students from 35 countries.

ATSU is renowned for its preeminence as a multidisciplinary healthcare educator. The University is focused on integrating the founding tenets of osteopathic medicine and the advancing knowledge of today's science. ATSU continually earns distinctions as the graduate health sciences university with best-in-class curriculum and a community outreach mission to serve the underserved. The University has a rich history of leadership in both healthcare education and correlated research.

ATSU instills within students the compassion, experience and knowledge required to address the whole person and shape healthcare in communities where needs are greatest. Inspired to influence whole person healthcare, ATSU graduates contribute to the future of integrated care while also leading with a selfless passion in the communities they serve.

  • Mission and Vision +


      A.T. Still University of Health Sciences serves as a learning-centered university dedicated to preparing highly competent professionals through innovative academic programs with a commitment to continue its osteopathic heritage and focus on whole person healthcare, scholarship, community health, interprofessional education, diversity, and underserved populations.


      To be the preeminent University for health professions
      • Leading innovator in health professions education
      • Superior students and graduates who exemplify and support the University’s mission
      • Osteopathic philosophy demonstrated and integrated
      • Pioneering contributions to healthcare education, knowledge, and practice
  • Awards and Recognition+

    • Image of icon for Fit-Ftiendly Worksite Gold Achievement 2015Fit-Friendly Worksite Gold Achievement (American Heart Association)
      Icon for Military Friendly School designationThe Military Friendly® Schools designation is awarded to the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students, and to dedicate resources to ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation.
      The Chronicle Great College to Work For LogoA.T. Still University of Health Sciences (ATSU) is one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, according to a new survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  • Evidence-Based Medicine +

    • Image of ATSU student performing an eye inspection on a patient Image of ATSU physical therapy professor demonstrating patient care Image of ATSU dental student inspecting mouth of child patient



      Principles of evidence-based medicine

      A.T. Still University’s (ATSU) integrated learning platform includes the principles of evidence-based medicine (EBM) alongside ATSU’s founding tenets of whole person healthcare. Students learn not only in the classroom but also in actual practice settings. The elements of evidence-based medicine can be applied to any patient treatment-oriented practice field, allowing medical and healthcare workers to provide each patient with current treatment options based on the latest, most clinically relevant research including clinical trial results.

      Evidence-based medicine is defined as “the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best medicine in making decisions about the care of individual patients. The practice of evidence-based medicine means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research" according to David L. Sackett, pioneer of evidence-based medicine, and his colleagues.

      Because EBM also is used in allied fields, including dentistry, nursing and psychology, the healthcare industry is embracing a more universal term: evidence-based practice (EBP).

      The need for evidence-based medicine

      Studies suggest our need for best evidence occurs twice in every three outpatient visits and up to five times per inpatient visit. The amount of new medical information formed daily is overwhelming. It is impossible to know everything. With this rapid formation of data, familiar sources such as textbooks are out of date by the time they reach the shelf. The development of online EBM tools and journals containing pre-analyzed articles help individual providers keep current.

      Most importantly, practicing evidence-based medicine leads to improved patient outcomes and offers the surest and most objective way to determine and maintain consistently high quality and safety.

      Myths about evidence-based medicine

      Evidence-based medicine is not a new concept. The term evidence-based medicine was coined in 1992 by a group at McMaster University, but clinicians have always used evidence to make decisions about patient care. The evidence just may not have been the “best" evidence due to any number of reasons.

      Some fear that EBM is an example of cookbook medicine, a way to cut costs of health care, or a way to keep patients from receiving the care they deserve. None of these fears is true. There will never be one recipe that fits all patients, and as stated clearly in the definitions above, EBM involves integration of clinical expertise and individual patient values. In some cases, the results of EBM may cut costs by eliminating unnecessary procedures or treatments; however there also may be situations where it is the expensive procedure or treatment that provides the best results for patients. Along that same line, practicing EBM is a way to eliminate unnecessary expenditure which, in theory, would allow more money to decrease the treatment and diagnostic disparities present in today’s society.

      Many can agree with the concept of EBM but are unsure that it can be practiced in a busy clinic. In reality, it is those busy clinicians who can benefit the most from the growth of EBM. As the search engines become quicker and the number of secondary sources grows, it will be easier than ever to find the answer to a clinical question that arises from a 15-minute office visit.

      Locate a particular topic

      To locate a specific topic, you may choose the most appropriate options from the sidebar navigation or you may use the search field above to access the information you want.

      Legal information

      This website is made possible by the Academic Administrative Units in Primary Care grant D54HP05442 between A.T. Still University-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Professions, Division of Medicine. Margaret A. Wilson, D.O., is the project director.

      The use of the A.T. Still University (ATSU) - Evidence-Based Medicine website is intended to serve as a structured set of guidelines to improve clinical practice. ATSU and its affiliates shall not be held liable for any hardships suffered or incurred as a direct or indirect result of the use or misuse of the information presented in this website, including but not limited to damage to or loss of personal property, sickness or injury from whatever source, legal entanglements, imprisonment, death, or loss of money. As with all information, the material presented in this website should be critically evaluated by the user before being implemented in a clinical setting.

      Any and all information contained in this website is the property of ATSU. Reposting and redistribution of this material is strictly prohibited and is illegal without explicit written approval.

