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D. Keith Watson, D.O., F.A.C.O.S.

OU-COM administrator appointed to medical advisory board

November 5, 2010

(Athens, Ohio) U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius appointed D. Keith Watson, D.O., F.A.C.O.S., senior associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor of surgery at the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine, to serve on the 17-member Council of Graduate Medical Education (COGME). 

The COGME provides services such as assessing physician workforce trends, training issues and finance policies, and recommends appropriate federal and private sector efforts to address identified needs. The council also advises and makes recommendations to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Commerce.

Watson said he was honored to receive the nomination and to serve on the council, whose recommendations in the past have had strong influences on congressional action related to funding medical residencies.

“This is a critical time in medical education for decisions that will impact availability of residency training (and ultimately how many physicians we train for practice),” Watson said. “Medical schools are rapidly expanding class sizes to meet the physician shortages predicted for 2015 and beyond. Current federal funding for graduate medical education does not provide enough positions to accommodate all the coming graduates or to address the physician shortage.  I am hopeful the COGME agenda will take up this serious discussion to provide sufficient residency positions for graduating seniors.  I am honored to be part of that discussion.”

During his career, Watson has devoted much of his time to the advancement of osteopathic medical education and is a national leader in the profession.  In addition to his positions at OU-COM, which he joined in 1999, he served as chairman of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Council of Osteopathic Postgraduate Training Institutions. He is also the past chairman of the board of directors for the Centers for Osteopathic Research and Education (CORE), OU-COM’s consortium of affiliated teaching hospitals throughout Ohio, which he helped bring to  national prominence.          

Watson served as chairman of the 2006 Osteopathic Medical Education Summit, the first national effort to gather representatives of the undergraduate and graduate medical education community from across the country to discuss and develop solutions for pressing medical education issues.

For his role in the development of the General Surgery In-Service Examination, Watson received an American College of Osteopathic Surgeons (ACOS) Presidential Recognition Award in 1994.  He has received many other honors, including an AOA health policy fellowship in 1997 and a fellowship in the Association of Osteopathic Directors and Medical Educators. The American Osteopathic Foundation honored Watson with the AOA Educator of the Year in 2008, and last year he received the Distinguished Osteopathic Surgeon award from ACOS. 

Watson is a 1975 graduate of the University of North Texas Health Science Center—Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed an internship and general surgery residency at the Tulsa Regional Medical Center and a surgical oncology fellowship at the University of Texas System Cancer Center—M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute in Houston, where he later served as faculty associate. 

He first taught surgery at the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he served as chairman of the Department of Surgery from 1990-1994, then at the Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he served as professor of surgery, associate dean for clinical affairs and project director for the college’s Standardized Performance Assessment Laboratory.

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