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Continuing Proud Traditions at OMED21

October 27, 2021

Students, faculty, and alumni from the College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM) were among more than 4,600 physicians, medical students, and members of the osteopathic medical community who attended this year’s national Osteopathic Medical Education Conference (OMED).

The annual conference, hosted by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), is the world’s largest gathering of osteopathic physicians (D.O.s), a community that continues to grow at a record-breaking pace—up 80 percent since 2010. Today there are more than 168,000 D.O.s and osteopathic medical students in the United States.

While this year’s conference, held October 22 through 24, was initially planned to take place in Phoenix, Ariz., after careful consideration and consultation with partnering osteopathic specialty colleges, the AOA Board of Trustees decided to convert OMED21 to a virtual-only format. Despite the virtual nature of this year’s event, NYITCOM continued its proud traditions of disseminating academic research, exchanging ideas on advancements in medicine, and recognizing its award-winning community members.

Sharing Research, Insight, and Perspectives

Twenty NYITCOM students had the prestigious opportunity to share their research abstracts. Among them was third-year NYITCOM-Long Island student Mahima Mangla, who took first place in this year’s Student Research Poster Competition for her project, “Assessing Usage and Perceptions of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) and Self-Identity Among Osteopathic Physicians.”

In addition to research, NYITCOM community members took part in conversations on key issues and advancements in medicine. Most notably, second-year NYITCOM-Arkansas student Noora Khiraoui joined experts from Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health and Bradenton College of Osteopathic Medicine, as well as a renowned psychiatrist and activist to discuss LGBTQIA+ Equity and Inclusion in Healthcare. The conversation addressed the need for systemic change that eliminates barriers to healthcare based on sexual orientation and gender identity and how healthcare providers can better understand and meet the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community.


Student Mahima Mangla took first place in this year’s Student Research Poster Competition.

Featured NYITCOM Research at OMED21

  • “The Dual Nature of the Distal Phalanx: The Bony Cap,” by medical student Shannon E. Smith and Professor of Anatomy Nikos Solounias, Ph.D.
  • “At-Home ECG Monitoring with a Real-Time Outpatient Cardiac Telemetry System During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” by medical student Nolberto Jaramillo, Jr.
  • “Patient Perception of Clinical Trials With and Without Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” by medical student Jacqueline Nikakis.
  • “The Efficacy of an Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) Virtual Reality Program on Learning for Osteopathic Medical Students,” by medical students Jerry Jose, Erum Ahmed, Edward Piscitelli, Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences and Director of the Center for Biomedical Innovation Randy F. Stout, Ph.D., and Chair and Professor of OMM Sheldon Yao, D.O.
  • “Assessing Usage and Perceptions of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) and Self-identity Among Osteopathic Physicians,” by medical students Mahima Mangla, Saljooq Asif, Soubhana Asif, Associate Professor of OMM Michael Terzella, D.O., and Chair and Sheldon Yao, D.O.
  • “Factors Affecting Osteopathic Medical Students’ Specialty Choice in Light of a Future Pass/Fail COMLEX Level 1 and USMLE Step 1,” by medical students Risa Kiernan, Ashley Monaco, Katherine Keever, Associate Professor of Clinical Specialties Maria Pino, Ph.D., and Associate Professor of Clinical Specialties Gregory Saggio, D.O. The authors also presented the research project, “Factors Influencing Osteopathic Medical Students’ Decision to Pursue a Surgical Specialty.”
  • “The Effect of Counterstrain Technique on Muscle Stiffness and Pain on Trapezius Tender Points in Medical Students,” by medical students Richard Liang, Sammi Wong, Kevin Song, Lerone Clark, Jai Joshi, Aziz-ur-rahman Khalid, Biostatician Min-Kyung Jung, Ph.D., Sheldon Yao, D.O., and Assistant Professor of OMM Philip Noto, D.O.
  • “Serum Osteocalcin in the Osteopathic Treatment for Motor Function in Parkinson’s Disease,” by medical students Swati Gupta, Sheena Lamba, Sheldon Yao, D.O, and Assistant Professor of OMM Jayme Mancini, D.O., Ph.D.
  • “The Red-Hot Joint: Considerations for Diagnosis Management,” by Associate Professor of Family Medicine Thomas Zimmerman, D.O.

Tylis Mays hoods wife Derika Mays (D.O. ’21).

Recognizing the Need for Support Systems

Medical school is a pivotal time in a physician’s career, but with exams, rigorous coursework, and other demands, it can also be one of the most stressful. Given this “pressure cooker” environment, future physicians require strong support systems at home and in the field. That pressure can be especially challenging for those balancing medical school and marriage.

Recognizing this, the American Osteopathic Foundation presents select partners of medical students and recent graduates with the Donna Jones Moritsugu Award. Named for the wife of former U.S. Deputy Surgeon General Kenneth P. Moritsugu, M.D., the award recognizes spouses for the immeasurable support and personal sacrifice that is crucial to their partner’s success, leading to the betterment of their future and of society. This year’s honorees included George Yassa (D.O. ’20), alumnus and partner of current NYITCOM-Long Island medical student Mirette Atnas, and Tylis Mays, partner of Derika Mays (D.O. ’21), a recent NYITCOM-Arkansas graduate who is now completing her residency at NEA Baptist Hospital in Jonesboro, Ark.


George Yassa (D.O. ’20), Mirette Atnas, and family.

OMED is also an opportunity for NYITCOM alumni to re-connect with former classmates and fellow osteopathic physicians. For this year’s Alumni Reception, NYITCOM Dean Nicole Wadsworth, D.O., and NYITCOM-Arkansas Site Dean Shane Speights, D.O., joined medical school graduates for an interactive virtual wine and cheese pairing, which brought together alumni from across the country and provided valuable networking and relationship-building opportunities.

Next year’s conference will take place in Boston, Mass. Learn more about OMED.