      The information presented on this website comes from a variety of sources, including not only official ATSU departments, but also unofficial sources and individuals. Although every effort is made to present current and accurate information, ATSU does not author or edit all of the pages presented here and therefore cannot assume responsibility for all information. The author of each web page is responsible for the content of that page and is expected to abide by organizational policies and local, state, and federal laws.

      To report possible copyright infringement, contact:
      Susan Coon, M.A.B.C
      NIH R25 Project Coordinator
      Academic Affairs


      A.T. Still University/Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine
      800 W. Jefferson
      Kirksville, MO 63501-1497


      Phone: 660-626-2276
      Fax: 660-626-2925

  • Hometown Scholars +

    • Do you want to help improve the health of your community?
      Do you desire to work in your community’s health center?
      Do you aspire to be a doctor, dentist or physician assistant?

      If you answered “yes,” then ATSU's Hometown Scholars may be for you!

      ATSU's Hometown Scholars programs were started in response to requests from community health centers (CHCs) and other safety net providers. Hometown Scholars help ATSU meet the needs of CHCs by attracting and training dedicated, motivated, and qualified community-minded dentists.

      Discover how you might become a Hometown Scholars endorsed applicant for:

      • Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (DMD)
      • Arizona School of Health Sciences Physician Assistant program (MS)
      • Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (DMD)
      • School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (DO)

      Learn more about ATSU's Hometown Scholars program.

  • Our Communities +

    • Kirksville, Mo.

      view of Forest Lake in Kirksville, MO

      The best of education is represented in Kirksville. Among the notable colleges and other institutions of higher learning, Kirksville is the home of osteopathic medicine and the world’s first osteopathic university - A.T. Still University - founded by Andrew Taylor Still, DO, in 1892. Steeped in tradition and infused with innovation while always highlighting the importance of community, the city is located in northeastern Missouri in a growing city of nearly 20,000 residents. Kirksville is a thriving college community, offering a low cost of living and a high quality of life. Kirksville residents enjoy a variety of cultural activities that appeal to a wide range of tastes. On Saturday mornings from May through October, local farmers’ markets offer fresh fruits and vegetables during the prime growing season. For outdoor recreationists, a state park, five conservation areas, and three large lakes are just a few miles away with camping, swimming, and boating facilities. For those who prefer to stay active in the city, a sports complex, YMCA, aquatic center, and neighborhood parks are available for public use. Kirksville also is host to several festivals and offers one-of-a-kind shopping opportunities, especially in the historic downtown area, not to mention many dining options.

      Within easy driving distance of major cities such as Kansas City, Mo., St. Louis, Mo., and Des Moines, Ia., Kirksville also provides easy access to Missouri’s notable Lake of the Ozarks, Hannibal, Nauvoo, and Mennonite and Amish communities. To learn more about Kirksville and tourism information, go to

      Mesa, Ariz.

      Image of Mesa, Arizona sunset featuring many saguaro and ocotillo cacti.

      Progressive, vibrant, and diverse, Mesa, Ariz., is the state’s third largest city. It is nestled in the Valley of the Sun, boasting more than 300 days of sunshine every year. More than 468,012 residents call this dynamic urban setting their home, complete with a first-class business environment, highly educated work force, and quality of life that appeals to a variety of lifestyles.

      Just west of Mesa in the Valley of the Sun is the city of Phoenix, the capitol of Arizona and the nation’s fifth largest city. The Valley offers professional football, baseball, hockey, and basketball; two national parks, including the Grand Canyon; 25 state parks; and hundreds of miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. World-class golf courses, shopping, movie theatres, symphony, opera, art festivals, museums, and restaurants provide diverse opportunities to sample the cosmopolitan lifestyle of the Valley of the Sun. In the desert areas of Arizona, there is little rain or snow, and the winter temperatures are mild. Although summers are hot in the desert, there is relatively low humidity, making the actual temperatures more comfortable than in most other states during the same time frame. To learn more about Mesa, please visit
      To learn more about the Phoenix metro area, please visit

  • Our Founder +

    • Image of Andrew Taylor Still holding a staff

      Museum of Osteopathic Medicine SM [2000.34.05]

      Andrew Taylor Still, DO, was born Aug. 6, 1828, in a log cabin in Lee County, Va. Around 1853, he decided to become a physician. It was common practice in those days for an aspiring doctor to train by studying medical books and working with a practicing physician – in this case, his father. He may have received additional, formal training at a school in Kansas City, but no records remain to establish where and when this training took place.

      Personal Defeat

      In 1864, Dr. Still returned from the Civil War and faced a grave personal crisis. Earlier that year, an epidemic of spinal meningitis had swept through the area and killed three of his children. He had already lost his first wife, Mary Vaughan, to childbirth complications; a month after the epidemic, the daughter born to his second wife, Mary Elvira Turner, died of pneumonia. His inability to save his family, coupled with his grim experiences as a Civil War doctor, led Dr. Still to reject most of what he had learned about medicine and search for new and better methods.

      A New Revolution

      Dr. Still's explorations were grounded in the study of anatomy. Having grown up as a hunter and farmer, he had a basic understanding of the structural relationships of bones, muscles, and organs – knowledge he now extended through the study of human skeletons. He became convinced that most diseases could be alleviated or cured without drugs. The key was to find and correct anatomical deviations that interfered with the free flow of blood and "nerve force" in the body.

