This post will be my last one on the AOA President’s Blog. I want to take this opportunity to say that it has been a pleasure to share my thoughts and experiences with you. I’ve heard back from you both in the comments section and in person as I’ve made my travels around the country visiting osteopathic medical schools and attending osteopathic events. While I look forward to returning to my role as Dean of Midwestern University/Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, I will miss learning from and engaging with so many of you.
As my term comes to an end, I promise to stay involved, active, and engaged in our great profession. I hope you will too. Working as a team this past year, we have made great strides, but we still have a long road ahead on our way to accomplishing all our goals. We cannot do it without the support from each and every member of this osteopathic family.
I offer my sincerest thank you for all your enthusiasm, hospitality, and hard work this past year. We have truly made a great team!
In less than two weeks, members of both the AOA’s Board of Trustees and House of Delegates will convene in Chicago for our 2011 Annual Business Meeting. Your elected DOs will review and vote on over 130 AOA resolutions, furthering and strengthening the AOA’s mission and vision.
The meeting also marks the conclusion of my term as the 114th President of the American Osteopathic Association. As I pass the baton onto my osteopathic teammate, Martin S. Levine, DO, I’ll reflect on all the great experiences I have enjoyed over this past year; most of which involve meeting and talking with the thousands of current and future DOs I’ve had the pleasure to come face to face with while traveling across the country. I’ve seen the inside of an airplane more times than I can count this year, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything!
Though you might not be able to join me in Chicago for my farewell and the inauguration of President-elect Levine, I hope you will stay tuned to the important proceedings that are taking place. To help you do just that, the AOA will be broadcasting from the meeting with AOA Minute videos and posting updates to the Inside the AOA section of Osteopathic.org. Be sure to stop by the website July 15-17 to take a look!
Have you ever lived through a tornado or another natural disaster? Kevin Kikta, DO, describes the 45 seconds that changed his life in this poignant, first-hand account of what it was like to live through the tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri; treat victims; and pick up in its aftermath. Here's his story (but be forewarned some of the details are particularly heart- wrenching and graphic).
My name is Dr. Kevin Kikta, and I was one of two emergency room doctors who were on duty at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin, MO on Sunday, May 22, 2011.
You never know that it will be the most important day of your life until the day is over. The day started like any other day for me: waking up, eating, going to the gym, showering, and going to my 4:00 pm ER shift. As I drove to the hospital I mentally prepared for my shift as I always do, but nothing could ever have prepared me for what was going to happen on this shift. Things were normal for the first hour and half. At approximately 5:30 pm we received a warning that a tornado had been spotted. Although I work in Joplin and went to medical school in Oklahoma, I live in New Jersey, and I have never seen or been in a tornado. I learned that a “code gray” was being called. We were to start bringing patients to safer spots within the ED and hospital.
At 5:42 pm a security guard yelled to everyone, “Take cover! We are about to get hit by a tornado!” I ran with a pregnant RN, Shilo Cook, while others scattered to various places, to the only place that I was familiar with in the hospital without windows, a small doctor’s office in the ED. Together, Shilo and I tremored and huddled under a desk. We heard a loud horrifying sound like a large locomotive ripping through the hospital. The whole hospital shook and vibrated as we heard glass shattering, light bulbs popping, walls collapsing, people screaming, the ceiling caving in above us, and water pipes breaking, showering water down on everything. We suffered this in complete darkness, unaware of anyone else’s status, worried, scared. We could feel a tight pressure in our heads as the tornado annihilated the hospital and the surrounding area. The whole process took about 45 seconds, but seemed like eternity. The hospital had just taken a direct hit from a category EF5 tornado.
Then it was over. Just 45 seconds. 45 long seconds. Read more.
Recently, the AOA released the results of a consumer survey on people's exercise habits. The survey garnered the interest of USA Today who put it on its front page of its May 5 edition as the "Snapshot" of the day. The "Snapshot" highlighted the top five reasons survey respondents gave for putting off exercise, which were no time; lack of motivation; weather or climate; illness or injury; and inconvenient location.
For more places the AOA or DOs and osteopathic medicine have been in the news, check out the AOA's media coverage on Osteopathic.org.
Last Thursday, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a new diagram to demonstrate nutritional guidelines, replacing the overly complex and often confusing food pyramid. As an osteopathic physician, I have to say that I am quite pleased with the update.
