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Conference reports

Chiropractic Osteopathy Physiotherapy Conference – 26 November 2011

The British School of Osteopathy hosted a multi-disciplinary undergraduate conference on the 26th November 2011. This was the eighth annual one-day conference organised for osteopathy, chiropractic and physiotherapy students, teaching faculty and clinicians. The conference is organised in partnership with the Anglo- European College of Chiropractic ( Each year one of the partners hosts the event and this year the conference returned to its first venue – the BSO.

The one day conference was not only a dynamic and engaging event with great opportunities for freshly qualified health care professionals to meet and discuss practice, but also an opportunity for students and recent graduates to present their research with confidence in front of a professional audience. Prizes were awarded, donated from a number of generous supporters including Elsevier Publishing and Balens Insurance.

The conference provides a platform for research presentations generated from undergraduate programmes across the three professions. Submitted abstracts are reviewed by a panel drawn from the two partner institutions and are selected on the basis of quality, and originality.

Giving students and new graduates the opportunity to present their work, we see the annual conference as a contribution to the education and awareness of research for hundreds of future practicing professionals as well as an encouragement for them to pursue research as part of their career. The conference provides not only inspiration for future researchers, but also a chance to foster collaboration between chiropractic, osteopathic and physiotherapy students and professionals. It also provides students and new graduates with a chance to share knowledge of new ideas and learn about developments, debates and issues they may encounter in their future professional life.

As well as the exciting original research presentations, we were delighted that this year's keynote speech was provided by Professor Tamar Pincus, Professor in Health Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London, titled "Effective reassurance for patients with non- specific pain conditions."

Management of the Shoulder in Sports Conference - 2 July 2011

Building on the well-attended conference held at the British School of Osteopathy (BSO) in October 2010, the Management of the Shoulder in Sports Conference was a collaborative venture between the BSO and the Anglo European College of Chiropractic (AECC). The conference took place on Saturday 2 July 2011, and was held on campus at Loughborough University. More than 80 delegates and speakers sacrificed watching the Women's Final at Wimbledon to learn more about the impact of sports on the shoulder and the best way to treat some of the presenting conditions.

Keynote presentations by Dr Jeremy Lewis about subacromial impingement syndrome and rotator cuff tendinopathy gave delegates a fantastic insight into the diagnosis, treatment and potential outcomes for patients with these conditions. Workshops then allowed participants to explore some of these areas in more detail with an overview of the functional assessment of the shoulder lead by Dr Neil Osborne of the AECC, and a workshop exploring strength training programmes by Jon Magnusson, AECC intern and Icelandic heptathlete. There were also workshops looking at prescriptions for stretching, lead by Robin Lansman DO of the BSO Sports Injuries clinic, and the use of ultrasound for diagnosis of sporting shoulder injuries, lead by Dr James Brown of Medesol.

Afternoon workshops explored the similarities and differences between osteopaths and chiropractors in diagnosing shoulder injuries with Tom Hewetson of the Osteopathic Sports Care Association (OSCA) and Ed Rothman, Director of the AECC clinic, as well as looking at the facts and myths of sports nutrition with Dr Lisa Ryan, Senior Lecturer in Human Nutrition at Oxford Brookes University.

The closing keynote of the day was presented by Dr Joanna Bowtell, Head of Sports and Exercise Science Research at London South Bank University. Dr Bowtell presented on the effects of targeted and whole body vibration on sports performance, bringing new research findings to delegates and demonstrating a clear link to manual therapy practice.

Simeon London, the BSO's Head of Clinical Practice, co-chaired the conference with Ed Rothman, Head of the AECC Clinic. "I am delighted to have been involved with this important conference, examining an area of practice that is relevant to anyone treating sports men and women. The underpinning research and knowledge of the keynote speakers gave some really important guidance which I will be taking back to share with my clinical teams." Charles Hunt, BSO Principal and Chief Executive also commented: "I am very pleased to have worked with our colleagues at the AECC to bring this conference to a new venue, away from London and the South. It is important that CPD and conferences are available to all practitioners, and I'm very pleased that so many people attended."