      Facing Challenges

      From the beginning, Dr. Still met with considerable opposition to his new theories and techniques. The local church denounced his claims of hands-on healing as sacrilegious. His brothers were embarrassed by his outspoken questioning of medical tradition; they criticized his willingness to risk his livelihood by driving away patients and to neglect his family and farm in pursuit of his "crazy" ideas. When Dr. Still asked to present his ideas at Baker University, which his family had helped to establish in the 1850s, school officials refused him permission. In 1874, Dr. Still decided to leave Kansas and travel to Macon, Mo., where he hoped his ideas would be better received. They were not, and after a few months of trying, Dr. Still moved north to Kirksville. There he finally began to find some acceptance, enough to open an office on the town square in March 1875. Advertising himself as a magnetic healer and a "lightning bonesetter" and traveling to towns as far away as Hannibal, Dr. Still slowly built up his reputation. Word spread about the doctor whose system of drugless, manipulative medicine - officially named "osteopathy" in 1885 - was able to cure many apparently hopeless cases.

      Thumbnail portrait of ATSU founder Andrew Taylor Still, DOThumbnail photo of ATSU founder Andrew Taylor Still, DO sitting in a chair outsidePainting depicting Andrew Taylor Still, DO, treating child, with family behind her

      Osteopathy is Born

      Finding he had more patients than he could handle, Dr. Still trained his children and a few others to assist him in his practice. Finally, there were enough people who wanted to learn his methods that he was persuaded to start a school. The American School of Osteopathy was founded in Kirksville in 1892 in a two-room frame building. The first class of five women and 16 men – including three of Still's children and one of his brothers – graduated in 1894. That institution is known today as A.T. Still University, the first osteopathic university in the world that now is the preeminent leader of whole person healthcare education.

      More information about Dr. Still is available through ATSU’s Museum of Osteopathic Medicine, whose mission is to preserve and promote the history and tenets of osteopathy through collections and research to a global audience.


  • Our President +

    • Image of video play button arrow. Image of ATSU President Craig Phelps, DO

      Craig Phelps, DO


      LinkedIn icon

      Craig M. Phelps, DO, ’84, is the twelfth president of ATSU. Prior to his presidency, Dr. Phelps served as ATSU’s executive vice president for strategic initiatives and as provost of ATSU’s Mesa, Ariz., campus for 12 years, overseeing the development and operations of School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona, Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health, and Arizona School of Health Sciences.

      Dr. Phelps is a fellowship-trained primary care sports medicine physician and is board certified in family medicine. Practicing for more than 20 years in the Phoenix metropolitan area, Dr. Phelps served as primary care physician for the NBA Phoenix Suns and WNBA Phoenix Mercury, physician for Ballet Arizona, team physician for Grand Canyon University, Scottsdale Community College, Paradise Valley Community College, and Gateway Community College.

      Dr. Phelps is a fellow of the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine, and he is a member of the Kirksville Osteopathic Alumni Association. He also served as the 2013-14 president of the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association.

      In 2012, Dr. Phelps was named to the Phoenix Business Journal’s Most Admired CEOs and Top-Level Executives. He was chosen as one of the Phoenix-area’s 25 most admired executives based on past achievements and ongoing outstanding leadership.

      Learn more about about the Office of the President, the president's cabinet, staff and past ATSU presidents.

  • Quick Facts +

    • A.T. Still University is home to the founding college of osteopathic medicine. It is the oldest osteopathic institution in the world, founded in 1892.

      ATSU Schools

      • Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ASDOH)
      • Arizona School of Health Sciences (ASHS)
      • College of Graduate Health Studies (CGHS)
      • Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCOM)
      • Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (MOSDOH)
      • School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (SOMA)

      Campus Information



      Campus Size

      Kirksville, Mo.


      150 acres

      Mesa, Ariz.


      59 acres

      Enrollment DATA
      (Fall 2015)

      ATSU School

      Students Enrolled















      International Enrollment

      Approximately 92 Non-Resident students from more than 11 countries.

      Enrollment Status

      Percentage of Enrolled










      % of FT enrollment

      Non-Resident Alien




      American Indian or Alaska Native




      Black or African American


      Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander




      Two or More Races


      Race/Ethnicity Unknown


      Degrees Granted (2014-2015)

      Total Degrees Issued







      Full-Time Employees (Benefit-Eligible)


      Student/Faculty Ratio


      Male/Female Student Population


      Number of Student Organizations

      Approximately 86

      GPA of Incoming Students

      Degree Program

      Average GPA

      KCOM DO

      3.61 cumulative, 3.54 science

      SOMA DO

      3.46 cumulative, 3.34 science


      3.39 cumulative, 3.24 science


      3.43 overall, 3.31 science

      MCAT Scores of Incoming Students


      Average Score





      DAT Scores of Incoming Students


      Average Score





      Percentage of Full-Time Students Awarded University Scholarships and/or Federal Financial Aid


      Graduation Rates (Average)

    • Note: Graduation rates are figures by five years for doctorate programs and three years for master's programs. Residential programs include all cohorts that began Fall 2010 for doctorate and fall 2012 for master's. Online programs include cohorts that began Fall 2009-Summer 2010 for doctorate and fall 2011-Summer 2012 for master's.

