Dean's Update 2022-09

September 19, 2022

NOM Week spotlights the osteopathic profession

Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate adopted a resolution by unanimous consent to designate the week of April 18-24 as National Osteopathic Medicine Week. Looking ahead to 2023, National Osteopathic Medicine Week will be celebrated the week of April 17-23.

While that is a bit in the future, I thought it would be a good time to talk about why this is important and the partnerships that made it possible.

As a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.), you understand the importance of collaborating with others. After all, we know that our work to serve people from all walks of life and the research being done to find cures for diseases can’t be done alone. Success comes through partnerships and working together with other D.O.s, allopathic physicians, researchers, PAs, nurses, the list goes on. The opposite is also true – the work doesn’t happen, at least not at the highest level, without us – D.O.s.

That is why seeing us in the community serving others and hearing from us – all D.O.s, including clinicians, those working in research and those educating the next generation of D.O.s – is so important. D.O.s are working in rural communities, urban communities, suburban communities – all communities. But they are especially focused on supporting and serving communities in need – those out-of-the-way rural areas whose people otherwise must travel long distances to see a doctor, or poor, urban communities where health care may be limited or overburdened. That’s where you’ll find many of us.

The majority of D.O.s in the U.S. serve as primary care physicians, so it makes sense we are drawn to areas of need. Our mission here at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, is “providing world-class, osteopathic, student-centered graduate and medical education and research in order to foster community access to patient-centered medical care.” Our vision is “to prepare physicians in the science of medicine, the art of caring and the power of touch, with a world view open to all people.”

I share these with you to further establish the importance of the work of our profession and why celebrating osteopathic medicine during the week in April, recognized by the federal government, is so critical. This designation didn’t happen just because people thought it was a good idea. It is the result of the work of many organizations and people, including D.O.s themselves.

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) was one of the leaders in the effort for this national observance of the osteopathic medicine field. Having our “moment” to be celebrated puts a spotlight on the work of the profession of osteopathic medicine and D.O. medical schools.

It is fitting that AOA’s work and the dedication to establish the National Osteopathic Medicine Week happened during the 130th anniversary of the founding of osteopathic medicine. As you likely know, the first D.O. medical school opening in 1892.

Today, D.O.s make up about 11.5% of physicians in the U.S. and one-quarter of medical school graduates. In addition, in Michigan alone, there are about 10,000 practicing D.O.s and a majority of those are alumni of our college.

D.O.s are involved in incredible work and can be found in numerous medical specialties. For example, as you may have seen in several news sources, Alyse Folino Ley, D.O., associate chair of education and research in the MSU Department of Psychiatry, is part of the Center for Targeted Violence Prevention team. The center is a collaborative program between the Department of Psychiatry – a shared department between the MSU Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and Human Medicine – and the National Policing Institute (NPI), and received a $15 million grant from the State of Michigan to help curb acts of violence. You may read more about this important work and the program here.

In addition, our faculty are involved in important and impactful research to help improve the health and lives of others. You may stay up to date on these stories and other happenings in MSUCOM in our news section of the college’s website.

The AOA also reports that D.O.s serve and have served in some of the most prominent positions in medicine, including overseeing care for the U.S. president, the NASA medical team, Olympic athletes and many who serve in the military.

We are excited to recognize the many contributions of the profession and will continue our efforts to find opportunities to highlight D.O.s and the positive impacts they make.

Andy Amalfitano