Osteopathic research

Advancing the osteopathic profession: An introduction to CORK

The Conference on Osteopathic Research and Knowledge will be holding its inaugural two-day event June 22-23 in Old Westbury, New York.


The field of osteopathic medicine is currently at a crossroads. As we struggle with the age-old question of “how are we distinct?” the burden falls on us DOs to prove it. As Brian Loveless, DO, recently reminded us in his DO Distinction column, A.T. Still, DO, MD, hoped for us to “let your light so shine before man that the world knows you are an osteopath pure and simple and that no prouder title can follow a human name.”

So how do we now go about showing that DOs are unique and in fact have helped to improve patient care? One great way to do this is to support the use of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). 

Every DO spends over 200 hours in their first two years of medical school learning OMT. Yet many of us do not use it beyond that time. Our profession is aware of the barriers to using OMT, including reimbursement challenges, lack of time and poor awareness about what OMT is able to offer to patients. How do we create a shift back that highlights the value of OMT, and thus us DOs?

Both myself and Jordan Keys, DO, as the founders of CORK, feel strongly that the critical step to answering this is creating high-quality osteopathic research, with a focus on proving the safety and efficacy of OMT. With quality, well-powered and objective studies, we can help to change standards of care, create demand from patients and advocate for fair reimbursement for OMT. These factors will incentivize more DOs and osteopathic trainees to incorporate OMT into their practice.

We have noticed that those who do OMT research seem to have found it challenging due to a lack of mentorship, as well as difficulties in obtaining funding and minimal designated time for osteopathic scholarly activity. As we commiserated about these very obstacles one afternoon, the idea for what has become CORK was born.

What is CORK?

The Conference on Osteopathic Research and Knowledge (CORK) will be holding its inaugural two-day event June 22-23, 2024, at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM) in Old Westbury, New York. The event will feature renowned osteopathic researchers from around the world. Invited speakers, such as Francesco Cerritelli, PhD, an Italian osteopath, and Raymond Perrin, PhD, a British osteopath, will share their current research endeavors as well, including the latest and greatest trends in OMT research, such as functional MRIs, and biomarkers to objectively prove what we’ve seen in practice for years. Additionally, there will be hands-on OMT workshops and breakout sessions for mentoring.

Breakout sessions will have different focal points to help provide direct feedback and support on how to seek funding, write manuscripts and develop protocols. The OMT workshops will provide opportunities and discussions on how to standardize, develop protocols and best integrate OMT into clinical trials.

Connecting with other DOs

In addition to the content above, there will be two additional networking events for those attending CORK. Separate registration for these are available as well: Distilling with Still, an open-bar cocktail reception, will take place on June 21, and the Sesquicentennial Celebration for Osteopathic Medicine will occur on June 22 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the profession. We also have hands-on pre- and post-CORK OMT workshops featuring Dr. Perrin, who is known for his work with long-COVID and chronic fatigue, and Dr. Cerritelli, who is known for his work with manipulative therapy in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

We hope to see you all in June for this pivotal event for the osteopathic profession! If you’re  unable to join us for the live event, there are virtual attendance options available for CORK itself, as well as our pre-CORK course Beyond Boundaries: Osteopathic Medicine for the Preterm Infant, designed to provide an overview of caring for preterm infants both in the NICU and outside the hospital.

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of The DO or the AOA.

Related reading:

The 4th wave of osteopathic medicine: Re-establishing osteopathic distinctiveness

OMT and cerebral palsy: A patient-centered approach

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