      Degree Program

      Average Graduation Rate

      KCOM Doctor of Osteopathy


      KCOM Biomedical Sciences


      ASHS Residential


      ASHS Online










      Number of Degree Programs (fall 2015)

      Total Degree Programs







      Budget (Fiscal Year 2015-16)

      $131 million

  • What is Osteopathic Medicine? +

    • “To find health should be the object of the doctor; anyone can find disease."
      – Andrew Taylor Still, DO

      Osteopathic medicine is a unique form of American medical care that was developed in 1874 by Andrew Taylor Still, DO, founder and namesake of A.T. Still University (ATSU), the world’s first osteopathic medical school. Dissatisfied with 19th century healthcare, Dr. Still founded a philosophy of medicine based on ideas that date back to Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, and which focuses on the unity of the body. Dr. Still pioneered the concept of wellness and identified the musculoskeletal system as a key element of health.

      Osteopathic physicians take a whole person approach to caring for patients. Instead of treating specific symptoms or illnesses, they regard the body as an integrated whole.

      “Over the past few years, osteopathic medicine’s traditional principles and practices (especially those focused on patient-centered, preventive care) have been heralded as central features of the kind of health care system that reform efforts aim to implement," states Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, President, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. “In other words, osteopathic medical schools are educating the kind of physicians this country needs, and that fact is being increasingly recognized throughout the nation."

      Image of two ATSU medical students treating a young patient. Image of four young ATSU-SOMA medical students Image of ATSU SOMA residency student treating young patient.

      Osteopathic medicine in practice

      Today, osteopathic physicians and allied health professionals are one of the fastest growing segments of healthcare providers. They are on the cutting-edge of modern medicine, able to combine technology with compassion and their holistic approach to treating the body, mind, and spirit that provides thorough care for each patient.

      Osteopathic physicians can choose any specialty, prescribe drugs, perform surgeries, and practice medicine anywhere in the United States. DOs must complete the same amount of schooling and meet the same licensing requirements as MDs, with approximately 200 additional hours of training in osteopathic manipulative medicine.

      DOs are prominent in both primary care and specialty areas of medicine, including family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, neurosurgery, cardiology, radiology, dermatology, and neuromusculoskeletal medicine. At ATSU, they have a passion to give back and meet unmet community healthcare needs in underserved and rural settings. Students become among the most dedicated physicians and allied health professionals, the wisest of mentors, and the most enthusiastic leaders who are inspired to change the future of medicine.

      Osteopathic Medicine facts

      • Andrew Taylor Still, DO, founded the tenets of osteopathic medicine in 1874.
      • Kirksville, Mo., is known as the home of osteopathic medicine and the world’s first osteopathic medical school established by Dr. Still in 1892.
      • A.T. Still University is a private, not-for-profit University focused on integrating the tenets of osteopathic medicine with advancing knowledge of today’s science.
      • In 1897, Dr. Still’s students organized to form the American Association for the Advancement of Osteopathy, or the American Osteopathic Association as it is known today.
      • The U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare recognized the AOA as the accrediting body for osteopathic medical education in 1952. In 1967, the AOA was recognized by the National Commission on Accrediting (now the Council for Higher Education Accreditation) as the accrediting agency for all facets of osteopathic medical education in the United States.
      • Federal recognition had a profound effect on osteopathic medicine, spurring a second generation of schools and a dramatic increase in the number of osteopathic physicians. The big shift came in the move to state-supported schools, starting with Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in East Lansing, which graduated its first class in 1973.
      • Osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) has been used to treat a variety of problems such as ear infections, sinus problems, colic in infants, and many adult maladies. It has had a success rate high enough to convince many MDs to take classes in OMM.
      • More than 20 percent of U.S. medical students are enrolled in osteopathic medical schools.
      • Approximately 78,000 DOs practice in the United States, handling more than 10 percent of all office visits in rural areas and eight percent in urban areas. DOs have a strong history of serving rural and underserved areas, often providing their unique brand of compassionate, patient-centered care to some of the most economically disadvantaged members of society.
      • By 2020, the number of osteopathic physicians will top 100,000, say expert predictions, according to the American Medical Association. This is good news, as the need for more osteopathic physicians delivering compassionate, comprehensive healthcare continues to rise throughout the nation and around the world.
      • AOA's Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation accredits 29 colleges of osteopathic medicine in 37 locations.

      Learn more about our osteopathic medical schools

      Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine
      School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona
  • Whole Person Healthcare +

    • Da Vincis Vitruvian Man

      At ATSU, students and faculty are part of a distinguished heritage of humanistic healthcare based on an integrated approach that includes the body, mind, and spirit of each patient. All three elements work in tandem to provide a more thorough and highly personalized healthcare delivery model that promotes wellness and meets the health needs of each patient. This approach distinguishes ATSU for innovation in post-graduate healthcare education. Graduates become compassionate leaders proposing global health solutions and meeting unmet community health needs.

      Each program, from audiology to dentistry, family practice to public health, integrates the principles of whole person healthcare into its curriculum and emphasizes the important role of health education, health coaching, and well-coordinated treatment plans that foster collaboration with each patient.

      Integrated, experiential learning forms the base of ATSU’s educational foundation. Each student is encouraged to participate in a wellness program, to study nutrition, psychology, and problem-based learning, and to join in the many co-curricular activities that bring faculty and students together not only to optimize learning but also to enlighten and inspire.

