By Bruce R. Williams, DO, FACOFP
I have been asked, “How did you become involved in ACOFP?” The very short answer is simple: I was asked.
When I was a medical school student in Kansas City, I began looking at leaders in my class and at my school, as well as local, state and national leaders. Many of these leaders were the same person. What made them so special? Why were they sought after? What was their motivation? Why did I care?
I cared because these were the individuals who were driving the evolution of our profession—a profession and a philosophy that I believed in and embraced. I wanted to be part of that evolution, and I wanted to know what my role was, which I discovered as I studied the osteopathic oath. I was meant to advocate for my patient through my involvement in organized medicine.
After graduating from what is now Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine; completing my internship; and beginning practice, one of my first goals was to seek out Jackson County Osteopathic Medical Association President William Betz, DO, and ask him for an application. From there, I attended meetings, and I was asked to sit on the Board of Governors. I was honored to be asked, and I expressed my willingness and commitment.
After my involvement in my district, I was asked to sit on a state committee. I again was honored and embraced the opportunity to make an impact at the state level. Eventually, I was asked to join the executive committee of the Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (MAOPS), becoming president in 2004.
As I continued to serve MAOPS, I was asked to join a committee for the Missouri Society of the ACOFP (MSACOFP). I had been a member since 1987 but not involved to a great degree due to my commitment with MAOPS. So I joined the Convention Committee and others. Then I was asked to become a delegate to the ACOFP Congress of Delegates.
After serving as a delegate and a committee member, I was asked to join the MSACOFP Executive Committee and later became MSACOFP president in 2011. As I attended the ACOFP Congress of Delegates, ACOFP Conventions & Scientific Seminars, ACOFP Intensive Update and Board Review (now Intensive Osteopathic Update) and OMED, I was advised to become an ACOFP Fellow by a few of my mentors—Wilbur Hill, DO, FACOFP dist.; Phil Accardo, DO FACOFP; Joe Yasso, DO, FACOFP; James DiRenna, Jr., DO, FAAFP; Alan Brewer, DO, FACOFP; and Elaine Joslyn, DO, FACOFP, among others—so I pursued that and became an ACOFP Fellow in 2012.
Then, I was encouraged by 2012–13 ACOFP President Paul Martin, DO, FACOFP dist., to seek a committee appointment. The following year, 2013–14 ACOFP President Jeff Grove, DO, FACOFP dist., discussed what committee(s) I should be appointed to, and the 2014–15 ACOFP President Carol Henwood, DO, FACOFP dist., approached me about serving on the ACOFP Board of Governors. In all of these instances by all of these leaders, I was asked.
My service and commitment to family medicine and the osteopathic profession is a labor of love. I believe our philosophy of the art of medicine provides our patients added opportunities for quality care at lower cost for improved patient and provider satisfaction. In the roles I have served, I have done my best to promote osteopathic medicine as the route to the quadruple aim. I believe we—the osteopathic profession—have demonstrated that. But, if I had not been asked, would I have come this far? Perhaps, but being the introvert that I am, perhaps not.
I have been honored and humbled to serve in the many roles I have served in for our profession. Yet, I have not taken these roles lightly. I have seen them and embraced them as an opportunity to make an impact for the profession I believe in and the patients I love.
What a privilege it is to be asked to serve. To be asked to be put in a position to advocate on behalf of your profession and your patients. To be seen as an individual whose experience, thoughts and opinions are respected enough to get the attention of a group who will collectively consider the best way to move forward for those we serve. I have had the honor and privilege to serve with and for some of the finest and most respected physicians that not only the osteopathic profession, but also the entire medical profession, has ever known.
Now I serve you and the osteopathic family medicine community as president of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians. This is a most prestigious role and an awesome responsibility. I am the face and voice of the largest specialty in the osteopathic profession. I am very honored, and I am very humbled. I have never aspired to this role, yet I find myself here, and I have committed to serve to the very best of my ability.
I am so blessed, as well, because I am not serving alone. I have a committed and passionate Board of Governors and a dedicated staff team to support me. I also have the experience and advice from my predecessors to guide me. My goal is to move osteopathic family medicine forward for ACOFP, for the osteopathic profession, for our osteopathic family physicians and—most of all—for our patients.
I was asked, and now, I am asking you. Will you share your opinions, your time, your talents, your ideas, your passion, your enthusiasm and your resources with ACOFP? We want you, we need you and we are asking; I am asking: Will you serve?