International Osteopathic Education Conference – 9 April 2011

The British School of Osteopathy (BSO), in conjunction with the Osteopathic European Academic Network OsEAN, held the third International Osteopathic Education Conference on Saturday 9 April 2011 at the Royal Society of Medicine, Central London. The theme was Quality in Osteopathic Education, with a programme focused on quality, assessment and shared standards within the profession and its educational institutions.

The conference was be chaired by Charles Hunt, Principal & Chief Executive of the BSO.

Highlights of the programme included:

Osteopathy Crossing Borders: formalising osteopathic standards within Europe
Tim Walker, Chief Executive & Registrar, General Osteopathic Council

Clinical Leadership and the New Curriculum Framework for the Non-Medical Workforce
Professor Mary Lovegrove, Head of the Department of Allied Health Professions, London South Bank University

Joseph's Coat and the Emperor's Clothes: issues for designing an osteopathic curriculum
Professor Stephen Tyreman, Dean of Osteopathic Education Development and Professional Doctorate Course Leader, British School of Osteopathy

Beyond the Handshake - the Future of Collaboration in Osteopathic Education
Raimund Engel, Osteopathic European Academic Network

Workshops were designed to focus on specific areas of osteopathic education, with speakers sharing best practice from different perspectives and with opportunities for delegates to discuss issues from their own institutions.

1. Clinical Assessment
This workshop addressed contemporary issues in assessment of clinical practice. Chaired by Simeon London, Head of Clinical Practice at the BSO, there were also be presentations from Sarah Wallace (osteopath, international external examiner and previous Chair of the GOsC Education Committee) on issues in clinical practice and assessment in central Europe, and John Patterson (Honorary Senior Lecturer, Centre for Medical Education, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry) on clinical assessment in medicine.

2. Assessing practical skills
This workshop looked at the technical skills area and best practice in the way that it is assessed in the different manual therapies. Bex Morrison, M.Ost Course Leader at the BSO chaired the session, with contributions from Adrian Barnes, Principal of the European School of Osteopathy, Peter Miller, Senior Lecturer at the Anglo European Chiropractic College and Peter Lageard, Senior Physiotherapy Lecturer at London South Bank University. This session enabled delegates to compare and contrast types of assessment tools used and their value.

3. Dissertation Supervision and Assessment
With most UK qualifications at masters degree level, this workshop looked at the challenges of supporting and supervising student dissertations. Jorge Esteves, Head of Postgraduate Education at the BSO chaired the session and present on dissertation supervision, with co-presenters Marjolaine Dey, Head of Student Dissertations, CEESO, Paris who present edon the challenges of effective dissertation supervision in osteopathy and Jocelyn Gentil-Becoz, Head of Student Dissertations, CEESO, Lyon who summarised best practice regarding assessment of dissertations.

There were also parallel and poster presentations that have been drawn from a call for papers earlier in 2011. These presentations focused on the following three themes:

Undergraduate course innovation
Submissions reflected the depth and breadth of innovative undergraduate osteopathic education and practice. Topics included a review of an undergraduate curriculum, reflections on the design of a new unit and the use of problem based learning in osteopathic education.

Postgraduate challenges
Submissions related to postgraduate study such as masters programmes, professional doctorates, and other structured programmes of study leading to formal qualifications. Topics included a review of barriers to effective student dissertation supervision, the development of a professional doctorate in osteopathy and the assessment of clinical competence.

Teaching and technology
Submissions identified the range of methods and technologies used in teaching osteopathy and manual therapies. Topics included reflections on international mobility, quality assurance of osteopathic education and the teaching of anatomy using new technologies.

For a full report on the conference activities, please click here.

Chiropractic, Osteopathy and Physiotherapy conference - 9 October 2010

85 attendees gathered in Bournemouth on 9 October 2010 for the seventh annual Chiropractic, Osteopathy and Physiotherapy (COP) conference for students, teaching faculty and clinicians.

Hosted this year by the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC), which jointly organises COP conferences with the BSO, the conference heard 32 presentations by students from as far afield as Spain and France representing six different colleges – the AECC and the BSO plus the European School of Osteopathy; L'Ecole IdHEO; the London School of Osteopathy and the McTimoney College of Chiropractic.

Dr Lisa Roberts, Arthritis Research UK Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy/Consultant Physiotherapist, gave the keynote speech: Can you prove your clinical effectiveness?

