Osteopathic Grants

More than $1 million in funding awarded to osteopathic researchers

Two osteopathic medical students and four DOs are among those receiving funding for their projects.


In accordance with its strategic initiative to demonstrate the value of osteopathic medicine, the AOA will award $1 million in grant funding to 12 projects. Osteopathic medical students are leading two of these projects, and DOs are leading four of them.

“Having received many outstanding research proposals, the Bureau of Osteopathic Clinical Education and Research is honored to fund a wide array of projects this year. It is critically important to continue to advance the practice of osteopathic medicine through research,” said James Swartwout, AOA senior vice president of education, accreditation and research.

The grants selected support AOA’s five research focus areas:

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

Below are the recipients, their institutions and their research projects.

Jennifer Ashley Belsky, DO, MS, Nationwide Children’s Hospital: Exploring Osteopathic Medicine as an Effective Adjunctive Therapy for Pediatric Oncology Patients. Special funding received from The Dale Dodson Educational Fund.

Kyle Burke, OMS II, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (South Carolina): The Effect of Facial Effleurage on Complement C3 in Patients with Acute Rhinosinusitis. Special funding received from The Dale Dodson Educational Fund.

Blaise M. Costa, PhD, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (Virginia): Clearance of Brain Metabolic Waste in a Natural Animal Model of Alzheimer’s Disease by Cranial Osteopathic Manipulation.

Charles Defendorf, DO, Bluefield Clinic Company: Umbilical and Amniotic Fluid Stem Cell Injections for the Management of Chronic Spine Facet Pain. Special funding received from The AT Still Foundation.

Alicia Ford, PhD, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences: Effects of OMT on Biomarkers and Substance Abuse Treatment Outcomes in Patients with Chronic Pain and Opioid Abuse.

Joseph Christopher Gigliotti, PhD, Liberty University: Determining the Effect of Biological Sex and Therapy on Diet-Induced Alterations in Liver and Kidney Health in Mice.

Bhuma Krishnamachari, PhD, New York Institute of Technology: Predictors of Stress, Anxiety, and Depression in Female Osteopathic Medical Students: A Prospective Cohort Study. Special funding received from The AT Still Foundation.

Alexis Marie LaPietra, DO, St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center Foundation: Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment vs. Standard Therapy in the Management of Acute Neck and Low Back Pain in the Emergency Department. Co-branded award funded in collaboration with The American Osteopathic Foundation.

John C. Licciardone, DO, MS, MBA, University of North Texas Health Science Center: Optimizing Chronic Pain Management through Patient Engagement with Quality of Life Measures: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Patrick O’Connell, OMS IV, Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine: Role of ERAP1 in Tr1 Cell Biology and Ankylosing Spondylitis. Special funding received from The AT Still Foundation.

Beverly A. Rzigalinski, PhD, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (Virginia): Biochemical Effects of Osteopathic Manipulation on Neuronal Function and Survival. Special funding received from The AT Still Foundation.

Harald Martin Stauss, MD, PhD, Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine: Anti-Inflammatory Actions of OMT – Role of the Cholinergic Anti-Inflammatory Reflex and Translocation of Immune Cells from Reticular Organs to the Systemic Circulation. Special funding received from The Dale Dodson Educational Fund.

Grant periods range from 6 to 24 months. Recipients are strongly encouraged to submit their research for publication in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

For further reading:

DO student wins prestigious AMA award for eyesight restoration research

HRSA awards ATSU-SOMA $1.9 million for primary care fellowship

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