Emergency medicine

Osteopathic recognition in the ER: Ohio program preserves its heritage

Program director William Fraser, DO, says residents who are passionate about their osteopathic heritage are a great asset to his program.

As the program director of a 25-year-old osteopathic emergency medicine residency program in Columbus, Ohio, William Fraser, DO, says applying for osteopathic recognition was a “no-brainer” for his program.

“We are an osteopathic program. We have a strong osteopathic heritage, and our program is in one of the pre-eminent osteopathic institutions,” he says. “We would like to continue that tradition.”

Osteopathic recognition is a designation the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has created for osteopathically focused residency programs in the single system of graduate medical education (GME).

‘All in’

Dr. Fraser, who has helmed the Doctors Hospital/OhioHealth emergency medicine residency program since 1998, says that once he learned the final details of what osteopathic recognition would mean for his residents, he was all in.

“Osteopathic recognition provides a formal way for osteopathic residents to continue their training in the principles they learned in medical school,” he says. “Osteopathic teaching is already a major part of our curriculum, so it was an easy extension to apply for recognition.”

Dr. Fraser’s program obtained ACGME accreditation in April and expects to be granted osteopathic recognition in January, when the ACGME’s osteopathic recognition committee convenes.

Dr. Fraser wants osteopathic recognition because he knows residents who are particularly passionate about their osteopathic heritage are a great asset to his program. For instance, they often go out of their way to provide emergency room patients with osteopathic manipulative treatment.

“I wanted to continue to attract residents who have a true desire to incorporate osteopathic principles into their practice of emergency medicine,” he says.

OMT: A non-pharmacological option in the ER

Janine Curcio, DO, is one of those residents. Before entering the program, she researched the use of OMT in baseball players; her work has been accepted for publication in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Janine Curcio, DO

As a first-year emergency medicine resident, Dr. Curcio says she often performs OMT on patients experiencing headaches.

“You rule out more serious conditions first, but if a patient has a tension headache from musculoskeletal issues, there are a few OMT techniques that can really help,” she says.

Dr. Curcio’s interest in using OMT in the emergency room has been bolstered by recent articles in respected emergency medicine publications that discuss the potential of OMT as an non-pharmacological treatment for conditions such as cervical radiculopathy and acute low back pain.

When evaluating residency programs, Dr. Curcio says she prioritized those already in the process of applying for ACGME accreditation. When she learned that Dr. Fraser’s program was applying for osteopathic recognition, it stood out even more, she says.

“I love OMT, and I wanted to continue using it in my practice,” she says. “The fact that the program was seeking osteopathic recognition confirmed that it was the right program for me. It made my decision easy.”

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