More than 800 people – including over 450 osteopathic physicians and other health professionals, and over 70 medical students – attended the 2018 Ohio Osteopathic Symposium in Columbus in April to learn more about a number of issues on the leading edge of modern health care.
OOS – the state’s premier continuing medical education event for osteopathic physicians – is conducted annually by the Ohio Osteopathic Association in collaboration with the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and its Society of Alumni and Friends.
Keynote speaker Andrew Morris-Singer, M.D., president and founder of the nonprofit Primary Care Progress, talked about “Igniting a Movement in Primary Care.” His message was that health professionals can learn useful lessons on how to transform care delivery by studying how successful social movements build connections and foster grassroots buy-in.
“You are the osteopathic community – you were launched as a result of a movement,” he reminded his audience. In attempting to foster a broad-based coalition around reforming health care, he said, it’s crucial to keep in mind that human beings are naturally drawn together in pursuit of a shared goal.
“Simply put, we’re wired for community,” he said. And by working to engage all stakeholders, and decentralizing decision-making to empower them, he said, great stores of energy and creativity can be harnessed toward creating a system that delivers top-notch primary care.
The topic of “Gender, Sexualities and Health: Learning from Patients to Transform Our Practices” was tackled by a panel including Jane Balbo, D.O. (’07), assistant professor of family medicine and director of the Family Medicine Associateship at the Heritage College; Julie White, Ph.D., professor of political science and director of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Ohio University; and patient Elliot Long.
To date, White said, LGBTQ patients “have not been well served by the (medical) establishment and institutions.” In order to change that, Balbo suggested, physicians should bear in mind that transgender patients seeking, for example, hormone treatment and/or surgery are not victims of some disease. “It’s not pathology – it’s someone’s lived experience,” she said.
Attendees also had the chance to learn about – and take part in – a workshop being offered to Heritage College students to better prepare them to respond mindfully to incidents of racism they may run into during patient encounters.
During the session, trained actors presented dramatic scenes based on experiences reported by medical students, and audience members split into small groups to discuss their reactions to what they’d seen. Participants then had a chance to role-play the incident themselves and try out different ways the physician might have dealt with it.
Joel Manzi, OMS I at the Heritage College, Cleveland, confirmed that medical students do sometimes witness racism from patients during clinical training. “This is a real problem that students, my classmates, are experiencing,” he said. “This is something that can occur anywhere.”
Heritage College assistant professor of family medicine Katy Kropf, D.O. (’02), said that the physician who’s teaching students when a patient makes a racist comment can face a difficult decision, in which caring for the patient must be balanced against confronting prejudice.
“Do you say something in the moment?” she asked. “Do you say something afterwards? Do you say nothing?” And if the choice is to address the issue in the moment, she asked, “How do you learn to say something? How do we learn to speak up?” The workshops, she suggested, are designed to help with this learning.
A story on the racism workshop program was published by the Columbus Dispatch May 7.
Also featured at OOS was the J.O. Watson Memorial Lecture, delivered by Sonia Michael Najjar, Ph.D., the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation John J. Kopchick, Ph.D., Endowed Eminent Research Chair. Najjar spoke on “Discovering a novel link between fatty liver and cardiovascular disease.” The lecture is presented annually by an individual who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of health care, osteopathic medical education or research in memory of one of Ohio’s most respected osteopathic physicians, the late J.O. Watson.
During an awards reception, physicians were honored for their commitment to the osteopathic medical profession through award presentations from the OOA, the Heritage College Society of Alumni and Friends, and the Ohio chapter of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians. Access a Facebook gallery of those recognized.
Nine medical students and residents also were recognized for their research activities during the 8 th Annual Regional Osteopathic Poster Exhibition and Competition. Access a list of poster competition winners from the event.
Next year’s Ohio Osteopathic Symposium will take place April 24- 28, 2019, at the Hilton Columbus at Easton Town Center.