In his inaugural speech as AOA president, Ronald Burns, DO, described osteopathic medicine as modern medicine with a personal touch.
“Modern medicine meaning we utilize all the latest technology, pharmaceutical and surgical interventions, but we never lose focus on the person. We focus on the mind, body and spirit,” said Dr. Burns, a board-certified family physician in private practice.
As an example of this modern osteopathic world, Dr. Burns described Cole Carter, OMS III, whom he met while visiting Lincoln Memorial University Debusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM). Carter had encountered children suffering from traumatic hand amputations and in reaction formed an on-campus club to make 3D-printed hands for kids who need them, Dr. Burns said. The club printed 3D hands accurately, efficiently and inexpensively, which helped the children better cope with a very difficult and adverse childhood experience.
“Cole was incorporating our osteopathic principles while embracing today’s technology,” Dr. Burns said. “This is one of many examples of student innovation.”
As the new AOA president, Dr. Burns thanked the people who touched his life, influenced him and mentored him, including past AOA presidents, the AOA Board of Trustees, the Florida osteopathic delegation and Florida Osteopathic Association.
A history of service
Dr. Burns, who resides and works in the Orlando area, has a long history of serving the profession in many capacities—as a fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians, in a leadership role with the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, and as a member of the Florida osteopathic medical licensure board. These experiences have given Dr. Burns a better understanding of how the profession comes together to advance the distinctive osteopathic voice, he said.
Toward that end, Dr. Burns outlined the three priorities that he will primarily focus on this year. They are:
- Expanding support of and collaboration with state and specialty affiliates. His three-pronged plan includes calls for improving channels of communication with affiliates, expanding opportunities for affiliate representation, and expanding the ACCME accreditation program to better support the needs of affiliates. “The affiliate voice is unique, important and must be heard,” Dr. Burns said.
- Improving certifying board services by creating a better assessment experience.
- Enhancing membership services with a new MRM (membership relationship management) database, an accessible online staff directory, and an overall more personal membership experience.
“This year, I commit to you that our great staff, with the Board of Trustees’ governance, will evolve to an AOA you have never seen before,” Dr. Burns said.