Instructing our patients, especially our younger patients, on proper nutrition can be quite challenging. Just last month, as part of National Osteopathic Medicine Week, I spoke to first- through third-graders about nutrition at the AOA’s Mini-Medical School. While they were quite savvy about which foods fall into which groups, they didn’t seem to be as clear on how much of each food group to eat on a daily basis. The new food plate diagram now provides a clear visual for people of all ages to determine how much of each food group should be on their plate – with half of the plate sectioned off for fruits and vegetables.
In relation to this, the AOA has partnered with the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) to raise awareness of the PBH's Fruits & Veggies-More Matters campaign and provide resources about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables to the public. You can find a list of ways to help promote the “half your plate” message on the AOA’s website. I encourage you to take a look and join in the effort.
And, I’d like to know: What do you think about the new food plate diagram?
It was like Adam Pally, one of the stars on the new ABC series "Happy Endings," had gone through AOA media training.
Pally, the son of Eric Pally, DO, a 1989 graduate of CCOM, was being interviewed by Jimmy Kimmel and discussing his parents. When Jimmy asked what his dad does, Adam didn't just respond that his dad was a physician. He said my dad is an osteopathic internist.
Even better is that Adam went on to say that an osteopathic internist is a "fancy" word for doctor.
Adam, I don't know how many of those in the osteopathic family have had the opportunity to get the word out on national TV about our profession, but you did it beautifully. The osteopathic medical profession thanks you for your recognition. Your dad should be proud.
Let's all take a look at how Adam did it. In my media training, I've learned that no matter what the reporter asks you, there is always a way to work in DOs or osteopathic medicine. Let's all pledge to promote the profession when we have opportunities like these arise.
On Sunday, Joplin, Missouri, was the latest city ripped apart by a tornado. Schools, hospitals, homes and businesses were destroyed. We have DOs and osteopathic medical students in this and other areas affected by recent storms, tornadoes or flooding. The AOA can help.
The Osteopathic Family Relief Fund (OFRF), funded by the AT Still Foundation, aids physicians and medical students whose homes and clinics are damaged in natural disasters.
The OFRF provides grants from $2,500 to $10,000 to help physicians rebuild their offices and practices after suffering through such natural disasters as hurricanes, severe storms, and flooding.
Physicians who have been affected in counties recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as disaster areas are eligible to apply for an OFRF grant.
For a grant application or more information, contact Rickie Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800)621-1773, ext. 8164.
Those wishing to donate to the fund can send tax-deductible contributions payable to AOA:
Osteopathic Family Relief Fund
142 E. Ontario St.
Chicago, IL 60611-2864
“The Future of Medicine is in Your Hands” — what a great theme for the AOA’s 116th Osteopathic Medical Conference & Exposition, OMED 2011! Credit is due to your fellow osteopathic family member, Slade Suchecki, DO, for coming up with a theme that not only addresses the current climate of change and great innovation within our profession, but also reminds us of one of the foundations of osteopathic medicine – the hands-on approach.
I hope you will join me, Dr. Suchecki, and thousands more of your osteopathic peers this Oct. 30-Nov. 3 in Orlando, to expand your knowledge and share your ideas on the future of medicine.
You can register now on the AOA’s website, within the new OMED 2011 section. While you’re there, you will also find the tentative program schedule, frequently asked questions, and the latest OMED event news.
I believe that a great mentor is a truly special thing. Through their words and example, they can shape our lives in ways we don’t even realize until we look back years later. If you are lucky enough to know a mentor like this, now is your chance to help them receive the acknowledgement they deserve.
The AOA’s iLearn Mentor Recognition Program, in association with Pfizer, Inc., has been recognizing and honoring great osteopathic mentors since 2005. Through July 18, you can nominate your favorite mentor for the AOA’s highest iLearn award – the AOA Mentor of the Year Award. Each eligible mentor will be inducted into the AOA Mentor Hall of Fame.
You can nominate a mentor regardless of whether or not you are a part of the iLearn Mentor Program, so I hope you take this opportunity to acknowledge those who have a subtle yet immeasurable impact on the future of our profession.
And, if you're looking for a mentor or would like to be one. Check out the AOA's iLearn Program.
Recently, I attended the American College of Osteopathic Pediatrician's (ACOP) meeting and was impressed that they are helping to combat obesity in children by helping them learn about health and wellness. ACOP designed a Pediatric Wellness RX Pad for DOs to give to their pediatric patients and their parents.
The prescription notes the daily importance of:
- 5 fruits or vegetables
- Less than 2 hours of TV/computer/video games
- At least 1 hour of physical activity
- 0 calories from sweetened drinks
If you would like to order a free ACOP Rx pad, visit ACOP's website (limit one pad per person).