The very founding of osteopathic medicine and the armed forces are inextricably linked; the father of osteopathic medicine, AT Still, served in the 21th Regiment of the Kansas State Militia during the Civil War. Osteopathic physicians (DOs) who serve in the military have often used their additional training in osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) to relieve pain and treat injuries on the battlefield, when medication or other treatments could not be readily available.
To raise awareness of osteopathic medicine’s role in the military, the PCOM chapter of the Student Association of Military Osteopathic Physicians & Surgeons (SAMOPS) and the PCOM President’s Diversity Council Subcommittee for Military Members, Veterans/Discharged and Their Families, recently presented the third annual Military Medical Student Symposium for DO and MD students.
The two-day event saw more than 60 pre-med, DO and MD students from a half-dozen medical schools, including PCOM, Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine and the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine.
On Friday, Dec. 11, PCOM hosted several members of the armed forces who are practicing physicians, to discuss the role doctors play on the battlefield. Students also had the opportunity to meet with high-ranking military physicians including Rear Adm. David Lane, the medical officer (TMO) of the Marine Corps and incoming commanding officer of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at Bethesda; Rear Adm. Charles Harr, retired TMO and civilian cardiothoracic surgeon; and Rear Adm. Alan "Woody" Beal, deputy commander of Navy Recruiting Command.
On Saturday, Dec. 12, attendees took part in hands-on osteopathic manipulative techniques (OMT) often used to treat military personnel, that can also be performed in the clinical setting. The medical students also took part in a trauma simulation to learn skills related to trauma care.
“Soldiers are a mix of warrior and athlete,” says C. Woodworth Parker, MS (DO ’16), national president of SAMOPS and an ensign in the U.S. Navy. “They often develop somatic dysfunctions in the body that OMT could be helpful in treating. And, many MD students have never seen OMT done, so this is a way to expose them to another treatment modality.
Events like this are unique,” he added. “Military medical students get to meet with colleagues, ranking members of our community, and learn more about our specific niche of medicine.”
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has trained more than 15,000 highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach, treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM offers the doctor of osteopathic medicine, doctor of pharmacy and doctor of psychology degrees and graduate programs in mental health counseling, school psychology, physician assistant studies, forensic medicine, organizational development and leadership, and biomedical sciences. Our students learn the importance of health promotion, education and service to the community and, through PCOM’s Healthcare Centers, provide care to the medically underserved populations in inner city and rural locations.
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