Osteopathic principles have remained constant since A.T. Still, MD, DO, developed them during the 1800s, noted Martin S. Levine, DO, MPH, during his delivery of the A.T. Still Memorial Lecture at the AOA House of Delegates on Saturday.
But as medicine evolves with each generation, the osteopathic profession’s steadfast commitment to communication, empathy and holistic care has helped it emerge as a leader in the art of medicine, said Dr. Levine, who served as the AOA’s 2011-12 president.
Osteopathic care is what patients are looking for today, Dr. Levine said, citing public response to the AOA’s brand campaign as evidence.
“We’ve received half a million responses from people who want to find a DO,” he said. “When introduced to our philosophy and our ability to address their needs, patients immediately went and looked for a DO.”
To ensure the future success of the profession, DOs must commit to guiding the next generation of osteopathic medical students, residents and young physicians in practice, Dr. Levine said.
“Our students are the future of this profession,” he said. “You need to mentor them. It’s not what you say, it’s what you do.”
One way to do this is by facilitating osteopathically focused residency training—which research shows more than 80% of students want, Dr. Levine noted.
“Are you doing everything you can to evolve and strengthen our profession?” he asked the audience. “If you’re a program director, are you transitioning to ACGME accreditation? Are you applying for osteopathic recognition?”
Another way DOs can strengthen the profession is to continue to provide high-quality, empathetic osteopathic care to their patients, Dr. Levine said.
“There is no better brand campaign than a positive experience with a DO,” he said.