Two of the three prizes were by recent BSO graduates, who each won £50 of book vouchers, donated by Elsevier. Andrew Nicholettos' prizewinning presentation was on The immediate effects of Open Kinetic Chain (OKC) knee extensor exercise in knee laxity, whilst Michael Nutt was honoured for Examining patients' pathways to osteopathic care at a teaching clinic in the UK.

The award for best overall presentation went to Bert Ameloot of the AECC for his Investigation into the effect of mechanical impulses on lumbar latent trigger pointing sEMG and pain pressure thresholds. He won a year's free subscription to an Elsevier journal, plus £100 of Elsevier book vouchers, kindly donated by MACP.

"I was very pleased by the extremely high standard of presentations by BSO students at this year's COP conference," said Steven Vogel, BSO Vice Principal (Quality and Research) and UK and European Editor of the International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine.

Osteopathy and Sports Conference – 2 October 2010

Over 100 delegates and speakers attended the British School of Osteopathy (BSO)'s first Osteopathy and Sports Conference on Saturday 2 October 2010, which was held in collaboration with the Osteopathic Sports Care Association (OSCA). Reflecting the increasing importance and profile of sports in the build up to the 2012 Olympic Games, delegates were given the opportunity to find out more about how osteopathy can support professional and amateur sports people alike.

The opening keynote presentation came from Professor Alison McGregor, Professor of Musculoskeletal Biodynamics at Imperial College. She spoke on biomechanics and rowing, concentrating on performance enhancement and injury prevention, giving delegates an informative and evidence-based opening to the day.

Three workshop streams structured the main part of the conference. The first stream focused on acute and chronic injuries in sport, and their treatment. Osteopath Tom Hewetson provided an introduction and then a practical session on taping, and the way that it can support sports men and women who sustain injuries. A further session led by physiotherapist Dr Lisa Hodgson gave delegates an understanding of the latest protocols in head injury and concussion assessment.

The second workshop stream involved three sessions led by sports psychologist and performance coach John Neal, who looked at goal setting and visualisation, stress and managing expectations for athletes returning to training. With many of the techniques covered transferable to other contexts, delegates were provided with food for thought to take back into their own practice.

The final workshop stream focused on rehabilitation, in particular the knee as an area commonly causing problems for sports men and women. Orthopaedic surgeon Jonathan Beacon provided a comprehensive overview of the ligamentous apparatus and integrity of the knee. He demonstrated new and helpful diagnostic tests for delegates to use in practice. BSO lecturer Fiona Hendry built on this foundation, with an osteopathic overview of practical evaluation tests for the knee, and Terry Aldridge rounded off this stream with a 'refresher' session on osteopathic techniques used to treat the knee joint.

In the middle of the day, Simeon Milton from OSCA chaired a debate about the importance of managing core stability to deal with back pain for sports men and women. Osteopath David Millard spoke for the importance of this area, with Professor Eyal Lederman arguing against the motion. Delegates feedback was very positive about the lively and provocative discussion, which yielded much information that could be used to help patients understand this area more thoroughly.

The closing keynote presentation of the day was given by Carl Todd, osteopath to the England football team and consultant osteopath to Chelsea Football Club. Carl's presentation looked at the practical application of his work in football, especially as part of a multi-disciplinary team.

Charles Hunt, the BSO's Principal & Chief Executive, chaired the conference. "We are delighted to have worked with staff at OSCA to put on this important event. As the profile of osteopathy in professional sports increases, there are opportunities for all practitioners to enhance their skills and knowledge in treating amateur and professional sports men and women."

Chiropractic, Osteopathy and Physiotherapy conference – 21 November 2009

On 21 November 2009 the sixth Chiropractic, Osteopathy and Physiotherapy annual conference was held at the BSO's teaching centre.

This event is a unique opportunity for multidisciplinary interaction for undergraduates, students, teaching faculty and clinicians, providing a forum for the sharing of ideas and approaches to care by practitioners. 83 delegates registered for this year's conference – which was entitled 'Moving forward through research and practice' – including representatives from six different educational institutions across the UK. A total of 24 presentations were made covering a wide range of topics including educating students in evidence-based medicine; the lived experience of women with ankylosing spondylitis; low back pain clinical practice guidelines and the effects of verbal instructions on spinal stability.

