Task Force on Ethics and Professionalism


The Task Force on Ethics and Professionalism was formed in 2018. The Task Force was led by Chair Margaret Wilson, DO, dean, A.T. Still University Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine and Co-Chair Timothy Kowalski, DO, vice provost for professional and public relations, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine - Carolinas Campus. Their charge included evaluating current professional standards and ethics, assessing curricular designs, and making necessary recommendations to further strengthen every aspect of the osteopathic medical education system and professional standards. View member list.

The AACOM model policies were created as templates and each can be customized to fit the institution whether it is a freestanding college of osteopathic medicine (COM), a COM that is part of a larger university or system, medical center, hospital, clinic, or health system.

Model Policies

Curricular Resources

Understanding Sexual Victimization

Obtaining Consent and Understanding Victimization/Boundary Violation by Physicians

The Development of Core Professional Values



Beginning the path to becoming an osteopathic physician requires, at its core, an understanding of the osteopathic principles and practices, and how they are applied to patient care. That application is among the first things taught in osteopathic medical school. Every osteopathic medical student shares with their colleagues the experience of learning, practicing and performing the osteopathic manipulative techniques (OMT).

Osteopathic medicine requires the mastery of a technical skill based on tactile examination. As students learn these skills, taking the part of both the physician and the patient, the training can raise questions in the minds of students about their comfort when performing or being the recipient of activities that involve skin to skin contact or contact with certain areas of the body. This intersection of educational, professional, and sociocultural norms can create conflict that we aim to address by familiarizing prospective students with what they can expect learning OMT, and sharing the responses from some of our colleges. To share this information we created a web page with documents and videos that will familiarize you with how OMT is taught across our campuses by showing you some representative examples from specific campuses.

This collection of documents outlines some of the issues that we have encountered, from pre-matriculation to laboratory-based training and the practice of these procedures.  We share the documents and videos used by a number of our COM’s to represent the issues that may be raised, and demonstrate possible ways of addressing those issues. 

We look forward to your input as we modify and expand this resource.




The Task Force worked with the OME community to explore the importance of this topic to our COMs and their students. One such effort was student-led research from Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific entitled Prevalence, Attitudes, and Effects of Sexual Assault and Harassment in Osteopathic Medical Schools, a Pilot Study. This study describes the experience of osteopathic medical students from around the country of sexual harassment and victimization on COM campuses. The authors received first place in the student poster category at Educating Leaders 2019, the AACOM Annual Conference.


2018 - 2021 Task Force Members

  • Chair: Margaret Wilson, DO, Dean, A.T. Still University Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Co-Chair: Timothy Kowalski, DO, Dean, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine-Carolinas Campus
  • Council on Student Affairs (CSA) Representative: Kimberly Brown, PhD, Vice President, Enrollment Management & Student Affairs, Des Moines University
  • Curriculum Representative: Trish Sexton, DHEd, Associate Dean for Curriculum, A.T. Still University Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Educational Council on Osteopathic Principles (ECOP) Representative: Stacey Pierce-Talsma, DO, MS, Chair OPP Department, Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine-California
  • Expert Representative: Martin A. Finkel, DO, Professor of Pediatrics and the Medical Director and Co-Founder of the Child Abuse Research Education & Service (CARES) Institute, Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP) Representative: Mathew Zeller, Student, Western University of the Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Northwest
  • Assembly of Osteopathic Graduate Medical Educators (AOGME) Representative: Steven Gates, DO, Vice President of Graduate Medical Education, DIO, Corpus Christi Medical Center
  • Society of Osteopathic Medical Educators (SOME) Representative: Nicole Wadsworth, DO, Senior Associate Dean, New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • AACOM Staff Liaison: Mark Speicher, PhD, Senior Vice President for Medical Education and Research  Email: mspeicher@aacom.org