(ATHENS, Ohio — May 9, 2015) There has never been a more challenging
and opportune time than now to enter the field of osteopathic
medicine. That was the message the head of a national physicians’
organization delivered to members of the Ohio University Heritage
College of Osteopathic Medicine class of 2015 during the college’s
36th annual Commencement
ceremony Saturday. This spring, 124 student doctors from the
Heritage College become physicians and surgeons.
executive director and CEO of the American Osteopathic Association,
called the present day “one of the most dynamic times imaginable in
health care,” and one in which osteopathic physicians are ideally
placed to push for a more equitable and compassionate system.
“We really have to envision that every person in our diverse
society should have the right to be as healthy as possible,” White-Faines
said in her commencement address. To help achieve this goal, she
urged the new Heritage College graduates to “galvanize the
profession to be more courageous.”
As exemplars of courage, she cited Harriet Tubman, who escaped
from slavery in 1849 only to turn back, time and again, to help
others; osteopathic medicine founder A.T. Still, who White-Faines
called one of the biggest leaders in the abolitionist movement and a
pioneer in allowing women to attend medical college; and the U.S.
legislators who created the federal Medicare and Medicaid program 50
years ago. After that legislation passed, she noted, “more than 60
percent of Congress was voted out of office, for signing the
Medicare and Medicaid Act,” though the program now provides medical
coverage to more than 112 million Americans.
This last example, White-Faines suggested, shows that true
courage sometimes requires “leading people not where they want to
go, but where they need to go.” For the new osteopathic physicians
of the Heritage College class of 2015, she said, “it is your time
now to grab the courage to lead.”
She offered the graduates four pieces of advice. First, she said,
“Do not limit your role to that of a physician,” but take
responsibility through involvement in organizations and boards on
all levels. “Do not go silent,” she urged. “You have a perspective
that must be shared.”
Second, she advised, “you have to realize that you are stronger
together than you are alone.” She pointed out that as the
fastest-growing sector in health care, and with 25 percent of all
U.S. medical students now in osteopathic colleges, D.O.s can have a
major impact if they act as a group. “We are a force to be reckoned
with,” she declared.
Third, White-Faines recommended that as they move into medical
practice, the graduates should “balance your life. Pace yourself.
Your professional journey is a marathon, not a sprint.”
And finally, she said, the new D.O.s should “have the audacity to
engage… Together, we can teach the world what it feels like to
Heritage College Class of 2015 President Blake Matesic began his
remarks with a quote from scientist Carl Sagan, who spoke of the
earth as “a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam,” but one filled
with all the richness of human life. As “imperfect beings, living on
an imperfect planet that is floating in an ocean of dark chaos,”
Matesic suggested, one could do much worse than to find meaning in
service to others.
“We are all in the service industry now, whether you realize that
or not,” he told his classmates. The greatest joy in being a
physician, he said, is neither money nor prestige, but “having an
opportunity, every day, to share love with someone and attempt to
make them, and the ones closest to them, feel better than before
they saw you.”
Executive Dean Kenneth Johnson, D.O., noted that the class of
2015 continues to advance the Heritage College mission of providing
primary-care physicians for the state of Ohio and the nation. He
said 56 percent of the class is going into a primary care specialty;
and 76 percent will stay in Ohio for their graduate medical
education. “Your journey has been exciting and inspiring,” he told
the class. “But the best is yet to come.”
The 2015 graduating class contained eight members who are
pursuing careers in military medicine.
The Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
is a leader in training dedicated primary care physicians who are
prepared to address the most pervasive medical needs in the state
and the nation. Approximately 50 percent of Heritage College alumni
practice in primary care and nearly 60 percent practice in Ohio.
CARE LEADS HERE.