Delegates were welcomed by Steven Vogel, BSO Vice Principal (Research and Quality), who later also gave advice on where and how to publish research.

Dr Nefyn Williams is a Clinical Senior Lecturer in the Department of Primary Care and Public Health at Cardiff University was invited to deliver the keynote address. Based in Wrexham as part of the university's North Wales Clinical School, his main research interest is musculoskeletal disorders and his address was entitled Get moving! A programme of research encouraging patients with osteoarthritis in the hip or knee to exercise more,

On the day, he outlined the framework and methodology used in recent research into physical and psychological benefits of osteopathy, as well as assessing the potential value for money osteopathic treatment can offer in comparison with other treatments for musculoskeletal complaints. He also outlined how he and colleagues had worked to compile, test, refine and publish the "Hip and Knee Book" – an evidence-based information booklet designed to challenge misconceptions and fears about exercise by people with osteoarthritis, encourage appropriate exercise and give general information and support to people with the condition.

During his presentation, Dr Williams discussed the influence throughout history that "bone setters" had on leading medical figures such as James Paget in the nineteenth century. He urged conference attendees publish their results and to develop high quality research in order to add to the evidence base for manual therapy and manipulation, and to further educate and influence the nursing and medical professions

The day was structured with two presentation tracks running side by side throughout. Jenny Dummett from Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) was awarded the overall prize for the best presentation, which was entitled Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) and the communication of risk.

Risky Practice Conference – 21 February 2009

Assessing and managing risk in practice is a concern for all manual therapists. The British School of Osteopathy (BSO) welcomed over 60 delegates and a panel of recognised speakers to a one-day conference, held on 21 February 2009, to highlight the key areas of legal and practical vulnerability for osteopaths, chiropractors and physiotherapists.

BSO Vice Principal (Research and Quality) Steven Vogel outlined the conference's aims to improve quality of care for patients, to protect professionals and professionalism and to provide information, guidance and reassurance.

Paul Grant, a specialist in medico-legal law who appears before disciplinary bodies for many health practitioners began by looking at why therapists find themselves investigated by health care regulators, and how to avoid this. His recommendations included the central importance of comprehensive note-making of all aspects of a consultation; putting in place a complaints procedure and making patients aware of it; the importance of good communication with patients, reflective practice and an ongoing commitment to continuing professional development plus swift referral of patients with complaints outside one's own treatment capabilities.

Elaine Buchanan, a consultant physiotherapist at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre who specialises in spinal pain and disability gave an applied review of evidence of the risks and red flags relating to low back pain. Her analysis added detail and appraisal to current UK guidance by considering red flags together as indicating risk in the areas of spinal infection, cauda equina and vertebral collapse. She advised practitioners to follow the advice given in current guidelines, but to also take into account systematic reviews in the field.

In looking at risk assessment and management for patients with neck pain, Professor Alan Breen of the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) concluded that the risk of harm to patients is very low, but comes mainly from missed diagnosis. He advised that the best form of risk management comes from competent, well-informed practice and good communication with patients, with poor communication being a main reason why patients made complaints or instigated fitness to practice proceedings.

Pippa Bark of UCL spoke on understanding why things go wrong: systems not people. She illustrated a model of analysis of incidents which evaluated the immediate patient practitioner scenario, but demosntarted the relevance of analyzing management, educational and organizational issues. The role of practitioner error and deviations from standard practice were explored. The presentation demonstrated the value of thinking more broadly about the context of practice and encouraged practitioners to consider proactively what safety barriers they have in place.

Professor Julie Stone, visiting Professor in Ethics at the Peninsula Medical School looked at the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence's guidelines on appropriate boundaries and intimacy. She demonstrated the importance of boundaries to all practitioners. The harm that patients suffer from boundary violation was made clear and a helpful discussion of the complexity of boundaries and boundary violations was presented. Social and sexual relationships with patients, receiving gifts and touch were used as exemplars for discussion. She pointed out the need for practitioners to be aware of their reactions to patients and to avoid responding sexually or with hostility.

