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AOA Communication  |   April 2005
Student Essay Contest Focuses on Profession's Past To Strengthen Its Future
Author Affiliations
  • Michael Fitzgerald
    Mr Fitzgerald is the AOA's director of publications.
Article Information
AOA Communication   |   April 2005
Student Essay Contest Focuses on Profession's Past To Strengthen Its Future
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, April 2005, Vol. 105, 218-219. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2005.105.4.218
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, April 2005, Vol. 105, 218-219. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2005.105.4.218
To encourage osteopathic medical students, interns, and residents to fully appreciate their new profession, the American Osteopathic Association's (AOA's) Committee on Osteopathic History and Identity has established a history essay competition. 
The winner of the competition will be recognized at the AOA's annual convention. In addition, the winner will receive a $1000 honorarium to use toward travel and lodging costs for a 2-day stay at the convention. 
Besides honoring the essay winner at the AOA convention, the history committee will encourage the winner to submit his or her essay to JAOA—The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. 
“One of the main goals of the Committee on Osteopathic History and Identity is to find ways to promote career-long loyalty to the osteopathic medical profession by increasing understanding of the struggles and achievements of the profession,” notes Dennis J. Dowling, DO, who chaired the committee from 1999 until this year. 
“As they delve into the profession's rich past, the contestants in this competition will be rewarded with a greater sense of what it means to be DOs and with a greater sense of pride in the profession,” predicts William T. Betz, DO, the committee's acting chairman. 
Contest Details
The Committee on Osteopathic History and Identity will conduct its first history essay competition this spring so that the winner can be honored at the AOA's first Unified Osteopathic Convention, which will be held October 23 through 27 in Orlando, Fla. 
The contest is open to all osteopathic medical students, interns, and residents. The deadline for submitting essays is Friday, June 17. 
The factors that led to the beginning of osteopathic medical research are among the many topics students, interns and residents can choose from to compete in the AOA Committee on Osteopathic History and Identity's essay contest. Women like Ann E. Perry, DO (above), were among the profession's most prominent early researchers. Dr Perry worked for a time with Louisa Burns, DO, at the A. T. Still Research Institute's clinical laboratories in California.
(Photo from the AOA photo archive)
The factors that led to the beginning of osteopathic medical research are among the many topics students, interns and residents can choose from to compete in the AOA Committee on Osteopathic History and Identity's essay contest. Women like Ann E. Perry, DO (above), were among the profession's most prominent early researchers. Dr Perry worked for a time with Louisa Burns, DO, at the A. T. Still Research Institute's clinical laboratories in California.
(Photo from the AOA photo archive)
Although contestants can choose any topic on the history of the profession that they would like to explore, the history committee recommends that contestants focus their papers on one of the principles of the committee's “Core Principles for Teaching the History of Osteopathic Medicine.” Those principles are detailed on the following page. 
The committee recommends that contestants seek out faculty members with publishing experience to advise them on their essays. 
In drafting their essays, contestants should consult the JAOA's “Information for Contributors” as guidelines. The JAOA's “Information for Contributors” guidelines appear in each print issue of The Journal. The guidelines are also posted on the JAOA's Web site, which can be accessed through DO-Online at www.do-online.org. 
Peer-Reviewed Judging
The contest entries will be judged in a peer-review setting by select members of the Committee on Osteopathic History and Identity. These members will determine the winning essay by late summer in time for the winning author to plan to attend the AOA convention. 
Should the winning author elect to submit his or her essay to the JAOA, the essay will undergo The Journal's own peer-review process. 
“While the JAOA is not guaranteeing that it will publish the history committee's winning submission, just experiencing The Journal's peer-review process will be rewarding for the winning author,” observes AOA Editor in Chief Gilbert E. D'Alonzo, Jr, DO. 
Where to Submit Essays
Students, interns, and residents who wish to compete in the history committee's essay competition should submit word-processed documents by June 17 to Mr Michael Fitzgerald, the secretary of the AOA Committee on Osteopathic History and Identity. 
Essays can be e-mailed to Mr Fitzgerald at mfitzgerald@osteopathic.org. The subject line for e-mailed essays should be “History Essay Contest.” Alternatively, essays can be mailed to Mr Fitzgerald at the Department of Publications, American Osteopathic Association, 142 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611-2864. For mailed entries, essays should be placed on diskettes or CDs. 
Contestants with questions can contact Mr Fitzgerald through e-mail, or they can call him at (800) 621-1773, Ext 8157, or send faxes to him at (312) 202-8457. 
