The Swiss Master in Chiropractic Medicine Curriculum: Preparing Graduates to Work Together With Medicine to Improve Patient Care
B. Kim Humphreys, DC, PhD,
Cynthia K. Peterson, DC, MMedEd
Chiropractic Medicine Department,
University Hospital Balgrist,
University of Zürich,
OBJECTIVE: In 2007, chiropractic became 1 of the 5 medical professions in Switzerland. This required a new chiropractic program that was fully integrated within a Swiss medical school. The purpose of this article was to discuss the Master in Chiropractic Medicine (MChiroMed) program at the University of Zürich, including advantages, opportunities, and challenges.
DISCUSSION: In 2008, the MChiroMed program began with its first student cohort. The MChiroMed program is a 6-year Bologna model 2-cycle (bachelor and master) “spiral curriculum,” with the first 4 years being fully integrated within the medical curriculum. A review of the main features of the curriculum revealed the advantages, opportunities, and challenges of this program in comparison with other contemporary chiropractic educational programs. Advantages and opportunities include an integrated curriculum within a university, medical school, and musculoskeletal hospital, with their associated human and physical resources. Many opportunities exist for high-level research collaborations. The rigorous entrance qualifications and small student cohorts result in bright, motivated, and enthusiastic students; appropriate assessments; and timely feedback on academic and clinical subjects. Early patient contact in hospitals and clinical facilities encourages the integration of academic theory and clinical practice. The main challenges faced by this program include difficulty recruiting a sufficient number of students because of the rigorous entrance requirements and curriculum overload resulting from undertaking a full medical curriculum and chiropractic modules.
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CONCLUSIONS: The MChiroMed program is a unique chiropractic curriculum that integrates medical and chiropractic education within a spiral curriculum at a world-class Swiss university medical school. The expectation is that graduates, with their expanded diagnostic and therapeutic knowledge, skills, and experience, will become future experts in primary spine care in Switzerland. It is hoped that this curriculum model will be adopted by other countries and jurisdictions seeking to enhance the role of chiropractic in health care.
KEYWORDS: Chiropractic; Curriculum; Education; Interdisciplinary Studies; Profession
From the Full-Text Article:
The history of the chiropractic profession in Switzerland is a compelling story of strong opposition from the medical community and considerable adversity overcome by the excellent organization and dogged determination of chiropractors, patients, and later the general public.  This tenacity resulted in Switzerland becoming the first country in Europe to regulate chiropractic. 
In 2007, a new law was passed to make chiropractic 1 of the 5 recognized medical professions, which also include human medicine, dental medicine, veterinary medicine, and pharmacology.  Chiropractic, which was severely persecuted by organized medicine in its beginnings in Switzerland, became included by law as “chiropractic medicine.”  The new status of chiropractic mandated a Swiss chiropractic program within a medical faculty at a Swiss university. In 2008, the first chair for chiropractic medicine was appointed at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Zürich, and the first cohort of chiropractic medicine students began their studies at the university.