The DO revolution

Watching osteopathic medicine become a global force

MSUCOM communicator Pat Grauer reflects on her 43-year career serving the osteopathic medical profession.


Forty-three years ago, my life changed when I accepted a communications position with the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in East Lansing.

It took me less than two weeks in my new job—getting acquainted with DOs, watching them in patient encounters, hearing what they taught our students—to become a rabid convert to osteopathic medicine. It was so personal, so holistic, so patient-focused, so smart. I’m retiring this year, and when I look back at a career spent advocating for the profession, I’m grateful I had this opportunity to serve.

When I arrived, MSUCOM, which opened in 1969, was the first new osteopathic college in a half-century, the first to be state-assisted, the first to be part of a major university, and the first to share a campus with an MD school. We’d recently moved to East Lansing and into Fee Hall, a well-worn residence hall, renovating dorm rooms into offices, using classrooms in the center, and refurbishing the cafeteria and its freezers for our anatomy lab. (We’re still in Fee Hall.)

Our indomitable dean, Myron S. Magen, DO, hated inertia, and he insisted that MSUCOM, in addition to creating stellar physicians, emphasize research and a global perspective. At the time, these were considered diversions to osteopathic education, and it has been a great privilege to watch those seeds, planted when the college was brand-new, come to full fruition. They were nurtured and expanded by all of our subsequent deans, and the result has been spectacular.

MSUCOM is now involved in research and education programs on five continents, with permanent facilities in Malawi and Mexico. The school also has a highly distinguished cadre of researchers among its faculty, and receives significant funding from the National Institutes of Health—a testament to the quality of our research. This year MSUCOM’s DO-PhD program has more than 50 students enrolled.

My memories are all tied to the individual faculty members, staff and students who are very important to me. But I also remember the opportunities to grow that MSUCOM afforded. My title said “public relations,” but I never knew what assignments would come in the door. Once Dr. Magen put a magazine in front of me, circled an article about a learning resource center, and simply said. “I want one. Do it.” One remarkable committee, a federal grant proposal, a gift in honor of an alumnus, and more learning about HVAC and high-tech wiring than I ever wanted to know finally resulted in the Kobiljak Centers.

For my entire time at the college, I’ve also worked in diversity education. Our current programs—a cultural intelligence initiative and the award-winning William G. Anderson “Slavery to Freedom” lecture series—bring me great satisfaction. I was honored to help Dr. Anderson and his wife Norma write their autobiographies, which have raised immense sums for American Osteopathic Foundation scholarships. I’ll never forget the goose bumps their stories inspired, and how I wept over their amazing photographs at my dining room table.

In the more than four decades I’ve watched, osteopathic medicine has become a global force. The world has moved our way. All that we taught in those early days are now standards of medicine: patient-centered care, prevention, the holistic approach, the importance of compassion, the power of listening and touch, community integration, and care for our most vulnerable. I’m so proud to have been part of this magnificent history.


  1. Mary Palmer

    Congratulations on your upcoming retirement Pat. MSUCOM will certainly be an adventure to always remember for those of us who worked there. Working with you in Medicine and Health Information was just the beginning of an eye opener to an interest in Osteopathic Medicine. MSUCOM gave me a perspective on the making of a physician I had never seen before. There was an amazing connection between faculty, staff and students. Your gift with words spread the word and the growth of Osteopathic Medicine through the Communique. After all these years gone by, I still enjoy reading it. Thank you for all the contributions you have made to MSUCOM. I wish you a wonderful retirement.

  2. Adrienne Kania, DO

    Enjoy your retirement, Pat. You are as much of MSUCOM as the students, alumni, faculty, and Fee Hall. I still remember the encouragement you gave me to persevere in my second year of school.

  3. Terry Nowak

    Thanks for the article as well as your service to MSU and the osteopathic medical profession.
    Best wishes…

    Terry Nowak
    MSU-COM, 1989

  4. Reddog Sina, DO

    I have known you since my first year of school at COM, and I am honored to be your friend. I am continually gratified and impressed with the respect you grant to others and your deep caring for all who cross your path. I am thrilled for you that you get to retire, but sad for the college, because you will be deeply missed.

  5. Perry Parkhurst

    I’m resisting the urge not to say anything but welcoming you into the retired ranks takes precedence. WELCOME!! You have left some big shoes to fill. The college will be hard pressed to find someone to fill the void you will leave. In recent months, I’ve gotten to know and appreciate you even more as we work toward a common goal of seeking funding for the Leadership Academy for Compassionate Care, the brainchild of John Meulendyk and Celia Guro. Once again – welcome; you deserve a break in your daily routine.

  6. Therese Mead, DO

    Thanks for your support of the DO profession and many years of service!

    All the best,

    Therese Mead, DO
    MSUCOM class of 2009

  7. Mary (Mark) Louder Class of '93

    Dear Pat,
    Thank you for your years of service and leadership at MSUCOM. It was such a pleasure to see you at the many events and activities. Happy trails and adventures as you go into retirement.

  8. Mitzi C. Amelon, DO

    I probably met you my first semester at MSUCOM–fall ’85. I came to know you better and relied on your expertise as I moved through leadership roles within SOMA. I’ve appreciated both your professionalism and your friendship. You are one of the ones I always hope to see when I am at a College function. I hope you won’t be a stranger, and hope you always drop by the Silverfest tent. Best wishes always.

  9. Myral & Jerry Robbins

    Congratulations, Pat on 43 years as a booster of osteopathic medicine. Your ready smile and gracious nature along with your communication skills on behalf of MSUCOM raised our college and profession to a position of esteem within the university and also to the outside community. We wish you the best in this next phase of your life.

  10. William (Bill) G. Anderson, D.O.

    Much of what I have become and what my late wife, Norma and I achieved I owe to Pat. Without her there would not be the history and the legacy that we hope to be the inspiration for the next generation. Pat was the inspiration and the “tool” that made it possible. She deserves peace and happiness as she has made it possible for others to enjoy.

    1. William (Bill) G. Anderson, D.O.

      Much of what I have become and what my late wife, Norma and I achieved I owe to Pat. Without her there would not be the history and the legacy that we hope to be the inspiration for the next generation. Pat was the inspiration and the “tool” that made it possible. She deserves peace and happiness as she has made it possible for others to enjoy.

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