Osteopathic pride

John W. Becher, DO, sworn in as AOA president

After more than four decades in emergency medicine, the AOA’s 2015-16 leader is an expert at preparing for the unexpected.


When 2015-16 AOA President John W. Becher, DO, asked U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, DO, to emcee his inauguration ceremony, Dr. Heck didn’t hesitate. Having completed an emergency medicine residency under Dr. Becher some 20 years earlier, there was only one reply. “Immediately, reflexively, instinctively, I answered, ‘Yes, chief!'” Dr. Heck quipped.

Watch AOA President John W. Becher, DO, deliver his inaugural address.

Reflecting on his more than 40 years in emergency medicine, Dr. Becher declared that the osteopathic medical profession is currently in a unique position to lead in U.S. health care. Osteopathic medicine has seen exponential growth over the past 40 years, he said, and with 60% of DOs practicing in primary care, the profession is well-positioned to help address the country’s primary care shortage. Moreover, health care consumers appreciate DOs’ holistic approach to patient care, according to recent AOA market research. Demand for DOs’ expertise and training, Dr. Becher said, is at unprecedented levels.

Dr. Becher’s goals for his presidency include:

  • Increasing awareness of osteopathic medicine. The AOA’s upcoming brand awareness campaign will elevate the profession’s profile, but Dr. Becher urged DOs to make a point of explaining osteopathic medicine to patients as well, which he said he does about 10 times every day.
  • Pursuing funding to support research pilot projects documenting the impact of osteopathic medicine.
  • Creating new osteopathic-focused residency programs.
  • Boosting advocacy efforts at the state and federal level.
  • Maintaining fiscal responsibility.

Dr. Becher closed by urging his colleagues to get involved outside the osteopathic medical profession, whether through community leadership or engaging in public policy. If half of all DOs and osteopathic medical students spent a few minutes a week informing people who aren’t familiar with the profession, he calculated, more than 2.5 million people could be reached this year.

This kind of grassroots engagement is critical, he said: “What we can do for the osteopathic profession is to stand up and tell the world why we are proud to be osteopathic physicians.”


  1. Anita M. Steinbergh, DO

    Congratulations, John, on your election as President of the AOA. I am a PCOM grad (1976) and you taught me EM. I am proud of you.
    Anita Steinbergh

  2. David Mikolajczak D.O.


    Congratulations on your election as the President of the AOA. It is the culmination of a
    wonderful career as a leader in Osteopathic Medicine. You have had a positive impact on so many people that the number is hard to comprehend. I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with you.
    Thank you for your life long support of our profession, we are all better due to your efforts.

    All the best during your Presidency and beyond.


  3. Paul Sauers

    You are looking good!
    We’ll keep you in our prayers for this success in this major undertaking.
    Now working for Cooper Cardiology in Woodstown NJ & all is well with us & the family.
    Tell Paula we said hello!
    Paul & Carol

  4. Pingback: Transformative Leadership: Emergency Physicians Lead AOA and AMA - The Western Journal of Emergency Medicine

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