Top of Page
Skip main navigation
Dr. Jill Ross demonstrates to students

Osteopathic Principles and Practice

The Department of Osteopathic Principles and Practice (OPP) is a collegium of physicians, academicians, ancillary health providers, post graduate Fellows and undergraduate Fellows who are dedicated to the preservation and teaching of the history and philosophy of osteopathic medicine as developed by A.T. Still, M.D., D.O., and to the dynamic advancement of osteopathic medicine in the 21st century.

The OPP faculty includes practitioners certified in Pediatrics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Family Medicine, Sports Medicine, Cranial Osteopathy, Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine, Neurophysiology, Physical Therapy, Acupuncture and Psychology. The Department delivers instruction in Osteopathic Medicine to the Year 1 and Year 2 medical students, regular educational programs to Year 3 and Year 4 medical students, Osteopathic Postgraduate Training Institute (OPTI) interns and residents, as well as continuing medical education.

The Department runs two outpatient clinics, is actively involved in research, and delivers lectures and collaborative presentations in the Departments of Family Medicine, Alternative Medicine, Athletic Training, and all Clinical Systems. The Department offers a one year Predoctoral OPP Fellowship to osteopathic students who are interested in the development of advanced skills in manipulative medicine. The Department also runs a one-year post graduate subspecialty residency in Sports Medicine. Department members lecture on national and international levels, and are strongly involved in the preparation of national board examinations. The OPP Department is also heavily involved in national and international community service.

Our Goals

  • To educate students and faculty about the history and philosophy of osteopathic medicine
  • To familiarize students with the concepts of wellness, health, and preventive medicine
  • To familiarize students with the concepts of disease and a return to wellness
  • To educate students in the biomechanical and neurophysiologic functions of the human body
  • To expose students to common syndromes seen by the primary care physician as well as the OMM specialist and the sports medicine specialist
  • To promote competency in the delivery of manipulative treatments with modalities including muscle energy, counterstrain, high velocity low amplitude technique, articulatory techniques, myofascial release and osteopathy in the cranial field
  • To provide training to students and residents in the subspecialty of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine
  • To provide instruction to students seeking advanced training in manipulative medicine
  • To actively participate in the development of osteopathic research and knowledge on a national and international level
  • To actively promote osteopathic medicine on local, national and international levels

Our Programs

Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine (NMM) provides instruction in the history and philosophy of osteopathic medicine, biomechanics, and function of the neuromusculoskeletal system and structural diagnosis, and manipulative medicine techniques. Our members help students integrate OPP and OMT skills into all aspects of medical practice.

First and second year students receive extensive training via lectures and Clinical Osteopathic Practicum sessions. Third and fourth year students continue their NMS training by participation in educational sessions at their OPTI training sites. A one-month rotation is available to fourth year osteopathic medical students. Osteopathic training continues into the residency years with NMM workshops for NSU affiliated residents, as well as one-month rotations within the outpatient clinic.

The Predoctoral OPP Fellowship Program is a unique opportunity that is designed to expand the educational and clinical opportunities for selected students. It expands the medical school training period from four to five years by converting the two-year clinical clerkship into a three-year Fellowship. Each Fellow completes a full complement of clinical rotations, in addition to a twelve-month Fellowship period that is incorporated into the rotation schedule.

The Fellows assist in all classroom and practical training activities, as well as the development of, and participation in, research projects. Fellows also provide clinical services under the supervision of faculty members. A Fellowship Certificate is awarded upon completion of the program. For further information, click on the OPP fellowship fact sheet or contact Dave Boesler, Director of OPP Fellowship at (954) 262-1453.

The OPTI program is an advanced state of the art compressed video distance learning program. The program is designed to provide medical students, interns, residents, and attending physicians with the opportunity for on-site hospital continuing medical education from the NSU-COM campus. The program is available to all members of the NSU-COM Consortium for Excellence in Medical Education (CEME).

We provide a lecture series on basic osteopathic principles and practice in a clinical and/or hospital environment. Members deliver morning rounds at affiliate OPTI training hospitals as well as OMM workshops for CEME residents. For further information, please contact Dr. DeGaetano, Executive Director of CEME at (954) 262-1433.

Sports Medicine consists of practitioners certified in Family Medicine, Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine, Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation, Orthopedics, Physical Therapy, Nutrition, Sport Psychology and Sports Medicine.

This group of practitioners uses an osteopathic approach to Sports Medicine. They offer a broad spectrum of non-surgical modalities including OMT, injections, strength and conditioning, and rehabilitation to address musculoskeletal disorders. The Department addresses all aspects of medical care for the athlete.

We offer a one-year post-residency fellowship in Sports Medicine, open to AOA primary care board certified physicians.

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation provides a unique experience for the Osteopathic student to learn from and interact with patients who have various impairments and disabilities. There is first-hand exposure to outpatient and hospitalized patients in an acute rehabilitation setting where the student can examine patients and follow as they receive comprehensive therapy services. In addition, the student will see patients in an office-based practice focusing on musculoskeletal injuries, neuromuscular diseases, nerve injuries, sports medicine, and pain management. They will be able to assist in the delivery of services including OMM, injections, electrodiagnosis, and pain management interventions.

The student will assimilate their skills of Osteopathic medicine to comprehensively manage these patients and provide a hands on approach to patient care. This will attempt to maximize the individual's functional status and return them to an independent lifestyle.

Physical Therapy incorporates biomechanical analysis, orthotics and bracing, rehabilitation, sports medicine, manual therapy and strengthening and conditioning. Internships in Physical Therapy are available. Physical therapy interns have the ability to learn advanced manual techniques and are provided with academic opportunities. Current physical therapists may participate in available continuing education in the OPP department.

Physical therapy students will have the opportunity to work directly with osteopathic physicians and fellows in the clinic. Learning opportunities are available in advanced manipulative techniques, therapeutic exercise, orthotics and bracing, and modalities including laser therapy. Students will have the opportunity to observe acupuncture and injection therapy. In conjunction with the University clinic, students have the opportunity to attend lectures, labs, and journal article discussions on manipulative techniques and medical articles.

If you are interested in completing a Physical Therapy Internship, please see the APTA CSIF form. Our clinic is located on the Nova Southeastern University Main Campus, 3200 S. University Drive, Davie, FL 33328, Sanford L. Ziff Center, 3rd Floor, Suite 4316. The direct number is (954) 262-5590.

Our Research Activities

We are committed to advancing the understanding of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) as a treatment technique and to understanding how best to train future osteopathic physicians in this skill. To this end, all our members are engaged in research focused on determining mechanisms, efficacy and characteristics of both palpatory diagnosis and OMT. Our research programs attract national and international collaboration. We encourage research involvement by interested students outside of Nova Southeastern University.

Each year, the Predoctoral OPP Fellows and the Sports Medicine Fellows engage in ongoing research and development projects of their own. All Fellows are given additional training in osteopathic research design and methods.

Our research projects include:

  • The Effects of Cranial Manipulation on Visual Function
  • The Characteristics of Palpation used by Osteopathic Physicians and Physical Therapists
  • The Characteristics of High-Velocity, Low-Amplitude Thrust Techniques used by Osteopathic Physicians
  • The Effects on Active Range of Motion of OMT in Low Back Pain Patients
  • The Correlation between Chinese Auricular Acupuncture Points and Diagnosed Thoracic and Lumbar Somatic Dysfunction
Return to top of page