Dr Dawn Carnes of Barts and The London Scghool of Medicine and Dentistry Centre for Health Sciences presented the findings from her latest research project: a systematic review of adverse events and manual therapy. Her conclusions were that the risk of major adverse events was very low, but that minor adverse events such as transient increased in pain and stiffness was high. These risks were presented alongside other interventions and demonstrated to be largely equivalent or to be associated with less risk.

A series of interactive workshops also covered infection control; communicating risk and benefits effectively with patients; practical steps towards informed consent and a case-study focussed on neck pain.

Summing up the day, Steven Vogel recognised that manual therapists desired clear guidance and advice on issues such as informed patient consent. He recognised that there was still work to be done before consensus could be achieved, but hoped that the conference, and others like it, would provide a starting point.

Chiropractic, Osteopathy & Physiotherapy conference – 25 October 2008

On 25 October 2008 the Chiropractic, Osteopathy & Physiotherapy annual conference, now in its fifth year, was held at the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) in Bournemouth. This event provides a unique opportunity for multidisciplinary interaction, providing a forum for the sharing of ideas and approaches to care by practitioners.

The conference continues to go from strength to strength attracting interest from students attending institutions in the UK and other countries as well as various faculty and practitioners. This year was the first that included input and contributions from European training institutions in addition to the regular attendees, representing the conference's new found international profile. Two schools are now exploring scholarship opportunities that would send a number of their student body to the conference in forthcoming years.

A record 155 delegates registered for this year's conference, these included representatives from 13 different educational institutions across the UK. A total of 32 presentations were made covering topics including collaboration with the NHS, coping strategies for chronic lower back pain, clinical trials on health outcomes in HIV+ patients and the effects of regular treatments for neck pain.

Professor Gordon Waddell, an orthopaedic surgeon with an international reputation for research in back pain and other common conditions, was invited to deliver the keynote address. Widely regarded as a leading expert on musculoskeletal conditions, Professor Waddell has acted as a consultant to government departments and research bodies in the United Kingdom, United Sates, Canada and Sweden. His presentation featured the most up to date evidence and recommendations for policy on vocational rehabilitation (VR). He addressed the clinical and cost effectiveness of VR interventions and gave practical advice on which work related interventions are likely to be effective depending on the exigencies of the patient at hand.

The day was structured with two research tracks running side by side throughout the day. Sophia Barlow, a recent BSO graduate, was awarded the prize for the best presentation on Track One entitled "General Practitioners' Referral Behaviour for Simple Low Back Pain Patients to Private and NHS Manuel Therapists: A Cross-Sectional Survey".

The Chiropractic, Osteopathy & Physiotherapy conference, which is jointly organised by the AECC, BSO and the University of Brighton, is greatly dependent on sponsorship and the organisers would like to thanks all those whose generous support made this year's event possible.

International Osteopathic Education Conference – 3 February 2008

The British School of Osteopathy (BSO) and the Osteopathic International Alliance (OIA) were delighted to welcome 310 delegates from over 20 different countries at the "Osteopathic learning and practice – a global future" international conference on Sunday 3 February 2008. The conference was held at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in London and brought together osteopaths, educators and health professionals to advance osteopathic education and practice.

The conference was held as part of a celebration of osteopathic practice hosted by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) to coincide with the tenth anniversary of statutory recognition of osteopathy in the UK. It allowed attendees to share examples of good and bad practice; look at different educational models within their frameworks and take away useful ideas and information in order to contribute to keeping quality foremost as osteopathy moves towards a globalised community.

The keynote address at the conference was given by Professor Trudie Roberts, Head of the School of Medicine and Director of the Medical Education Unit at the University of Leeds, and Secretary of State Appointee for Education on the GOsC. Professor Roberts spoke on the importance of professionalism. She argued that it was still a core value for health service providers, and one which needed to be taught formally.

"Students only value things that are formally taught and made explicit by faculty", she said. "We have to teach it but also assess it". She outlined how most complaints against doctors are not related to competence but to conduct, and argued for the need to assess students' attitudes frequently throughout a course, beginning early and including summative assessment by numerous assessors using multiple methods in different settings.

