Osteopathic and dental research

The vision for the A.T. Still Research Institute (ATSRI) began in 1997 with the arrival of James J. McGovern, PhD, as president of Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCOM), now an entity of ATSU. Dr. McGovern came with a vision of transforming KCOM into a world-class, clinical research mecca. At the KCOM Convocation for the Second Century, two specific research focal areas of exceptional strength emerged—osteopathic manipulative medicine and family/senior healthcare.

In 2001, after financial support through the Strategic Research Initiative, the A.T. Still Research Institute was created as an overarching research entity under which clinical and interdisciplinary research activities are organized. The ATSRI, the namesake of the first osteopathic research institute, is the first modern osteopathic research center and embodies the spirit and mission of the first osteopathic research institute directed by Louisa Burns, DO, as well as the professions leading research pioneers Drs. J.S. Denslow, I. M. Korr, M.O. Gutensohn.

Building the infrastructure of the A.T. Still Research Institute

The ATSRI has worked closely with the University’s Office of Research Support and the Interdisciplinary Research Committees to promote mechanisms to provide mentorship and internal funding for new researchers or new research directions. To this end, the University-wide research focus of which the ATSRI plays a major role has been built on the Disablement Model. The Disablement Model is derived from the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), developed by the World Health Organization. This framework is intended to encourage and promote interdisciplinary research efforts, to support ATSU’s osteopathic legacy and one of its core institutional value of “Advancing Whole Person Healthcare.”

The following two University-wide Centers were originally established within the ATSRI and achieved significant success.

  • The Center for Healthy Aging Research under the leadership of geriatrician Don Noll, D.O., initiated the profession’s most extensive and best supported multi-center osteopathic manipulation study on the elderly hospitalized patient with pneumonia. The Multicenter Osteopathic Pneumonia Study in the Elderly (MOPSE). Other research in this center included the effect of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) on patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and identifying immune responses secondary to OMT. This center has matured over time into the Center for Clinical Outcome Studies.
  • The Still Osteopathic Research Center, was designated to evaluate and report on the effects of osteopathic diagnostic and therapeutic palpation. Significant advances have been achieved in this research area, developing novel methodologies using the latest technologies to establish reliable, objective, and valid methods to evaluate palpation. These technologies have been incorporated into the educational programs at four training institutions, including one international location. To facilitate the successes being achieved within this center, a 4M dollar endowment has been established between the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations and ATSU to support the work occurring within this center. Based on this center’s growth, it is now identified as the Center for the Advancement of Osteopathic Research Methodologies.

Currently the Institute has flourished into three centers:

Each of the three centers prioritize collaborative and interdisciplinary clinical research. They promote the establishment of ongoing collaborative research programs which span multiple disciplines within the university and globally, providing administrative and research support for clinical research projects.

  • Center for Research in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (CROMM)—Co-directed by Brian Degenhardt, DO, and Eric Snider, DO.
  • Center for Oral Health Research (COHR)—Directed by Ann Spolarich, RDH, PhD.
  • National Center for Community Health Research (NCCHR)—Directed by Joy Lewis, DO, PhD, FACP.