  • Board of Trustees +

      • Thumbnail image of Ann Thielke, RN,  JD, member, ATSU Board of Trustees

        Ann Thielke, RN, JD
        Houston, Texas

      • Thumbnail image of Gary Wiltz, MD, Member of ATSU Board of Trustees, from Franklin, LA

        Gary Wiltz, MD
        Vice Chair
        Franklin, LA

      • Thumbnail photo of Stanley Grogg, DO, FACOP, FAAAP, ATSU Board of Trustees

        Stanley E. Grogg, DO, FACOP, FAAP, ’71
        Tulsa, Okla.

      • Rosie Allen-Herring

        Rosie Allen-Herring, MBA
        Washington, D.C.

      • Thumbnail image of ATSU Board of Trustees member, Reid W. Butler, JD.

        Reid W. Butler, JD
        Phoenix, Ariz.

      • Thumbnail image of James D. Cannon, DHA, PA-C, MS, Member of ATSU Board of Trustees.

        James D. Cannon, DHA, PA-C, MS, ’97
        Chesapeake, Va.

      • Thumbnail image of C. Lisette Dottavio, PhD, CPA from Stephenville, Texas.

        C. Lisette Dottavio, PhD, CPA
        Stephenville, Texas

      • Thumbnail image of Chester W. Douglass, DMD, PhD, MPH, Member of ATSU Board of Trustees.

        Chester W. Douglass, DMD, PhD, MPH
        Waban, MA

      • Thumbnail image of ASHS Chair, G. Scott Drew, DO, FAOCD

        G. Scott Drew, DO, FAOCD, ’87
        Marion, Ohio

      • Thumbnail image of Tisha R. Kice-Briggs, DDS, ATSU Board of Trustees

        Tisha R. Kice-Briggs, DDS
        Kirksville, Mo.

      • Photo of Paulina Vazquez Morris, JD, MBA, MHSA

        Paulina Vazquez Morris, JD, MBA, MHSA
        Phoenix, Ariz.

      • Thumbnail image of ASHS Chair, G. Scott Drew, DO, FAOCD

        Michelle McClure, PhD
        St. Louis, Mo.

      • Jay Morgan, PhD

        Joseph (Jay) Morgan, PhD
        Frankfort, Ky.

      • Linnette Sells, DO, FAOASM, '82

        Linnette Sells, DO, FAOASM, '82
        Alpharetta, Ga.

      • Bertha Thomas, BPhil

        Bertha Thomas, BPhil
        Kirksville, MO

  • 2016-2020 Strategic Plan +

    • President's Perspective
      Print the President's Perspective

      There is no place like A.T. Still University of Health Sciences. Our students, faculty, staff, Board of Trustees, and external stakeholders all experience the benefits of rural and urban perspectives on healthcare, a commitment to whole person and whole community health, a family approach to nurturing student learning and personal growth, interprofessional experiences, and a collaborative environment.

      Today, more than ever, our University's mission resounds with our country's needs and, in fact, our world's needs for health professions education, and healthcare delivery and service. As ATSU approaches its 125th anniversary, our new strategic plan places us at the forefront of educating tomorrow's healthcare leaders.

      Patients and employers of our graduates require professionals skilled in critical thinking and decision making, team-based interprofessional care, cultural proficiency, interpersonal skills, and social responsibility. ATSU's core professional attributes initiative addresses these essential skills, assuring the distinctiveness of our graduates and ensuring their ability to meet patient and community needs.

      In 2010, ATSU's Board of Trustees set a bold 15-year vision, based on four distinct criteria, to be “the preeminent University for the health professions.” The criteria listed below clearly articulate the board's definition of preeminence:

      • Leading innovator in health professions education
      • Superior students and graduates who exemplify and support the University's mission
      • Osteopathic philosophy demonstrated and integrated
      • Pioneering contributions to healthcare education, knowledge, and practice

      Strategic Plan 2016-2020 continues to guide ATSU toward the lofty goal of preeminence. A heartfelt thank you from the University to our strategic planning committee members who devoted significant time from their busy schedules to thoughtfully consider how to accomplish the University's mission and vision. Additional gratitude goes out to faculty, students, staff, board members, alumni, and external stakeholders for their input and contributions.

      • Jeffrey Alexander, PhD
      • Annlee Burch, EdD, MPH, PT
      • Melanie Davis, DHEd, '13
      • Norman Gevitz, PhD, Co-chair*
      • Monnie Harrison
      • Alison Kapchinske, MSOT, ‘15
      • Bryan Krusniak, MBA
      • Clinton Normore, MBA
      • Klud Razoky, BDS
      • Addison Roberts, OMS IV, KCOM
      • Greg Rubenstein, MA
      • Gaylah Sublette, MBA
      • Alison Valier, PhD, ATC, FNATA
      • O.T. Wendel, PhD*
      • Lee Bonnel
      • Neal Chamberlain, PhD*
      • John George, PhD
      • Tonya Grimm
      • Lori Haxton, MA*
      • Liz Kaz, EdD, MS
      • Michael McManis, PhD, Co-chair*
      • Sharon Obadia, DO
      • Richard Rieder, MM, MBA
      • Randy Rogers, CFP
      • Patricia Sexton, DHEd
      • Richard Thomas, OMS III, KCOM
      • Matthew Wold, DMD, '15

      * Steering subcommittee
      Committee members were challenged to respond to five key questions:
      1. How will ATSU accomplish its vision of preeminence?

