American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

International White Papers

White Paper on Guidelines for International Electives and Cultural Competencies for Osteopathic Physicians-in-Training

2011 BIOMEA White Paper International Electives.pdf 2011 BIOM White Paper International Electives

BIOM has developed this White Paper to be a resource for osteopathic physicians-in-training (students, interns and residents) and osteopathic training institutions. Its suggestions and guidelines will hopefully enable osteopathic medical students, as well as interns and residents, to experience quality clinical clerkships both outside and across the United States while developing competencies in delivering care for patients of diverse cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds. 

The White Paper is intended as a tool to outline the pertinent educational and logistical issues of preparing osteopathic physicians-in-training for the challenges of international clinical electives.  It also addresses ethical interactions between components of colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs) and international partners in delivering quality clinical clerkships consistent with the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) and AOA educational standards. The Paper aims to encourage educational standardization of key component elements for international and cultural enrichment programs completed by those institutions, in order to foster safety, maximize educational outcomes and positively impact outcomes for osteopathic physicians-in-training. 

BIOM White Paper III


The AOA recognizes that it and many of its members, component societies, and institutions desire or need to interact with various governmental and regulatory bodies, scientists, educational institutions, and health care practitioners within the international community. It also appreciates that different languages, cultures, customs, and health practices make communication more difficult and increase the potential for miscommunication.

The AOA therefore desires, in all interactions and communications, that information gathering, education, collaboration, and cooperative ventures be conducted in a professional and ethical manner that accurately represents osteopathic medicine as practiced in the United States.

To this end, BIOM has developed its White Paper III and stresses the responsibility of integrating ethics and respect for the known history, authority, and relationships currently governing international health and medical policy when communicating information concerning the AOA and the osteopathic profession in the United States to individuals or organizations unfamiliar with same outside the U.S. border.


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