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Butler University Doctor of Medical Science
Doctor of Medical Science

DMS Curriculum

Physician assistant students receiving instruction

Self-Paced for the Working PA

The Doctor of Medical Science program is a 50-credit hour, completely online, post-professional academic degree program for Physician Assistants. Each of the program’s 17 modules is six weeks in length and taught by doctorate-level faculty. All students will participate in scholarly activity through a required programmatic capstone.

There are two start dates in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. See Important Dates for specific start dates. Module selection will be determined by the student and the course availability. The length of time it takes to complete the program is dependent on the number of modules a student enrolls and successfully completes in a given term and the availability of the module due to enrollment minimums being met (minimum 8 students). The program’s projected “standard pace” will be one module per term (equaling two per semester) and will result in program completion in 9 semesters. Students are required to complete the program in 5 ½ years. 

Curricular Design

The 17 modules are divided into four major areas of focus.

  • Foundational Sciences: 2 modules, 6 credit hours
  • Medical Sciences: 9 modules, 27 credit hours
  • Patient Populations and Patient Safety: 3 modules, 8 credit hours
  • Business and Leadership: 3 modules, 9 credit hours

Foundational Sciences

Advanced Clinical Immunology and Genetics

This module covers clinical immunology, focusing on the physiology/pathophysiology of the immune system and its implications for disease state as related to allergy and rheumatology medicine, and the treatment of such states.  Additionally, the module includes basic principles of human genetics and their application to clinical medicine, including pharmacogenetics. 

Biochemical Basis of Disease States and Drug Action

This module emphasizes the fundamentals of modern molecular biology and biochemistry as applied to medicine. This module will enhance the student’s understanding of proteins, nucleic acids, macromolecular machines, and their regulation on a molecular level. Further, it delves into the fundamentals of carbohydrate, amino acid and lipid metabolism with applications given to major disease states and their treatments. 

Medical Sciences

Neurology

This module will systematically approach the epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of neurologic diseases as they relate to primary care. Each module will integrate relevant clinical anatomy, imaging, and pharmacotherapy to maximize the applicability in clinical practice.  

Pulmonary

This module will systematically approach the epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of pulmonary diseases as they relate to primary care. Each module will integrate relevant clinical anatomy, imaging, and pharmacotherapy to maximize the applicability in clinical practice.  

Cardiology

This module will systematically approach the epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of diseases affecting the heart and vasculature as they relate to primary care. Each module will integrate relevant clinical anatomy, imaging, and pharmacotherapy to maximize the applicability in clinical practice.  

Renal/Urinary

This module will systematically approach the epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of renal and urologic diseases as they relate to primary care. Each module will integrate relevant clinical anatomy, imaging, and pharmacotherapy to maximize the applicability in clinical practice.  

Gastroenterology

This module will systematically approach the epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of gastroenterological diseases as they relate to primary care. Each module will integrate relevant clinical anatomy, imaging, and pharmacotherapy to maximize the applicability in clinical practice. 

Endocrinology

This module will systematically approach the epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of endocrinologic diseases as they relate to primary care. Each module will integrate relevant clinical anatomy, imaging, and pharmacotherapy to maximize the applicability in clinical practice.  

Hematology

This module will systematically approach the epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of hematologic disorders and malignancies as they relate to primary care. Each module will integrate relevant clinical anatomy, imaging, and pharmacotherapy to maximize the applicability in clinical practice.  

Rheumatology

This module will systematically approach the epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of rheumatologic diseases as they relate to primary care. Each module will integrate relevant clinical anatomy, imaging, and pharmacotherapy to maximize the applicability in clinical practice.  

Infectious Disease

This module is systematic approach to the epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of diseases as they relate to primary care. This module will integrate relevant clinical anatomy, imaging, and pharmacotherapy of infectious diseases to maximize the applicability in clinical practice.  The course will provide an understanding of the classes of medications used to treat infectious diseases.  

Patient Populations and Patient Safety

Aging

This module aims to provide an understanding of competent, compassionate care of older patients, including attitudes, basic scientific knowledge, disease states and clinical knowledge. 

The Healthy Patient

This module is concerned with the sociocultural, behavioral, psychological, and biological factors contributing to wellness, including disease prevention, substance abuse prevention and program planning; nutrition and fitness; health promotion; and general public health issues.  

Quality and Patient Safety

This module teaches students about the impact of preventable, adverse medical events on patients and medical professionals; prepares students to identify and participate in corrective strategies that improve quality and safety throughout their practice; and develops and nurtures a culture of quality and safety that enhances patient satisfaction and quality of care outcomes.  

Business and Leadership

Self-Leadership and Organizational Leadership

This module will expose learners to effective leadership approaches and skill sets found in health systems organizations. Topics will include fundamentals of leadership, leadership and professionalism self-assessment, and leadership philosophy. Learners will model professionalism skills, best leadership practices and behaviors, institutional and program accreditation, and handling conflict. Learners will apply this to their personal and professional life through a series of practical exercises.  

Business of Medicine

This module examines how market dynamics and government reforms are driving changes in revenue models including value-based reimbursements, bundled payments, and risk-sharing incentives. The module will analyzes different types of integrated delivery models such as accountable care, medical homes, integrated delivery networks, and new legal entities to deliver care directly to employers.  This module addresses how PAs and non-PA providers are reimbursed within these models.  

Operations Management

This module explores quality management concepts and tools with a focus on healthcare. Provides an understanding of how operations management concepts and tools can produce better quality, lower costs, and improve revenue. Examines how to improve productivity, maximize asset utilization, reduce waiting lines, shorten throughput times, and enhance the overall patient experience.  

Programmatic Capstone Requirement

Entry-level physician assistant program curricula must include instruction to prepare students to search, interpret, and evaluate the medical literature, including its application to individualized patient care. The Butler Doctor of Medical Science (DMS) program builds on this existing scholarly knowledge. Scholarship in the DMS program is defined as those activities that systematically advance the teaching, research, and practice of medicine through rigorous inquiry that: is significant to the profession; can be documented; can be replicated or elaborated; and can be peer-reviewed through various methods. Students are required to complete a scholarly activity designed to target a novel problem or current issue in either clinical practice, leadership, or research. The student is required to work closely with a doctoral faculty advisor to develop, formally approve, and finalize the scholarly activity. In particular, the scholarly activity should focus in one of four aspects: discovery, teaching, applications in clinical practice, or integration of ideas. These areas support the values of a profession committed to both social relevance and scientific advancement. This description is not intended as prescriptive, nor as exclusive of other considerations, but may be used to guide the student in developing their scholarly activity. The capstone requirement may be initiated upon the successful completion of 13 modules.