Pictured from left: Medical students Nathaniel Gentry, Emily Kraft, Marie Fong, and NYITCOM-Arkansas Site Dean Shane Speights
Students, faculty, and alumni from the College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM) were among the more than 6,000 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). Today, there are more than 168,000 D.O.s and osteopathic medical students in the United States. In fact, one in four medical students chooses to pursue an osteopathic medical education.
NYITCOM left its mark at this year’s conference, which was held October 27 through 30 in Boston, Mass. In addition to sharing impactful academic research, members of the NYITCOM community were recognized for their inspiring commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
Fourth-year medical student Meher Ahmed received the AOA’s Individual DEI Unification Award for her participation in NYITCOM’s Diversity Task Force and service as a diversity inclusion officer for the Student Government Association.
The AOA presented this year’s Organizational DEI Unification Award to NYITCOM’s DEI Committee, which focuses on developing DEI ambassadors to promote education, encourage diversity in hiring practices, and foster outreach to prospective physicians in underserved communities. Lillian Niwagaba, Ph.D., director of the Center for Global Health, and Sloane Kelley, director of the library at NYITCOM-Arkansas, accepted the award on behalf of the committee.
From left: Sloane Kelley, Lillian Niwagaba, Ph.D., and medical student Meher Ahmed. Photo credit: AOA
As fourth-year medical student Scott Landman explained, each year OMED provides a vital resource for students to advocate for the future of medical education and learn from leading physicians.
“Students interested in advancing their medical careers, advocating for patients, and networking with physicians and residents have the opportunity to do so,” said Landman, who serves as the national treasurer for the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA), the student affiliate organization of the American Osteopathic Association. SOMA oversees the student educational track at the conference.
This year, more than 1,600 D.O. students across the nation registered for the hybrid-participation conference, with more than 1,000 participating in person. As Landman, who also sits on the OMED Steering Committee for National SOMA, notes, there is a good reason for that.
“Mentorship is particularly significant, with the ability to meet your next physician or resident mentor. Developing these professional and interpersonal skills comes from the interactions at these conferences,” he said.
The conference is also where SOMA holds meetings for its voting delegates, with student ambassadors represented from D.O. schools across the country.
“At the first meeting, members presented, debated upon, and voted on member-written resolutions to combat issues in the U.S. healthcare system or medical education. NYITCOM students co-authored four resolutions, and two were passed as policy,” said Landman. “At the second meeting, Nathaniel Gentry, from NYITCOM-Arkansas, was elected to Region IV trustee and the Board of Trustees for National SOMA. In addition, NYITCOM-Long Island won a charity miles award for running the most miles in Region I, which consisted of eight osteopathic medical schools in the northeast.”
This year, NYITCOM students, faculty, and alumni shared ample research across a wide array of subjects. Among many other topics, studies examined the medical treatment of transgender patients, osteopathic manipulative treatment for migraines, and the impact of age, race, religion, and gender.
Student Research (in order of presentation):
- Julie Brett Ochs: “A DBA/2J Strain Mouse Model of Warfarin-Induced Calcification: A Pilot Study Investigating Ultrasound Physiological Parameters”
- Shebin Tharakan: “Characterization of Fluid Uptake in 3-D Bio-printed β-Tricalcium Phosphate/Alginate Scaffolds doped with Strontium”
- Makayla Lund: “Use of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine in Treating Migraines”
- Lerone Clark: “The Effects of Upper Trapezius Muscle Energy Technique on Pain, Muscle Tension, and Cervical Range of Motion Using the MyotonPRO”
- Violeta Foss: “The use of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) in the management of patients with post-COVID symptoms”
- Nicole Companion: “Effects of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment on Primary Dysmenorrhea”
- Mohammad Farhan Aktar, Joseph Aabye, Ian Snyder, Rebecca Winter, and Mario Silva: “Association between Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Mast Cell Diseases, and Syncope/Presyncope at an Osteopathic Medical Center”
- Amani Masoud: “The impact of Age, Race, Religion, and Gender on Patients’ Comfort with Medical Physical Examinations”
- Farhaad Rasool: “Supervised Drug Injection Sites to Reduce Intravenous Drug Usage and Prevent Drug Overdose”
- Victoria Herr: “Gender Differences in Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Perceived by Osteopathic Medical Students within the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic”
- Jeri Ann Ramilo: “The Evolving Role of Private Equity in Healthcare”
- Christine Jisoo Lee: “Motivations and Impact of Restrictive Abortion Laws in the United States”
- Miranda Reed: “Introduction to Overdose Prevention”
Research by NYITCOM administrators and faculty:
- Reem Abu-Sbaih, D.O., associate professor: “Osteopathic Considerations within the Abdomen”
- Patti Happel, D.O., associate professor and director of interprofessional education: “Food Is Medicine: Let’s Take a Bite Out of Obesity”
- Bernadette Riley, D.O., associate professor and director of the Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome/Hypermobility Treatment Center: “Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders and the Co-Morbid Conditions Associated with It”
- Michael Terzella, D.O., associate professor: “Barriers to Freedoms: Treatment of Cervical Somatic Dysfunction with Muscle Energy Technique”
- Nicole Wadsworth, D.O., dean, NYITCOM: “How to Approach Caring for the Transgender Patient. Is There a Difference?”
- Adam Bitterman (D.O. ’10): “Top 5 Problems in the Ankle and Foot”
- Dennis Dowling (D.O. ’89): “PINS for Upper and Lower Extremities”
- Emily Copel (D.O. ’11): Ethics of Pandemic Medicine
- Suzanne Sirota-Rozenberg (D.O. ’88): “The Osteopathic Approach to Psychosomatic Dermatological Conditions; The Art of Medicine Through the Eyes of a DO Dermatologist”
- Stella Rubina (D.O. ’11): “Palliative Care vs Hospice Care—What It Is and What It Isn’t; Hospice Care vs Comfort Care—Which Is the Way?”
Connected and Supported
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 high-pressure 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 now presents select partners of medical students and recent graduates with the Donna Jones Moritsugu Award at each year’s OMED. 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. This year’s honorees included Josh Fink, spouse of Gabrielle Fink (D.O. ’22) and Cristian Harriel, spouse of Nicholas Harriel (D.O.’22).
Cristian Harriel, left, and Nicholas Harriel (D.O.’22)