Ohio University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine
conferred the title of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine to 106
graduates during its 29th annual Commencement
exercises held at the Templeton-Blackburn Memorial Auditorium on the
Athens campus June 7.
Ohio University President Roderick
McDavis, along with keynote speaker Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer
Brunner and OU-COM Dean John A. Brose, D.O., highlighted the Class
of 2008’s commitment to service in Ohio.
McDavis noted that 62 percent of the
college’s 2,461 graduates practice within the state, with 54 percent
serving as primary care providers, the highest percentages of any of
Ohio’s seven medical schools.
Brunner similarly charged class
members to become "an extension of the university's commitment to
service" as they continue their careers in health care.
“Service to those in need is the
highest calling,” said Brunner, who has served as an advocate for
underserved populations through her work with election reform and
her ongoing efforts to establish a life-quality index intended to
improve health care for Ohioans. “In the end, all you leave behind
is what you have done for others,” she said.
Robert S. Juhasz, D.O., representing
the board of trustees of the American Osteopathic Association,
reminded the graduates to remember the skills they worked so hard to
learn and that patients appreciate
“During your training here, you have
been given the tools to be able to listen, to touch, and to heal.
In a world that is often full of the noise of life, you have the
responsibility and privilege of slowing down enough to listen to
people’s most intimate thoughts and concerns,” Juhasz said. “Always
respect that privilege.”
Juhasz said the new D.O.’s were
taught to use their hands as instruments of diagnosis, caring, and
“In a world that is often cold, a
caring touch can go a long way toward showing that you care for
those who have chosen to see you,” Juhasz said. “Healing allows you
to use the tools of listening, appropriate touch, the evidence of
research, the skills that you have learned from your mentors, and to
be able to walk with your patients in their journey to prevent
illness and treat disease.”
William F. Emlich, Jr., D.O.,
president of the Ohio Osteopathic Association which represents more
than 4,000 D.O.’s in the Buckeye State, reminded the graduates about
the original purpose and mission of OU-COM.
“More than 30 years ago, a group of
dedicated osteopathic physicians and members of the Ohio Osteopathic
Association had the foresight, creativity, and legislative savvy to
plant the seeds for this school,” Emlich said. “Its legislative
mandate was to educate physicians in Ohio who would fill a vital
need in primary care, especially in the rural areas of Ohio.”
That mandate remains the same and the need for primary care is even
greater, Emlich noted.
Brose echoed Emlich’s call for the
new graduates to consider serving as primary caregivers.
Brose cited a report on physician
supply and demand submitted to the Ohio Board of Regents by the
Robert Graham Center on Policy Studies in Family Medicine and
Primary Care. The report noted that doctors of osteopathic
medicine are more likely to be in direct patient care, more likely
to practice in a rural area, and more likely to practice in an area
with a shortage of health-care professionals.
“Given that the report also states
that almost 20% of Ohioans live and work in rural areas, osteopathic
physicians’ commitment to primary care in underserved areas is
especially noteworthy,” Brose said.
Brose also told the Class of 2008
that society will now expect a great deal from them.
“Your opinions will now carry more
weight because of your profession, and people will assume your
honesty and integrity,” Brose said. “I urge you to do your utmost to
live up to these ideals, for you now represent not only yourself,
but also all of us in this proud profession.
Jeffrey A. Stanley, D.O., president
of the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine Society of
Alumni and Friends, provided the graduates with some final advice
about the distinctive osteopathic philosophy that emphasizes the
“Take time to listen to your
patients. Learn about them and learn from them. They often will tell
you exactly what is wrong,” Stanley said. “Always carry in your mind
the lessons you have learned at OU-COM, and use your talents and
training to improve the lives of your patients.”
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