      2. What skills and resources will faculty and staff need to continue to successfully educate students?

      3. What experiences will students need to be post-graduate, market, and patient-care ready?

      4. What can ATSU do to best prepare for America's changing demographic and economic future?

      5. What should ATSU look like in 2020 and beyond?

      During the last 24 months, planning committee members and contributors analyzed, discussed, and prioritized ideas, goals, objectives, and metrics. Through diligent discovery, six themes emerged:

      • Education Excellence
      • Continued Commitment to Scholarly Activity
      • Cultural Proficiency, Diversity, and Inclusion
      • New and Expanded Partnerships
      • Effective Branding and Marketing
      • Fiscal Health, Affordability, and Compliance

      The above themes allow framing for 14 goals and 37 objectives. Many of the goals and objectives will be met and exceeded; as with all plans, some may not. New themes, goals, and objectives are likely to emerge as rapid changes in healthcare and higher education manifest themselves.

      An ongoing strategic planning support team will provide annual environmental scans and recommendations. ATSU will do its best to accomplish Strategic Plan 2016-2020 while remaining flexible in response to tomorrow's greatest challenges and preserving traditions and practices which make it a uniquely fulfilling place to learn and work.


      ATSU's first comprehensive strategic plan provided the foundation for Strategic Plan 2016-2020. The University would be remiss in failing to express gratitude to contributors of Strategic Plan 2011-2015.

      Thank you to Norman Gevitz, PhD, senior vice president-academic affairs, and Michael McManis, PhD, vice president of planning, assessment, and institutional effectiveness (retired), co-chairs of 2016-2020 strategic planning. Your leadership is greatly appreciated.

      Thank you, Dawn Shaffer, compliance manager, and Norine Eitel, MBA, assistant to the president and secretary to the board, for assistance with organizing and shepherding the planning process.

      Thank you to O.T. Wendel, PhD, senior vice president of strategic university initiatives, for leading the ongoing strategic planning support team.

      ATSU Mission

      A.T. Still University of Health Sciences serves as a learning-centered university dedicated to preparing highly competent professionals through innovative academic programs with a commitment to continue its osteopathic heritage and its focus on whole person healthcare, scholarship, community health, interprofessional education, diversity, and underserved populations

      ATSU Vision
      • Leading innovator in health professions education
      • Superior students and graduates who exemplify and support the University's mission
      • Osteopathic philosophy demonstrated and integrated (i.e., whole person healthcare)
      • Pioneering contributions in healthcare education, knowledge, and practice
      ATSU Core Institutional Values

      • Innovation
      • Whole person healthcare
      • Scholarship
      • Leadership in community health
      • Diversity
      ATSU Core Professional Attributes

      • Critical thinking
      • Cultural proficiency
      • Interprofessional collaboration
      • Interpersonal skills
      • Social responsibility
      Education Excellence

      Today's ATSU student is preparing to enter a changing healthcare system with unprecedented opportunities and challenges. New knowledge and skills are needed to effectively participate in the delivery and business of healthcare. Gone are the days of individual providers effectively delivering care outside of a team-based, patient-centered model. In addition to expertise in their profession, students must acquire skills and knowledge in critical thinking and decision making, community health, interprofessional care, leadership, communication, technology, business, and cultural proficiency.

      Our faculty and staff also face significant challenges in keeping current with rapid changes in healthcare, knowledge proliferation, upheaval of higher education's business model, legal and regulatory requirements, and pervasive use of technology in education and healthcare.

      Continued investment in professional development of our faculty and staff will assure ATSU delivers a highly sought educational experience exceeding the needs of 21st century healthcare providers and supporters.

      ATSU's core professional attributes (CPAs) help define the distinctiveness of our graduates who will be providing care and managing and leading healthcare teams and organizations. CPAs will address many of the skills deemed critical for healthcare professionals. CPAs are critical thinking, cultural proficiency, interprofessional collaboration, interpersonal skills, and social responsibility.

      Implement and enhance innovative learning strategies.
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      • Increase number of programs implementing competency-based learning and adaptive learning methods.
      • Increase professional development opportunities for faculty and staff who will educate ATSU's community regarding innovative learning strategies.
      Continue as a national leader in interprofessional education and collaborative practice opportunities.
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      • Increase professional development opportunities for faculty and staff.

      Prepare graduates to be healthcare professionals who will improve the health of individuals and communities, including diverse, underserved patient and client populations.
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      • Ensure core professional attributes are instilled in all ATSU programs.
      • Increase number of full-time faculty with master of public health (MPH) degrees.
      • Offer at least two complimentary MPH elective courses to all residential students.
      • Increase number of clinical experiences serving diverse, underserved patient and client populations.
      Respond to workforce and community health needs through innovative educational offerings.
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      • Expand existing and develop new programs based on societal needs, market conditions, strategic locations, and University capacity.
      Ensure ATSU clinics provide accessible, quality, and affordable healthcare in the appropriate context of whole person and whole community.
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      • Clinics will develop and measure outcomes based on appropriate college/school/program and professional standards.
      • Clinics will assess impact on individual and community health.
      Continued Commitment to Scholarly Activity

      We are a teaching and learning university that values scholarly activity supportive of our heritage, mission, and vision. ATSU is fortunate to have a strong foundation of faculty and student scholarly activity.

