American Osteopathic Association (AOA) President Robert S. Juhasz, DO, had a blast at Western University of Health Sciences.

Juhasz spent some time at a local shooting range with a small group of College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific administrators and students then addressed a larger COMP group during his visit Jan. 7, 2015 to Pomona, California.

Dr. Juhasz is an AOA board-certified internist from Concord Township, Ohio. He serves as the president of Cleveland Clinic’s South Pointe Hospital in Warrensville Heights, Ohio, where he worked his way up from an after-school job as a dishwasher.

He talked about AOA’s priorities in the coming year and answered students’ questions about the creation of a single accreditation system for Graduate Medical Education. Also, AOA is implementing its strategic plan, which includes five priority areas for 2014-16: governance, research, education, advocacy and awareness.

"As we enter this era of developing a single accreditation system, I think it really is an opportunity for us to speak about the validity of our osteopathic approach to care," Juhasz said. "We not only have the opportunity but we have the responsibility to share with the medical education world what it is we do and how we teach."

AOA is also focusing on research, examining public and internal perceptions of the osteopathic profession.

"For those patients that have seen a DO, why do they choose to see a DO?" Juhasz said. "As you go out in practice you are going to find out there are people who want to see you because you have those two initials behind your name, and they seek you out and they have a perception of what you are. And the question is whether or not you fulfill their perception. The reality is you will have been given skills to do that, and then it’s up to you to actually live that out."

He fielded questions from the audience and from WesternU’s Lebanon, Oregon campus, who were connected via live stream. Students asked how the transition to the single GME accreditation system would affect them.

Juhasz emphasized that students should stay in contact with the program directors and medical educators for the programs they are interested in applying to. Students should ensure those directors are up to speed on all the changes taking place.

"If you run into road blocks or problems, we want to know about them," he said.

Juhasz visited WesternU’s Lebanon campus in October 2014. He fished with COMP-Northwest students in the South Santiam River.

"We got our feet wet in Oregon," he said. "But we had a blast this morning."

Juhasz said he enjoys being outdoors and he encourages students to also get outdoors to help them stay healthy mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

"It’s important for people to get out of their element. They develop relationships and it provides balance in their careers," he said. "We saw 150 geese flying overhead. It was stunning. You realize there’s a vast world around you and it puts things in perspective."