Celebrating physicians

Celebrating National Physicians Week with stories of 10 inspiring DOs

From fighting for cancer screening to helping send astronauts into space, osteopathic physicians are showing the world how to innovate, advocate and lead.


Physicians touch the lives of so many that it’s fitting to set aside a day to honor them. Since the 1930s, Americans have celebrated National Doctors Day annually on March 30.

Two years ago, the advocacy group Physicians Working Together (PWT) led the charge to expand National Doctors Day to National Physicians Week, which takes place March 25-31 this year. A week of recognition serves dual purposes, PWT leaders noted: to educate the public about physicians and to give physicians time to support and lift up one another.

While we celebrate physicians every day at The DO, we’d like to send out some extra love to our hard-working colleagues this week.

In honor of National Physicians Week, here are some of our favorite stories about 10 DOs who inspire us.

91-year-old patient celebrates with DO who helped her dance again

Sabino D’Agostino, DO, a neurosurgeon in Charleston, South Carolina,  performed a minimally invasive robotic spine surgery on his 91-year-old patient, Julia Tourtellotte, who wanted to dance again.

Dr. D’Agostino, inspired by Tourtellotte’s passion for dance, made two promises: 1) to help her dance again and 2) to dance alongside her after her surgery.

And he did just that.

A career in medical cannabis: DO treats children with epilepsy, cancer patients and others

Junella Chin, DO, has been helping patients integrate medical cannabis into their treatment plans for nearly 15 years. She has seen it help many of her patients. At Mount Sinai Epilepsy Program, she was on the care team of a young boy who was having about 100 seizures a day. With the use of medical cannabis, he’s down to a few seizures a month.

“Cannabinoid receptors are the most abundant receptors in the brain,” Dr. Chin says. “But we don’t learn about them in medical school.”

Junella Chin, DO, advocates on behalf of Tanshin's Bill, New York Senate Bill S8191, which seeks to ensure that children with developmental disabilities are able to receive therapeutic medical marijuana at schools and mental health care facilities in the state.

Space medicine Q&A: NASA DO on his Antarctica, ISS missions

NASA Flight Surgeon Richard Scheuring, DO, went to Antarctica last October for six weeks to support the National Science Foundation and its research teams working there. This summer, he’ll head to Star City, Russia, and then to Kazakhstan to support the launch of an International Space Station mission. Dr. Scheuring will be on call for the entire six-to-eight-month mission and will travel back to Russia with his deputy crew surgeon to support landing operations.

“When astronauts are on space missions, every week the crew surgeons do a 15-minute private medical video conference with each crew member onboard the ISS,” says Dr. Scheuring.

NASA Flight Surgeon Richard Scheuring, DO, trains in a simulated International Space Station environment at NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Lab.

Stroke intervention team brings life-changing techniques to patients

Neurologist Vinodh Doss, DO, and neurosurgeon Jeffrey Beecher, DO, bring rare expertise in endovascular surgery and 24-hour care to Wilmington, North Carolina, a coastal town in the Stroke Belt.

Neurologist Vinodh Doss, DO (left), and neurosurgeon Jeffrey Beecher, DO, are implementing a new approach to stroke intervention at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina.

He nearly failed medical school before rising to new heights

“Don’t wait to reach out for help,” says Caleb Hentges, DO, who shares the story of his tumultuous first year and the journey back from self-doubt and depression.

Barbara Ross-Lee, DO, helps to spearhead Time’s Up Healthcare.

Dr. Ross-Lee, the first African-American woman to be named a dean of a U.S. medical school, has teamed up with her niece, actress Tracee Ellis Ross, to complement her work with the Time’s Up movement by helping to spearhead an offshoot called Time’s Up Healthcare.

Fortune notes that the medical field hasn’t experienced the same exposure that other industries, like entertainment, have experienced in the midst of the #MeToo movement,” the article from public radio station WAMU reads. “But that doesn’t mean it’s less of an issue.”

Barbara Ross-Lee, DO

Going to therapy as a psychiatrist didn’t just help me. It helped my patients.

“No textbook can teach you what it’s like to sit in the patient’s chair or even about the struggle of simply making that first appointment,” writes psychiatrist Vania Manipod, DO, in this article for Healthline, where she opens up about going to therapy as a physician. Dr. Manipod seeks to reduce the stigma of mental illness via her blog, social media accounts and speaking engagements.

Vania Manipod, DO, uses her Instagram account, @freudandfashion, to promote osteopathic medicine and raise awareness of various health issues, including mental illness.

Alaska DO’s fight for cancer screening and prevention earns her an AMA award

Ellen Provost, DO, is honored for her career-long commitment to improving public health in the Alaska Native population.

“Dr. Provost’s positive impact on the health of the Alaska Native population is immeasurable,” said AMA Board Chair Jack Resneck Jr., MD. “She has saved lives, strengthened communities, and created not just the building blocks, but a strong infrastructure, that can improve health outcomes for Alaska Native people for generations to come.”

Ellen Provost, DO, receives the AMA's Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Public Service.

DC health department chief brings passion for addressing social determinants of health to the role

DOs are well-positioned to help bridge the chasm between clinical practice and public health, said Jacqueline A. Watson, DO, MBA, the chief of staff for the Washington, DC, department of health.

“Our osteopathic training has prepared us to always remember that we’re treating the whole patient,” she said. “That’s extremely important. Whoever comes in front of us, we’re not just looking at their clinical presentation, but actually understanding their life circumstances and what makes them who they are.”

Jacqueline A. Watson, DO, MBA, the chief of staff for Washington, DC's department of health, addresses physicians and medical students attending the AOA Health Policy Forum.


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