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AOA President visits WesternU

by Rodney Tanaka

February 9, 2012

Read 3 mins

American Osteopathic Association (AOA) President Martin S. Levine, DO, has a message for WesternU College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific students: “Think osteopathically.”

“You can reduce patients’ blood pressures by doing OMT (osteopathic manipulative treatment),” Dr. Levine said. “You can help stimulate circulation by doing OMT. Every patient that walks into your office can benefit from treatment. You as the DO must find what you can do to make them feel better before they leave the room.”

Dr. Levine, who visited WesternU on Feb. 7, 2012, is one of 20 osteopathic physicians in his family. His father, Howard M. Levine, DO, served as the 1997-98 AOA president, making them the first father-son presidential tandem in the association’s history.

He first realized what it meant to be a DO while growing up in New Jersey and walking through town with his father and grandfather, also an osteopathic physician. Their patients would greet them with gratitude and warmth.

“They would look down at me and they would say, ‘Do you know what your grandfather did for me? Do you know what your father did for me?” Dr. Levine said. “That was when I decided, ‘Whatever they’re doing sounds good to me because this is the way their patients treat them.’”

Dr. Levine was asked to perform OMT on classmates early in his schooling at the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine-A.T. Still University. Despite his relative lack of knowledge at the time, he never refused to give anyone treatment. As he progressed in his career, he looked for people he should be giving treatment to beyond just his patients – the ward clerk, the nurse, the other physician. They never forgot that treatment.

“You will have those skills. Just like I gained them in Kirksville, you will gain them here. You will need to use those skills because in a lot of cases, it is the standard of care,” Dr. Levine said. “If you don’t do OMT on your patient, you are not meeting the standard of care in this country now.”

First-year COMP student Mitch Bunnell said he appreciated Dr. Levine’s visit and his message.

“I thought it was very beneficial for me as a first-year,” Bunnell said. “We’re still trying to get a grasp of when and why to use OMT.”

Dr. Levine told students they are the keepers of the profession.

“You’re extremely important, because you are changing the direction of medical education in this country and how health care is delivered by the way you function,” he said. “You will be there to make sure the profession continues, and your school and other schools continue to provide potentially the best clinical care to meet the needs of the American public.

“You guys are now. You’re not the future, you’re now. You are driving what goes on in Washington and everywhere else in the world. Keep it up. Be mindful that your patients come first. Everyone deserves a treatment. Do manipulation on every one of your patients. You as a DO can figure out what treatment they need.”

Click here for more information about the American Osteopathic Association.

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