Committee Recommends Essay Contestants Use Core Principles
The AOA Committee on Osteopathic History and Identity is recommending that osteopathic medical students, interns, and residents who plan to enter the committee's history essay contest focus their papers on one of the 20 principles found in the “Core Principles for Teaching the History of Osteopathic Medicine.” 
The history committee adopted those 20 principles in 2002 and disseminated them to osteopathic medical colleges. 
What follows is the text of the core principles, which begins with a preamble explaining the purpose of the principles. 
Core Principles for Teaching the History of Osteopathic Medicine
The history of osteopathic medicine should be taught objectively—examining the environment in which the profession began, its growth and development; looking at its relative strengths and weaknesses over time; and focusing on different challenges that the profession has faced and is facing today. 
Students will come to appreciate the history of the osteopathic medical profession from understanding the social, economic, cultural, political, and medical forces and contexts that have shaped the profession's development. Learning specific dates may be useful to constructing a chronology of events, but this is not in itself history. And learning dates without a comprehension of the meaning of events has no especial value to understanding either the profession or the social movement students are about to enter. It is not dry facts that students should be learning. Rather, they need to understand dynamic historical processes and grasp the living, breathing, evolving phenomenon that is osteopathic medicine. 
To this end the AOA Committee on Osteopathic History and Identity proposes that all students of osteopathic medicine become familiar with the following: 
  1. The intellectual, medical, and social climate in which Andrew Taylor Still first practiced the healing arts and which eventually led him to develop a reformed school of medicine that he would call osteopathy.
  2. The fundamental principles and philosophies that underlay the early practice of osteopathy.
  3. The political and cultural factors that shaped American medical licensure and jurisprudence to allow for the organizational and institutional growth of osteopathy in its formative period.
  4. The relations between osteopathy and conventional medicine practiced in the early period of osteopathy's growth.
  5. The comparative early practices of DOs and MDs in treating various illnesses (with special reference to the influenza pandemic of 1918-19).
  6. The struggle for defining osteopathy's scope of practice and the respective intellectual positions of those who favored broad and narrow scopes of practice.
  7. The eventual transformation of osteopathy into osteopathic medicine.
  8. The challenge of osteopathic medical schools to raise educational standards.
  9. The political efforts of DOs to obtain equal licensure provisions and equal treatment with MDs under the law.
  10. The difficulty of DOs gaining the same social status and visibility as MDs despite DOs coming ever closer to MDs in terms of training, as well as in terms of their diagnostic and therapeutic armamentaria.
  11. The development of basic scientific osteopathic medical research.
  12. The reasons behind the development of the osteopathic hospital system and the importance of osteopathic hospitals in shaping osteopathic practice and identity.
  13. The factors leading to and the consequences of the merger of DOs with MDs in the state of California and the unanticipated effects on the profession's solidarity elsewhere in the United States.
  14. The US Department of Education's and the former Council on Postsecondary Accreditation's decisions to recognize AOA accreditation of medical colleges.
  15. The causes of the tremendous growth of osteopathic predoctoral education from the late 1960s through today and both the positive and negative consequences of this expansion on the osteopathic medical profession.
  16. The factors leading to and the consequences of DOs being admitted to the uniformed services as physicians and surgeons.
  17. The increasing recognition of the osteopathic medical profession by state and national governmental agencies.
  18. The role of the “financing of health-care” in changing the practice of osteopathic physicians, including its impact on both the number of osteopathic hospitals and the number of osteopathic graduate medical education programs.
  19. The role of “distinctiveness” in the current practice of osteopathic medicine with respect to defining the rationale for organizational independence.
  20. The historical development of osteopathic medical education, practice, and recognition outside the United States.
The factors that led to the beginning of osteopathic medical research are among the many topics students, interns and residents can choose from to compete in the AOA Committee on Osteopathic History and Identity's essay contest. Women like Ann E. Perry, DO (above), were among the profession's most prominent early researchers. Dr Perry worked for a time with Louisa Burns, DO, at the A. T. Still Research Institute's clinical laboratories in California.
(Photo from the AOA photo archive)
The factors that led to the beginning of osteopathic medical research are among the many topics students, interns and residents can choose from to compete in the AOA Committee on Osteopathic History and Identity's essay contest. Women like Ann E. Perry, DO (above), were among the profession's most prominent early researchers. Dr Perry worked for a time with Louisa Burns, DO, at the A. T. Still Research Institute's clinical laboratories in California.
(Photo from the AOA photo archive)