OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to conduct an international survey of the perceived optimal level of anatomy teaching from anatomy academics and practicing chiropractors. We hypothesized that the optimum level of anatomical understanding for chiropractic students does not differ between the anatomists teaching the students and practicing chiropractors.
METHODS: The opinion of anatomists teaching in a chiropractic course (n = 16) was compared to practicing chiropractors (n = 589). The students' level of understanding was based on the revised Bloom's taxonomy for 16 different curriculum areas. Anatomists were recruited by contacting the accredited chiropractic courses worldwide. Snowball sampling was used for the practicing chiropractors. Independent-samples Mann-Whitney U tests were used to compare the results of anatomists and chiropractors.
RESULTS: Opinions differed between anatomists and chiropractors on 9 out of the 16 questions. Where opinions differed, chiropractors recommended a higher standard of anatomical knowledge. The level suggested by chiropractors for these curriculum areas is equal to the "evaluating" level where chiropractic students can remember, understand, apply, and analyze anatomical knowledge to be able to justify a clinical decision.
CONCLUSION: Compared to anatomists working in chiropractic programs, chiropractors suggest a higher standard of anatomy be taught to undergraduates. Collaboration between chiropractors and anatomists would likely be beneficial in creating or modifying anatomy curricula for chiropractic students.