AOA research grants

DOs, researchers awarded $1 million to conduct osteopathic research

Funded projects aim to broaden the evidence base of the osteopathic approach to diagnosis and treatment.


The AOA is awarding more than $1 million in research grants to nine principal investigators, including three DOs, who will use the funds to conduct osteopathically focused research projects.

The merit-based grants will facilitate research projects designed to demonstrate the value osteopathic physicians offer patients and the greater health care community.

“These awards are intended to launch grant recipients into the next phase of their research efforts, and we hope they will reach back out to help others through mentorship,” says Kenya McRae, the AOA’s vice president of research and development.

Elevating osteopathic research is one of the AOA’s top strategic priorities. Each of the nine awards fall under one of the five AOA research focus areas:

  • Chronic diseases and conditions.
  • Musculoskeletal injuries and prevention.
  • Osteopathic manipulative treatment and osteopathic manipulative medicine.
  • Osteopathic philosophy.
  • Pain management.

One grant recipient, who received funding to examine the effects of OMM on Parkinson’s disease, plans to use the funding to recruit participants and work with other scientists.

“This grant will serve as a means to collaborate with basic scientists and increase subject recruitment as we research the effects of osteopathic manipulation on biomarkers in Parkinson’s Disease,” says Sheldon Yao, DO, an associate professor of OMM at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine in Old Westbury (NYITCOM).

Grant periods range from 18 to 24 months. Recipients are strongly encouraged to submit their research for publication in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA).

The AOA is still accepting applications for grant funding on projects related to chronic pain through July 6.

Here’s a list of the nine researchers, their institutions and their research projects.

  • Mark Ronald Speicher, PhD, MHA, Midwestern University/Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine in Glendale: The value of osteopathic care: A multilevel analysis.
  • Gail Singer-Chang, PsyD, MS, PPS, Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in Pomona, California: Identifying risk factors associated with declining emotional quotient traits during DO training.
  • Walter Hartwig, PhD, Touro University California, College of Osteopathic Medicine in Vallejo, California: Patient experience of osteopathic physician distinctions and empathy.
  • John C. Licciardone, DO, MS, MBA, University of North Texas Health Science Center Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth, Texas (UNTHSC/TCOM): The osteopathic difference in treating patients with low back pain.
  • Diana L. Speelman, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Erie, Pennsylvania: Use of osteopathic principles for non-pharmacologic, therapeutic interventions in obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • Jennifer Berglind, PhD, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Spartanburg, South Carolina: Use of the lymphatic pump technique as a novel therapy for inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Michael V. Volin, PhD, Midwestern University/Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in Downers Grove, Illinois: Lymphatic pump treatment of inflammation in rat-adjuvant-induced arthritis.
  • Kendi Hensel, DO, PhD, UNTHSC/TCOM: Effects of osteopathic manipulation on gait kinematics and postural control in Parkinson’s disease.
  • Sheldon Yao, DO, NYITCOM: Effect of osteopathic manipulation on balance, function, and biomarkers in Parkinson’s disease.

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