For 2016-2017 AOA President Boyd R. Buser, DO, studying under Bernard TePoorten, DO, as a medical student at the Des Moines (Iowa) University College of Osteopathic Medicine was an unforgettable experience.
In his inaugural speech as AOA president, Dr. Buser remembered his early exposure to osteopathic principles and practice, particularly osteopathic manipulative treatment. “If Dr. TePoorten had to step out while seeing a patient, the patient would invariably begin telling me how receiving osteopathic manipulative treatment had taken their pain away and made life worth living again,” Dr. Buser noted.
Inspired, Dr. Buser went on to specialize in osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) and family medicine himself, practicing in Iowa and serving as an OMM professor and interim dean at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, Maine, before becoming dean and vice president for health affairs of the University of Kentucky-Pikeville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pikeville, Kentucky.
Despite the challenges of practicing medicine in an ever-changing health care landscape, there has never been a better time or more promising future for the osteopathic medical profession, Dr. Buser said. For one, the profession is growing rapidly, with one in four U.S. medical students enrolled in a DO school. There’s growing awareness of who DOs are and how they practice, thanks in part to the AOA’s multimillion-dollar awareness campaign and the consumer website DoctorsThatDO.org. And the transition to a single graduate medical education accreditation system is opening up new opportunities for DOs and MDs in training while preserving what makes osteopathic GME distinctive.
“DOs are in a unique position to lead and influence action and change in health care,” Dr. Buser noted. “When we choose to go into medicine, we all hope to experience the joy of helping people recover their health and have better, happier lives. Osteopathic medicine is what our patients want, what they deserve, and what we are here to provide.”