Bright Outlook

New head of osteopathic accreditation ready to help shape future of profession

“I’m driven by the possibility of serving a larger group of future physicians,” says Alissa P. Craft, DO, the AOA’s new vice president of accreditation.


Before stepping into her new role as the AOA’s vice president of accreditation, Alissa P. Craft, DO, held faculty positions at three osteopathic medical schools and helped launch one of them. And prior to entering academia, Dr. Craft, a pediatrician, ran a neonatology department at a Phoenix hospital.

These varied experiences make Dr. Craft the perfect candidate to lead accreditation at the AOA and serve as secretary of the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA), says AOA CEO Adrienne White-Faines, MPA.

“Dr. Craft is uniquely qualified for this critical position, which helps shape the quality of medical education in this country,” she says. “As a physician, educator, and prior voting member of COCA, she is committed to ensuring the highest quality education for our future physicians and clearly appreciates the benefits of osteopathic focused training in today’s health care environment.”

In this edited interview, Dr. Craft discusses her new role, the single accreditation system and more.

On transitioning from a clinical role to an administrative position:

When you take care of patients, you impact one family at a time. I loved working with patients, but I was looking for an opportunity to serve people in greater numbers. I began working for medical schools, where I was able to guide and influence groups of students. When this position with the AOA came along, I got really excited because the osteopathic medical profession has 30 schools in 42 locations. The chance to influence all of those students in a positive way is a gift. I’m driven by the possibility of serving a larger group of future physicians.

Current project:

As the secretary for the Committee on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA), my primary undertaking for the next four months will be assisting the committee on their petition with the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to remain the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools.

The COCA has to make its case to the ED every five years, and the committee has always done remarkably well in its previous petitions for recognition. We’re going to spend some time reviewing our processes to make sure that we remain one of the best accrediting agencies around, and I’ll be helping the COCA commissioners implement any improvements needed.

On the single accreditation system for graduate medical education and osteopathically focused programs:

So many health care professionals really work on the absence of disease, which, in my opinion, is only half of the continuum of wellness. If I just have you not be diseased, you may not still feel well, but you’re not sick enough to be considered diseased.

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Osteopathic medicine has always emphasized the importance of going the next step from just not having disease to being well.

Through single GME, we get to bring that philosophy to everyone. And it’s certainly not going to diminish osteopathic medicine because everyone needs the extra emphasis on wellness.

On working with students:

Some of the proudest moments of my career have been watching certain students who were struggling get help, become successful and then graduate and get their residencies. I remember one student who was having a really tough time with her studies. I spent a lot of time helping her. When she got her residency match last year, she texted me right away. She said, “I texted my husband first, and then I texted you.”

Students remember the impact you have on them, just like patients and families remember the impact their physicians have on them.


  1. Michael J. Sampson, DO FAOASM

    Dr. Craft and I graduated together from KCOM ’92. She will be an incredible asset to the AOA and the osteopathic profession! STRONG WORK Dr. Craft!

  2. Mary Jo Robinson, DO

    I have worked with Allisa at PNWU and with the NBOME. She will be a good representative of our profession at COCA. Ohhhh, by the way Allisa! Remember when we were talking about taking on too much work???

  3. Ian Reilly

    If there is going to be a single accreditation system for graduation medical education, why not have a single accreditation system for undergraduate medical education?

  4. Ian Schlieder

    How many more medical schools need to be opened in the U.S. before we realize we have pushed the medical profession that much closer to similarity with the current state of the legal profession? Is medical education now only a business?

  5. Leonid Skorin, Jr., DO, FAOCO

    I had the pleasure of doing the Costin Scholar program with Dr. Craft. She is a true asset to our profession.
    Alissa, I am sure you will do a great job.

  6. John Stiger,DO

    Dr. Craft is a wonderful choice for this position! She distinguished herself at COMP NW. It is heart warming to see this young and able DO step up to the plate.She will do the profession proud as she tackles these important issues!

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