New AOA president is first Heritage College graduate to hold the office

Aug 12, 2019

Ronald Burns, D.O., speaks at the Heritage College during a 2018 visit.

The American Osteopathic Association was founded in 1897. In 1976, Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine welcomed its first class of medical students. And now, 43 years later, Ronald Burns, D.O. (’89), has become the first Heritage College alumnus to serve as AOA president.

A family medicine physician who practices in Orlando, Fla., Burns was installed as the 123 rd president of the national organization during its annual business meeting in Chicago last month. The AOA represents the professional interests of more than 145,000 U.S. osteopathic physicians and medical students.

“The AOA is in great hands,” said Ken Johnson, D.O., executive dean of the Heritage College and chief medical affairs officer of Ohio University. “Over the years, Ron has been a constant source of inspiration to me and to Heritage College students and alumni. He is passionate about our college and has helped to elevate our mission of public service to underserved populations on the national stage. I’m sure he will bring that same passion and drive to his new leadership role.

Burns said his Heritage College education gave him a solid grounding for a leadership role in the osteopathic medical profession and helped shape his views on today’s important health care issues.

“My training at Ohio University truly prepared me for a career in medicine that is responsive to the many needs in health care today, and provided opportunities in research that fostered dynamic skills of learning,” he said. “The rural health needs of America are a large factor in health care policy, and I gained this appreciation while training in Athens. Ohio University HCOM trains physicians to offer excellent health care, meeting the needs of today, and I am proud to share my Ohio University foundation in my year as president of the American Osteopathic Association. Go Bobcats!”

Burns, who also received his undergraduate degree from Ohio University, received a Medal of Merit Award  from the Ohio University Alumni Association in 2018.

Read more about Dr. Burns’ installation in AOA’s news release.