This was followed by an international line-up of leading academics and practitioners from the world of osteopathy contributing to 32 presentations, including three symposia and a plenary session, all of which addressed strategic issues and reflected global advances in osteopathic education and practice. Topics covered ranged from educating osteopaths after their initial qualification to different national educational practice models. In-depth symposia discussed osteopathic values and philosophy; evidence based practice, research and scholarship and the standards used in assessing osteopathic practice.Plenary talks addressed World Health Organisation guidelines, which were announced as being due for publication within the next few months, and UK subject benchmarks for osteopathy. The accreditation system for education in the United States was also presented.

Anecdotal evidence showed that osteopathy is now being practised in 50 countries, the majority of whom have no regulatory framework for practice, and with programmes of osteopathic education running in more than 20 countries, Professor Clive Standen, Board Member of the Osteopathic International Alliance and Chair of its Education Committee used his address to state that globalization in osteopathy will happen, with the future of the profession being driven by people who will see opportunities and break into new markets. He cited international debate, collaboration, competition with integrity and the setting of inspirational horizons as the keys to the successful future development of osteopathic education.

Chiropractic, Osteopathy and Physiotherapy Conference - 29 September 2007

The British School of Osteopathy (BSO) hosted the fourth annual one-day multi-disciplinary undergraduate conference organised for osteopathy, chiropractic and physiotherapy students, teaching faculty and clinicians. The conference was run with partner hosts the Anglo- European College of Chiropractic and The University of Brighton. The initial impetus for the conference was to value undergraduate research work and to promote collaboration and discussion between the three professions. The need for students and recent graduates to gain experience presenting work in professional environments is ever-increasing, as is the demand for demonstrably evidence-informed practice: having a multidisciplinary forum for this to occur is unique to this conference.

As well as the exciting original research presentations, two excellent keynote speakers with international research reputations in musculoskeletal health care presented on topics of importance to all three professions: Dr Tamar Pincus talked about back pain and patients who do not recover regardless of treatment, and the implications for clinicians in terms of their clinical decisions and referral patterns.

Dr Nadine Foster spoke about the dualistic relationship and contrast between clinicians' experience and clinical trials and explained some of the key challenge in using the 'evidence' derived from randomised clinical trials in decision-making with individual patients with musculoskeletal problems.

We were delighted by the generous support of our sponsors, who contributed to the expense of providing delegates with a conference bag full of goodies including a flash drive and prizes for the best presentations. Sponsors: Elsevier Publishing, British Osteopathic Association, Plinth 2000 Ltd, Chiropractic Patients Association and the Manipulation Association of Chartered Physiotherapists.

The event was organised by Roberta Herrick, Jo Zamani and Steven Vogel, but would not have been possible without those who volunteered their time on the day. Special thanks to those who chaired sessions: Stephen Tyreman, Frank Vincent, Sharon Potter, Rob McCoy, Charles Hunt, Amanda Samson, Myles King and especially thank you to Hilary Abbey who evaluated presentations all day.

Thirty one presentations were given, with a professional atmosphere prevailing in all three rooms where the presentations were held. Presenters showed confidence and a good understanding of illustrating their work with PowerPoint slides. The overall feedback was positive, generating comments such as:

'Research at undergraduate level has come on a long way in the last decade.

Good opportunity for student to give a presentation.'

'I think it is great that undergraduate research reflects trends that experienced keynote speakers are highlighting.'

'Helpful to discuss ideas across the disciplines and learn new approaches to patient management treatment etc.'

'Great to see the professions talking to each other'

Prizes were awarded as follows:

• 1st Prize was an annual subscription to an Elsevier Journal and the publication of the presented abstract in Manual Therapy. This was awarded to Jamie Dearing of the London School of Osteopathy
An Examination of Pressure-Pain Thresholds (PPT) at Myofascial Trigger Points (MTrPs) Following Muscle Energy Technique or Ischaemic Compression Treatment.

• 2nd Prize was a copy of Grieve's Modern Manual Therapy: The Vertebral Columnand, which was awarded to Thomas Wynn Jones of The British School of Osteopathy
The Decision-Making Process by Which General Practitioners Refer LBP Patients to Osteopaths and Physiotherapists.

