NYITCOM students with Dean Wolfgang Gilliar and NYIT President Hank Foley.


NYITCOM: 40 Years of Evolution and Revolution in Osteopathic Medicine

September 21, 2017

Photo: NYITCOM students with Dean Wolfgang Gilliar and NYIT President Hank Foley.

In 1977, a small group of visionary founders put forth the radical idea to establish an osteopathic medical school in New York. Today, NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM) is the second largest osteopathic medical school in the U.S., with two campuses (in Old Westbury, N.Y., and Jonesboro, Ark.) and more than 7,400 graduates practicing in all 50 states and 18 countries.

To celebrate its 40 years of medical education, NYITCOM held a two-day anniversary event, which included a black-tie gala and academic symposium spotlighting a variety of healthcare topics. The symposium also featured guest speakers who are some of the college’s most impressive alumni; A former White House physician for Vice President Joe Biden, a ringside physician for the New York State Athletics Commission for Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts, a Major General in the U.S. Army, and the president and CEO of the Federation of State Medical Boards were just a few of the remarkable speakers who addressed a crowd of NYITCOM alumni, faculty members, staff, and students at the Kenneth W. Riland auditorium.

Moderator Jeffrey Perry (D.O. ’89), physiatrist and clinical instructor, departments of Rehabilitation Medicine and Orthopedic Surgery at NYU Langone, introduced experts as they took the stage to address topics ranging from tactical medicine and Medicare clinician reimbursement, to disaster relief and controlled substances, to medical education innovation and performance-enhancing drug use.

As they spoke, the D.O.s fondly shared memories from their time as NYITCOM students and acknowledged the ways in which an osteopathic education prepared them for success. Colonel Kevin O’Connor (D.O. ’92), who served as Vice President Biden’s physician, said, “Every single good thing that happened in my career was linked to OMM (osteopathic manipulative medicine),” while later, Andrea Klemes (D.O. ’87), chief medical officer at MDVIP, joked that she had taken a final exam in the same room where she now stood as a presenter.


From left: Jeffrey Perry (D.O. ’89), NYITCOM Dean Wolfgang Gilliar, D.O., and Gerard Varlotta (D.O. ’83).

Presenters included:

  • Humayun J. Chaudhry (D.O. ’91), MACP, MACOI, CEO of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB)
  • Barbara Connors (D.O. ’81), M.P.H., chief medical officer at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • Robert J. Corona Jr. (D.O. ’86), M.B.A., FCAP, FASCP, chair of the Department of Pathology, John B. Henry Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, SUNY Upstate Medical University
  • Thomas Jan (D.O. ’91), FAOCPMR, director, Chronic Pain Services, John T. Mather Memorial Hospital, Chairman of the American Osteopathic Pain Medicine Conjoint Exam Committee, director LICADD Opioid Overdose Prevention Program
  • Andrea Klemes (D.O. ’87), FACE, chief medical officer, MDVIP
  • Col. Kevin O'Connor (D.O. ’92), former White House physician for Vice President Joe Biden
  • Regina Olasin (D.O. ’82), FAAP, FACP, chief medical offer, Care for the Homeless, New York
  • Jeffrey Perry (D.O. ’89)
  • Gerard Varlotta (D.O. ’83), FACSM, sports medicine physician, medical captain for NYC Marathon and ringside physician, New York State Athletics Commission for Boxing & MMA
  • Phillip Volpe (D.O. ’83) Major General, U.S. Army, Ret.
  • Sheldon Yao (D.O. ’02) chair and associate professor, department of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, NYITCOM
  • Anthony Petrizzo (D.O. ’99), NYITCOM Class of, clinical assistant professor of orthopedic surgery, New York University’s Langone Medical Center

Before leading a fascinating discussion on the positive impacts and realities of medical innovation, including pathology technologies, molecular diagnostics and artificial intelligence, Robert J. Corona Jr. (D.O. ’86), reminded students to take pride in their NYITCOM training. “You are fortunate to be at a medical school which is part of a university with a rich technology-oriented infrastructure. This gives you an advantage to be innovative by leveraging experts from multiple disciplines. Be proud of your education and embrace the entrepreneurial spirit of NYITCOM. You have the unique opportunity to integrate “high tech” with the “high touch” that your patients value. You were chosen because of your grit, durability, courage, and adaptability. You will be leaders of the next generation of healthcare.”

“We appreciate our presenters who have come from all parts of the country to share who they are and who they have become as osteopathic medical professionals,” said Wolfgang Gilliar, D.O., dean of NYITCOM, who received a standing ovation from the audience for his efforts to create a compassionate, supportive medical school environment. “Becoming a physician is a transformative act in and of itself, but more, the transformation is reflected by the achievements of all those who have graduated from NYITCOM and have gone on to do great things. So, in the spirit of celebrating the accomplishments of our alumni, we wanted to share their broad knowledge and expertise with a broader audience.”

Learn more about how NYITCOM faculty members and students are building a bright future for medicine.