      Scholarly activity at ATSU encompasses Boyer's1 definition allowing participation from all interested faculty. Forms of scholarly activity include scholarship of teaching and learning, engagement, discovery, application, and integration.

      Scholarship of teaching and learning is the process whereby conditions relating to both instruction and learning are studied in a systematic manner based on results of previous studies.2 Scholarship of teaching helps learners transform and extend the knowledge they possess.

      Scholarship of engagement is a response to local community needs provided by the expertise of faculty where results are then utilized to solve community problems.3

      The most recognizable form of scholarship is that of discovery. In scholarship of discovery, faculty are expected to pursue knowledge for its own sake.

      Scholarship of application focuses on applying results of previous scholarship, both within and outside of academia, leading to new knowledge.

      Scholarship of integration requires an understanding of an interdisciplinary approach and synthesis of information from a variety of sources.4

      Contribute to healthcare education, knowledge, and practice through all forms of scholarly activity.
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      • Increase support and promotion of scholarly activity among faculty.
      • Encourage student engagement in both faculty-guided and independent scholarly activity.
      • Establish partnerships providing additional resources for scholarly activity.
      • Increase recruitment and retention of faculty with a strong potential for securing extramural funding.
      Maximize sponsored program funding and sources.
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      • Increase number and percent of faculty applying for and receiving external and internal funding, in the context of federal/external support levels.
      • Establish an enhancement fund for new external grants received.

      1. Boyer, Ernest L. Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. A Special Report. Princeton, NJ: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1990. Print.
      2. Meyers, Renee A. Guidelines for Human Subject Research Participants in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Research: UWS Leadership Site for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2007. Web. 05.30.14
      3. Commission on Community-Engaged Scholarship in the Health Professions. Linking Scholarship and Communities: Report of the Commission on Community-Engaged Scholarship in the Health Professions. Seattle: Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, 2005. Print.
      4. Hofmeyer, A, Newton M, and Scott C. Valuing the Scholarship of Integration and the Scholarship of Application in the Academy for Health Sciences Scholars: Recommended Methods. Health Research Policy and Systems, 2007. Web. 05.30.14

      Cultural Proficiency, Diversity, and Inclusion

      Providing quality healthcare and services to America's changing demographics is essential for all related organizations and individuals seeking success in the 21st century. Striving to attain cultural proficiency throughout the University is an endeavor worth undertaking. "Cultural proficiency is a way of being that enables both individuals and organizations to respond effectively to people who differ from them."5

      America is projected to have more than 13 million citizens over 80 years old by 2020 and 19.5 million by 2030.6 By 2044, our growing combined Hispanic/Latino, African American, Asian American, American Indian and Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander populations will represent over 50 percent of the population.7

      Institutions embracing diversity and inclusiveness benefit from additional perspectives and experiences. ATSU is committed to developing campus, clinic, and virtual environments embracing the broadest constituencies possible.

      Unconscious bias, health disparities, and lack of access to quality, affordable care are just a few of the challenges health professions universities must work together to solve. ATSU's mission statement directly addresses the needs of underserved communities. Our partnerships with community health centers across America strengthen our students' educational and personal growth while providing opportunities to positively affect the health of America's underserved through education, patient care, scholarly activity, and service

      The world is rapidly changing, and ATSU's commitment to cultural proficiency will allow us to better understand and engage society.

      Reach and attract a more diverse student body, faculty, and staff to further ATSU as a culturally proficient and inclusive institution.
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      • Increase recruitment and retention of diverse, service-oriented students, faculty, and staff by developing new partnerships and scholarships.
      • Increase events and educational opportunities for the ATSU community and additional stakeholders to promote cultural proficiency.
      • Conduct cultural climate survey.
      • Identify accessibility limitations and make appropriate improvements.

      5. Lindsey, Randall B, Kikanza J. Nuri Robins, and Raymond D. Terrell. Cultural Proficiency: A Manual for School Leaders, 2003. Print.
      6. Ortman, Jennifer M., Victoria A. Velkoff, and Howard Hogan. An Aging Nation: The Older Population in the United States. U.S.Department of Commerce, May 2014. Print.
      7. Colby, Sandra L., and Jennifer M. Ortman. Projections of the Size and Composition of the U.S. Population. U.S. Department of Commerce, 2014 to 2060. March 2015. Print.

      New and Expanded Partnerships

      ATSU is fortunate to have many successful partnerships assisting with student teaching and learning, campus facilities, government relations, patient care, student services, and information technology

      To meet future demands of a sustainable preeminent health sciences university, we will need to continue building win-win partnerships beyond the walls of our institution. The current model of graduate health science education and, in fact, all higher education, is being challenged by for-profit and other highly nimble organizations with significant resources to compete and innovate

      With more than 16,000 alumni and a 123-year history of educating healthcare professionals, ATSU must continue engaging alumni in order to better understand relevant educational needs essential to responding to healthcare's rapid changes.

      Further the University's mission and vision with strategically aligned partners.
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      • Increase number of new and expand existing partnerships with community health centers, clinics, hospitals, and similarly aligned organizations.
      • Ensure sufficient quality clinical rotation sites.
      • Collaborate with alumni to expand rotation, residency, fellowship, and employment opportunities.
      • Broaden community support and advocacy by discovering alliances and forming new collaborations.
      Effective Branding and Marketing

      Developing broader brand awareness, deeper community support for our mission, and building a growing positive public image for ATSU is best facilitated by cross-organizational marketing strategies. Developing cross-departmental synergies and communications are key prerequisites for ATSU to successfully compete for superior quality students, faculty, and staff; donors; external grant funding; and expansion of its demographic diversity.

