To the 2020 graduating class of osteopathic medical students, congratulations! ACOFP leadership is proud of your hard work and accomplishments throughout your four years of medical training. Your perseverance has paid off.

We know you may be disappointed that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced your COMs to cancel graduation ceremonies and we are sorry that you did not get to experience walking across the stage with your classmates, but that does not diminish your achievements or stop you from moving on to the exciting next stage of your medical careers. This is the beginning of your residencies and a lifetime of doing what we know you will love—being an osteopathic family physician.

As you embark on your journey and join the osteopathic family medicine community, here are some words of wisdom from the ACOFP Conclave of Fellows.

Congratulations and welcome to the osteopathic profession and family. Unlike many other professions, osteopathic medicine is a connected group. We are huggers—even if at the moment that is from a distance.

You always will have a home, and that is very important as you face the challenges of medicine. We all have days of stress with any number of changes and hurdles, but having connections with other osteopathic physicians makes the journey much easier to navigate.

Good luck in your residency and in your osteopathic path. You have earned the title and the privilege of being an osteopathic physician.

—Robert DeLuca, DO, FACOFP dist.

Treat the patient not the lab. If the lab doesn’t fit the patient, believe the patient and repeat the lab.

If you are seeing the patient for the third time for the same problem, start over like you have never seen the patient for this problem. Nine times out of 10, you will think of a question you haven’t asked or the patient will give you a different answer than they have in the past.

Never be afraid to say, “I don’t know” as long as you follow it with: “But I will find out or we will find someone who does know.” Sometimes the patient doesn’t expect you to fix the problem; they just want someone to listen to them.

—Kevin de Regnier, DO, FACOFP dist.

Congratulations on becoming a graduate of a College of Osteopathic Medicine. Your DO degree will serve you well as you begin ACGME post-graduate medical education.

My best advice to you as you begin your career is to always take pride in your osteopathic heritage. That means being an active participant in your osteopathic family. I ask you to seek osteopathic board certification and to join osteopathic organizations as an active participant at the local, state and national levels. Incorporate osteopathic techniques in your practice of osteopathic medicine. Our osteopathic profession will only remain vibrant so long as our younger DOs actively contribute to that reality.

Remember the Osteopathic Pledge of Commitment: “Live each day as an example of what an osteopathic physician should be.” The osteopathic profession takes great pride in the accomplishments of the Class of 2020 as we look forward to a bright future.

—Joel Feder, DO, FACOFP dist. 

Through good times and bad times, always remember that being a family physician is what everyone got into medicine to be; some just lost their way along the path.

—James Froelich, DO, FACOFP dist.

Always strive for EXCELLENCE in the care you provide for patients. Always provide PATIENT-CENTRIC CARE. LISTEN to the patient’s history carefully; they will usually lead you to the correct differential diagnosis and treatment plan.

—Paul Martin, DO, FACOFP dist.

A Physician’s Prayer by Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO

Dear Lord, Thou Great Physician, I kneel before Thee. Since every good and perfect gift must come from Thee, I pray, give skill to my hand, clear vision to my mind, and kindness and sympathy to my heart. Give me singleness of purpose, strength to lift at least a part of the burden of my suffering fellow men and a true realization of the privilege that is mine. Take from my heart all guile and worldliness that with the simple faith of a child I may rely on Thee.


—Submitted by William Stager, DO, FACOFP dist.

Congratulations Class of 2020! Welcome to our ACOFP family!

While this may feel like a rough way to start, we know you will be amazing osteopathic family physicians. As you continue to provide excellent medical care to your patients, remember to take care of yourselves and your families. We are so proud of you!

—Alesia Wagner, DO, FACOFP dist.

You are all living through a very unique time. None of us has ever been here before. This is not a “been there, done that time.” So everyone who comes after you will be looking to see how you handled this time of your life. You will show them that despite everything happening around you and to you personally, you prevailed.

You overcame it all. And for most of you during this time, you were not thinking of how you were personally affected. You were thinking about your community, your patients, your classmates, your families and your friends.

We saw that in our osteopathic community, there was concern and reaching out to our communities—not dwelling on our own struggles. Across the country, osteopathic medical students were frustrated by being taken off clerkships and rotations, taken off campus and out of classrooms. You all responded by looking for opportunities to help (delivering food, working testing stations, volunteering wherever and whenever you could).

Your profession is very proud of you, and we are proud to now welcome you as osteopathic physicians. We know you are not done learning because that is life-long, but you have much to teach as well.

—Bruce Williams, DO, FACOFP

Don’t lose your passion or compassion as you step into the next level of your amazing career.

—Jan Zieran, DO, FACOFP dist.


  1. Thank you so much for these powerful testimonies! As a graduating member of the Class of 2020, your wisdom and words mean a great deal to all of us. Here’s hoping we can become excellent family physicians. We are indebted to you for your mentorship and continued guidance!

  2. Thank you for your commitment and passion to serve as leaders to our Osteopathic Family. Your voices are heard and appreciated.
    Michelle Fiorillo, D.O.

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