• 3rd Prizes were awarded to three presenters:
Hayley Edwards of the Anglo-European College of Chiropractors
Jenny Allan of the British School of Osteopathy
Chris Drakes of the College of Osteopaths

International Osteopathic Education Conference – 17 June 2005

The British School of Osteopathy hosted the 1st International Conference on Osteopathic Education at Royal Holloway University of London 17th–19th June 2005. On a hot and sunny weekend more than 70 delegates from the UK and Europe met to discuss what makes osteopathic education osteopathic rather than medical or chiropractic, and to share innovation and good practice. The key speaker was Prof Colin Coles whose lecture was on Teaching, Learning and Assessing Practice. He focused on practice rather than theory as the heart of a profession and addressed the difficult issue of how to teach (and assess) phronesis, the wisdom of practice. Practical/Practice knowledge has become an area of great interest since it has been generally acknowledged that clinical work is an area of knowledge in its own right and more than just applied theory.

As a prelude, papers were presented on professional identity in osteopathy, chiropractic and physiotherapy and the recognition that this informed curriculum development. If students are to graduate with a clear sense of what being an osteopath (or chiropractor or physiotherapist) means and how they are different from yet complement other areas of health care, the way to achieve this sense should be clearly embedded within the curriculum. It appears that the three professions are each grappling with the same issues: who we are in relation to other manual therapy professions and how we identify what the core learning outcomes should be. In addition there is an even wider debate across all areas of health care about what constitutes core knowledge and skills, what is necessary (rather than merely desirable) for practice life. With Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and increased postgraduate provision it is no longer necessary to attempt to provide students with everything they might ever need for practice life. Life-long learning and continuous engagement with professional and academic issues mean that undergraduate education can focus on basics, preparing students for a different kind of professional life.

What also transpired from the presentations and from discussion was the realisation that the three main manual therapy professions make very similar claims, on paper at least, with respect to what they teach and value. Research is needed to evaluate whether this is borne out by what is actually done in practice.

Research and scholarship will inevitably be fundamental to the work and development of Higher Education teaching institutions and there were several papers and much discussion on these subjects. Other questions were left unanswered such as what would be the most effective and useful kind of research for taking education forward.

Overall, participants were enthusiastic about what had been gained from the weekend and we are looking to have further conferences in future.

Chiropractic, Osteopathy and Physiotherapy conference – 30 October 2004

On The 30th October 2004 The British School of Osteopathy in collaboration with the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic and The University of Brighton School of Health Professions (Physiotherapy division) held a conference designed to provide a showcase for the best of undergraduate research. The conference aimed to provide an opportunity for high quality undergraduate research to reach a wider audience, to foster inter-professional collaboration and to inspire new graduates to make research an important part of their career.

The conference attracted over 90 people. The keynote speakers and judges noted that the overall standard of the undergraduate research was very high. Elsevier donated prizes for the three best presentations.

The winners were Sally Wride & Paul Day; An Examination of the Clinical Reasoning and Recall Strategies used by Expert and Student Physiotherapists in the Musculoskeletal Outpatients Setting. Michel Moyson; Assessment and Management of Low Back Pain by Flemish General Practitioners and Piers Reeve-Tucker; Is High-Velocity Thrust a Key Factor in RCT's of Manipulation for Low Back Pain? A Systematic Review. The three winning abstracts will be published in Manual Therapy. Piers Reeve -Tucker won an additional money prize from the Manual Therapy journal for the best presentation on the day.

The keynote speakers, Professor Alan Breen, Professor Kim Burton and Dr Nadine Foster provoked some interesting discussion following on from their lectures on the future of inegrated care for musculoskeletal practicners, managing low back pain, and evidence based practice. The feedback from the day was very positive. Next years conference is to be held at the Anglo European College of Chiropractic on the 15th October 2005. We hope to see you there.

"This conference has been a huge success, allowing unprecedented collaboration and sharing of good practice at an international level for osteopathic educators," says Charles Hunt, BSO Principal and Chief Executive. "The BSO is very proud that, in association with the OIA, we have made this happen."

"I would like to thank the GOsC and BSO for their dedication to the profession and for asking the OIA to partner with them on what has been a very successful global conference," says Larry Wickless, DO, Chair, Osteopathic International Alliance Board of Directors.