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OMED virtual program highlights DO changemakers

Register for the virtual program by Dec. 15 for full access to all conference programming through Dec. 31.


In addition to more than 200 hours of specialty-focused CME, the OMED23 virtual program, available through Dec. 31, includes keynote presentations from three dynamic DOs who are blazing trails in medicine today. Read on to learn more about their important work and how they are helping to improve health outcomes and shape the future of medicine.

There’s still time to register for the OMED23 virtual conference through Dec. 15, which provides access to all OMED sessions through Dec. 31. Virtual participants may earn up to 50 credits of AOA Category 1-A or AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

Omar Lateef, DO, examines impact of systemic inequities

Throughout his tenure as president and CEO of RUSH University Medical Center in Chicago, Omar Lateef, DO, gained national recognition as a leader in the measurement of health care quality. His hospital earned top marks for its management of the COVID-19 pandemic, which included becoming one of the first health systems to offer antibody testing.

During his OMED keynote, Dr. Lateef discussed strategies for addressing systemic inequities in health care, including leveraging mission-driven partnerships and staying focused in the midst of regulatory changes and economic challenges.

Citing evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Lateef revealed that Black and Brown Americans were three times more likely to die from the virus than white Americans. In fact, when it comes to many other diseases such as heart disease or breast cancer, there are significant racial disparities in mortality rates.

In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, RUSH requested that the city’s sickest patients be transferred to their facility. Over time, the mortality rates among different ethnic groups of patients at RUSH became strikingly similar. Dr. Lateef credits this to the fact that RUSH has resources to provide a more advanced level of care for patients who may not have had the same outcomes at a different city hospital.

Dr. Lateef stressed that the problem of racial disparities is solvable, but the solution is not free. Disparities can be solved through access, and access can be increased by providing services in a diverse mix of communities. However, Dr. Lateef explained, “I don’t know a health care leader that’s looking to open up as many immediate access clinics in areas where there’s no insurance or poor payer mix.” As a possible solution, Dr. Lateef suggested that health care systems join together to share the costs instead of competing with each other.

Cole Zanetti, DO, explores future of AI in medicine

As a senior advisor for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Care and Payment Innovation, Cole Zanetti, DO, leads the VA’s health care system in payment innovation and emerging technologies. The impact of technology, especially AI, will bring significant changes to our health care system and the practice of medicine in the very near future, he said during his OMED keynote presentation.

“Every news cycle, we’re hearing about ChatGPT and artificial intelligence and how AI is actually going to take over the world,” he said. “Meanwhile in health care, we still have pagers and fax machines. We struggle to get orders that make sense in our own health record. It’s almost as if up to this point, technology has served more as an obstacle.”

If used responsibly, Dr. Zanetti believes AI can give physicians back time to spend with their patients and their families. “The future of medicine and the osteopathic principles of whole-person care, partnered with technology, can ensure the struggles don’t continue,” he said.

Many AI tools, including optical character recognition, natural language processing and large language models, provide practical use applications for physicians, Dr. Zanetti said, adding that such technologies can save valuable time that could be spent with patients rather than on documentation, medical records and clinical decision support.

“We need to be able to connect with people, but we can’t keep up with the pace,” Dr. Zanetti said. “Getting your time back is incredibly important.”

Mary V. Krueger, DO, provides glimpse into military medicine

U.S. Army Brigadier General Mary V. Krueger, DO, has ascended the highest ranks of military health system leadership, and she’s learned a few things along the way.

As the commanding general of Medical Readiness Command East and the 24th chief of the U.S. Army Medical Corps, Dr. Krueger’s military medical career has led her across continents and war zones. “The military health setting is unique,” she said during her OMED23 keynote presentation. “We care for service members and their families, but we can’t do it alone.”

Dr. Krueger discussed similar challenges faced by both military and civilian physicians, adding that the main difference in the military world is that efficiency is measured by how effectively the team can get soldiers ready to get out the door. Challenges like workforce shortages, physician burnout and lack of access to care are universal, she said.

In addition to discussing her own role in the military, Dr. Krueger shined a spotlight on DO colleagues in the Army who have proven themselves as “game changers” by leading through change. “I’d like to give you permission to not be everything to everyone, to embrace what you’re really good at, and then decide how you can leverage that in order to make the change that you want to see,” she said.

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