      When ATSU's previous strategic plan was authored, "The Patient Safety and Affordable Care Act" had just been signed. Accountable Care Organizations were not in existence, functional medicine was an uncommon term and, like today, society was still struggling with cost and sustainability of healthcare. Now, more than any other time in our nation's history, ATSU's brand and the "Tenets of Osteopathic Medicine" have a renewed relevancy as solutions for all of us when treating the whole person (body, mind, and spirit), including addressing mobility, function, pain relief, less reliance on polypharmacy, quality of life, disease, injury, and illness prevention. The influence of the ATSU brand and its reputation as the founding institution of osteopathic medicine will continue to be nurtured, reinforced, and protected with stewardship to ensure our leadership continues to resonate for whole person healthcare. Our lasting and growing relevance will be harnessed to help our communities, as well as our students and alumni from all degree programs, benefit from ATSU's 123-year-plus history of innovation within osteopathic education and practice.

      Tenets of Osteopathic Medicine

      1. The body is a unit; the person is a unit of body, mind, and spirit.
      2. The body is capable of self-regulation, self- healing, and health maintenance.
      3. Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.
      4. Rational treatment is based upon an understanding of the principles of body unity, self regulation, and the interrelationship of structure and function.
      Build and maintain a strong public image of ATSU as a preeminent health professions university and founding institution of osteopathic medicine.
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      • Increase public awareness of the University's reputation as a quality health professions education and service-oriented institution focused on whole person and whole community healthcare.
      Become a preferred health sciences university for diverse and service-oriented students, faculty, and staff.
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      • l Increase enrollment and employment diversity by enhancing awareness among appropriate audiences.
      • Increase number of service-oriented students and employees by enhancing awareness among appropriate audiences.
      Fiscal Health, Affordability and Compliance

      Degree affordability and value remain at the forefront of national education discussions and at ATSU. The tuition we charge our students versus what they believe they are paying for will require continued discussions and clarification. With many states less willing to support higher education, we anticipate future students will enroll at ATSU with higher debt. ATSU will need to increase operational efficiencies, increase fundraising, and develop additional revenue sources to remain affordable for students.

      Complexity and cost of compliance are weighing heavily on all educational institutions. It is estimated colleges and universities spend a minimum of three to six percent of annual budgets on compliance-related activities. ATSU will need to continue investing in compliance initiatives and related information technology while learning to become more efficient.

      Explore opportunities to lower dependence on tuition revenue and increase affordability.
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      • Increase total ATSU gift and external grant revenue.
      • Increase number and corpora of endowments.
      • Develop partnerships with additional businesses and institutions resulting in increased revenue or in-kind clinical rotational sites.
      • Continue to develop operationally effective medical and oral health patient care centers.
      Enhance overall financial health of the University.
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      • Monitor and evaluate departmental expenses through a five-year, zero-based budget process.
      • Maintain or exceed bond ratios per covenants.
      • Comply with all applicable financial, accrediting, and local, state, and federal laws and regulatory requirements.
      Update and implement campus master plans, including information technology, for improving and/or increasing academics, scholarly activity, patient care, and campus life.
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      • Continue progress toward new/renovated academic, clinical, scholarly activity, and support facilities.
      • Annually monitor and evaluate five-year capital expenditure pro forma.
      • Utilize third floor of St. Louis oral health clinic for expansion of existing or development of new programs with strategic partners.
      Print the President's Perspective
  • Annual Report +

    • Image of the 2014-2015 Annual Report cover

      ATSU’s Annual Report provides a glimpse of the year’s events and achievements. To ensure the University continues on its path to preeminence and stays true to its mission, ATSU chooses three areas to concentrate its efforts each year. For 2014-15, the focus areas were innovation, student clinical rotations and residencies, and global initiatives. Read the complete 2015 Annual Report (PDF)

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Community Health Center

Waianae, Hawaii

As a leading provider of quality healthcare for area residents, Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center also provides community employment and health education. More than 80% of the staff are local residents, and many were trained at the affiliated Waianae Health Academy. Find out more.


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From public health centers located in communities where services are needed most, to research and other leading edge whole person healthcare initiatives, you can create your own legacy by contributing to the specific cause that moves you most. Find out more.


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When you give to A.T. Still University, you're not only supporting whole person healthcare education, you're also helping deliver it to where the care is needed most. Through our legacy program, we send students to underserved communities nationwide and conduct healthcare clinics at the university on occasion. Find out more.


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Whole person healthcare takes an integrated approach that addresses body, mind and spirit as one. Students are encouraged to participate in wellness programs and study areas including nutrition and psychology to gain a more comprehensive understanding. Find out more.


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Keep up with the latest developments in whole person healthcare at A.T. Still University with our complimentary newsletter and other publications. From scholarly inquiry and research to alumni activities and more. Sign up today.


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Let your light shine at A.T. Still University. Combining leading-edge whole person healthcare with a commitment to serving those communities where needs are greatest, we provide students the opportunity to truly excel as doctors, dentists, healthcare providers and healthcare leaders. Apply now; click here.