Each year, the osteopathic medical profession joins together to raise awareness of osteopathic medicine and the distinctive care DOs provide. This week (April 18–24) is National Osteopathic Medicine Week.
We asked our members: Why did you choose osteopathic medicine? Here’s what a few of them said.
When I was applying to medical school, my mother had an accident and lost feeling in her face. She was referred to Dr. Gooch who treated her with OMT. Her feeling came back while he was treating her. At that moment, I told myself that “I wanted to learn that.” I applied to osteopathic medical schools that week.
—Lori A. Kemper, DO, FACOFP
I enjoy helping others. As a child, I went to an osteopathic family physician. He knew everything about everyone in our neighborhood. As a child, I heard my dad ask, “Why do you know so much about everyone?” The wise old osteopath said this: “In this neighborhood, the only [people who] physically touch everyone is the hair dresser and me—and when you touch someone, they talk.” I realized then that this man knew secrets that people wouldn’t admit to themselves. I also realized this increased his “humanness” in the eyes of everyone else.
—Steven D. Kamajian, DO, FACOFP
I chose to become an osteopath after discovering its focus on the whole person. It just made sense to me that the approach to uncovering disease processes involved the intricate design of systems—that are typically working together to function as a whole that makes our bodies function properly—would have to involve making sure these systems are functioning optimally in order heal. I also noticed that a lot of the DO candidates or physicians that I had met came from more diverse backgrounds and were more down to earth, as a group, compared with their MD counterparts. I also felt that I could identify with the minority group within the medical world, since I identify as a minority within the cultural world.
—Letitia C. Thompson-Hargrave, DO
I realized that DOs are people taking care of people with medical conditions—not just people taking care of medical conditions. The personal interest and caring attitude was immensely obvious at interviews I had at DO schools compared to MD schools. [The] holistic aspect of care, as well as OMT, were also deciding factors.
—James K. Dolney, DO
I chose osteopathic medicine based on the tenants that the discipline stands for “mind, body and spirit.” I knew that this approach was how I wanted to practice medicine and couldn’t see myself sacrificing those ideals just to pursue a degree. I also chose osteopathic medicine due to the knowledge and application of manipulative medicine. It is a skill set I am blessed to have to learned and one that will take me far in my career of helping and healing my future patients.
—Heather M. McGuire, OMS-IV; 2021 recipient of the Marie Wiseman Outstanding Osteopathic Student of the Year Award
By the time I became interested in medical school, I had been through nursing school and had a master’s degree in hospital administration. I was an associate administrator at a large medical center with an on-site allopathic medical school.
While they could not age-discriminate, the admission director (whom I knew well) clearly implied that my age could be a factor in school success—as a “non-traditional student.“ While investigating programs, I was drawn to the holistic philosophy of the osteopathic profession. I recall an osteopathic school’s admissions officer’s comment following an interview stating (paraphrased), “You’re exactly the kind of applicant we value—life experience with a strong desire to enter medicine.” I appreciated their valuation of those life experiences and do believe that such experiences have contributed to a successful career in osteopathic medicine.
—Curtis J. Wood, DO
I am proud to be an osteopathic physician. We have the ability to look at the patient’s own body as a tool to help them. I love using my hands and the osteopathic philosophy in my approach to patient care.
—Nicole A. Fremarek, DO
It just made sense to me that the approach to uncovering disease processes involved the intricate design of systems—that are typically working together to function as a whole that makes our bodies function properly—would have to involve making sure these systems are functioning optimally in order heal.
—Letitia C. Thompson-Hargrave, DO
I chose osteopathic medicine because my vision of modern medicine is whole body health and disease prevention rather than getting stuck in the tertiary care loop.
—Kevin Xunan, DO
When I was applying to medical school, a friend told me that he was only applying to osteopathic medical schools. I had never heard of osteopathy. I went home and did some research—and I was hooked. I knew I wanted to become an osteopath. The best way to treat patients is as a whole. I also was excited to learn osteopathic manipulative treatment. I have been a family practitioner for 20 years and love being an osteopath.
—Michelle M. Bauer, DO
I’ve always wanted to be a family doctor—to be a part of a community and really get to know people and help them where they are at. I had never heard of a DO until going to college, and when I learned about the emphasis on mind, body, spirit, I was sold. I knew there was a better approach to medicine, and osteopathic medicine seemed to check all the boxes.
—James Christensen, OMS-I
I worked as a ward clerk in high school and college. It was very obvious that there was a distinct difference in the manner that a DO treated their patients compared to an MD. I didn’t even apply to any allopathic schools—to the disappointment of my advisor!
—Margaret M. Wilkins, DO, FACOFP
When I met osteopathic physicians while considering where to go to medical school, I found them to always be more focused on the patient as a person, not a collection of diseases. It was that humanistic approach that made me feel like osteopathic medicine was focused on what I was—the dignity and priority of the person.
—Saroj Misra, DO, FACOFP; Governor, ACOFP Board of Governors