Osteopathic and Allopathic Physicians Unite to Address Cutbacks to Graduate Medical Education
November 12, 1999
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Representatives from osteopathic and allopathic medicine met in
Washington, DC, in October to discuss collective concerns about graduate
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
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.