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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 healing. 

“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 total person.

“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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Last updated: 01/28/2016