Unique perspectives

New practicing DOs gain voice on AOA Board of Trustees

AOA House votes to establish the new position, acknowledging the growing force of some 14,000 new DOs in practice.


Approximately one in five practicing osteopathic physicians meet the AOA’s definition of new physician in practice—DOs who have completed their graduate medical training in the past five years or received their DO degrees in the past 10 years.

Comfortable with new technology, more likely to be employees than employers, young practicing DOs have different priorities than do veteran osteopathic physicians. From paying off student loans to establishing careers at the same time they are starting families, new physicians face challenges distinct from those of their more experienced peers.

Acknowledging the importance of this rapidly growing segment of the profession, now some 14,000 strong, the AOA House of Delegates voted on July 16 to establish a designated seat for a new physician in practice on the AOA Board.

The House elected Shannon C. Scott, DO, to the new one-year position. A 2004 graduate of the Midwestern University/Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine in Glendale, Dr. Scott serves the college as a clinical assistant professor of osteopathic manipulative medicine and family medicine and practices in a multispecialty clinic. Active on the AOA Bureau of Membership, Dr. Scott has served as the vice chairman of the AOA Council on New Physicians. She also is a leader among young physicians in the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.

“Having a representative on the AOA Board of Trustees provides a fresh opportunity for new physicians in practice to bring unique perspectives and ideas to the AOA,” Dr. Scott says.

New delegate’s perspective

A newcomer to the AOA House of Delegates, Pennsylvania delegate Donna L. Delfin, DO, exemplifies the differences in perspective between new and experienced osteopathic physicians. “I’ve only used electronic health records. I’ve not had experience with paper charts,” says Dr. Delfin, who treats patients at a five-physician office in Glen Mills, Pa., that is part of Crozer-Keystone Health System, the largest employer in her county. “I don’t have to deal personally with medical liability premiums and health system reform changes.”

Unlike Dr. Scott, who became involved in the profession as a medical student, Dr. Delfin is just beginning to be active in her profession at the society level. After attending several local meetings of the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association (POMA), which is “very welcoming to new physicians,” as she puts it, Dr. Delfin was approached by Glen Mills family physician Anthony E. DiMarco, DO, the vice speaker of POMA’s House of Delegates. “Tony DiMarco asked me if I’d be willing to be a delegate at the AOA House, explaining that POMA had an extra seat,” she recounts.

“It is very interesting to see the process,” Dr. Delfin says of the House proceedings. “It is still so new to me.”

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