Representatives from osteopathic and allopathic medicine met in

Washington, DC, in October to discuss collective concerns about graduate

medical education.

The 150 attendees were members of either the Association of Osteopathic

Directors and Medical Educators (AODME), which represents the osteopathic

(DO) profession, or the Association of Hospital Medical Educators (AHME),

which primarily serves allopathic (MD) educators.

The group discussed the effect of the federal government’s Balanced Budget

Act of 1997, which brought major funding cutbacks to graduate medical

education, affecting the internships and residency programs that medical

students-whether osteopathic or allopathic-are required to participate in.

Another concern of the group was the level of osteopathic training that

students receive when their rotation takes place in an allopathic facility.

“”In order to improve on the issue of integration of osteopathic principles

two things are needed,”” said Daniel Cogan, EdD, curriculum and instruction

specialist at Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU). “”First, an

appropriate time to discuss this important curricular need must be set,

and second, qualified faculty must be identified to see it accomplished.

At this meeting we were able to hurdle that first barrier.””

Dr. Cogan, serving as both a representative of WesternU and a trustee of

the AODME, participated in a panel at the meeting that addressed “”How to

Integrate Osteopathic Principles and Practice into Student, Intern and

Residency Programs.”” During the presentation he explained that the

responsibility for this integration falls on osteopathic medical colleges,

who have a responsibility to work in cooperation with postgraduate program

consortia, known as Osteopathic Postdoctoral Training Institutions,

established by the American Osteopathic Association.

“”A partnership of the colleges and the post-doctoral training programs is

critically important,”” Dr. Cogan said. “”Tested integration models for

osteopathic principles are in place; now it’s time to appropriate the

necessary resources to see the work accomplished in all of our training

programs.””

DOs and MDs are the only two types of complete physicians in the United

States. Both are licensed by state and specialty boards to perform surgery

and prescribe medication. The difference is that osteopathic medicine

recognizes that all body systems are interdependent and thus a distrubance

in one may cause altered function in others. This method of practice gives

the DO a broader base for the treatment of the patient as a whole.