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AOA Communication  |   April 2008
History Bureau's Essay Competition Now Targets Five Core Principles
Author Affiliations
  • Michael Fitzgerald, BA
    Mr Fitzgerald is the director of the AOA Department of Publications.
Article Information
AOA Communication   |   April 2008
History Bureau's Essay Competition Now Targets Five Core Principles
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, April 2008, Vol. 108, 192-193. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2008.108.4.192
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, April 2008, Vol. 108, 192-193. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2008.108.4.192
To entice osteopathic medi cal students, interns, and residents to study their profession's past struggles and achievements, the American Osteopathic Association's Bureau of Osteopathic History and Identity is conducting its fourth annual history essay competition. 
As it has done since 2006, the bureau will bestow up to three awards: a $5000 first prize, a $3000 second prize, and a $2000 third prize. 
But unlike previous years, the bureau will be asking contestants to write about specific topics. 
“After judging the 2007 essays, the history bureau decided the time had come to more clearly define the parameters of the competition,” says William T. Betz, DO, MBA, who has chaired the Bureau of Osteopathic History and Identity since 2006. “As the number and quality of the essays have increased each year, it became apparent that the rules of the competition needed to mature too to enhance the competition's educational value for the contestants.” 
The most significant change that the history bureau has made to the competition is to specify that contestants focus their essays on the bureau's “Core Principles for Teaching the History of Osteopathic Medicine.” While the bureau previously allowed contestants to select any topic on the profession's history, the bureau is now offering contestants five core principles from which to select. Because the bureau has 20 core principles, it will rotate them annually so that the competition focuses on a different set of five each year. 
The five principles selected for the 2008 competition are as follows: 
  • Core Principle 4. The relations between osteopathy and conventional medicine practiced in the early period of osteopathy's growth. (In developing its core principles, the bureau used the term osteopathy to refer to the profession during the period in which most DOs practiced strictly manipulative medicine.)
  • Core Principle 8. The challenge of osteopathic medical schools to raise educational standards.
  • Core Principle 12. The reasons behind the development of the osteopathic hospital system and the importance of osteopathic hospitals in shaping osteopathic practice and identity.
  • Core Principle 15. The causes of the tremendous growth of osteopathic pre doctoral education from the late 1960s through today and both the positive and negative consequences of this expansion on the osteopathic medical profession.
  • Core Principle 20. The historical development of osteopathic medical education, practice, and recognition outside the United States.
“Because these five core principles are less conventional than many of the topics of previous essays, this year's competition should be even more intellectually stimulating for both the contestants and the essay judges,” predicts Dr Betz, who notes that the bureau modified its essay judging form to include an assessment of how well each essay supports the core principle its author selects. 
“These five principles lend themselves to in-depth and original investigation,” adds Thomas R. Czarnecki, DO, MPH, who has been the history bureau's vice chairman since 2006. “I suspect that many of this year's contestants will end up finding and studying long-forgotten documents, talking with some of the few surviving witnesses of earlier times, and producing essays that reveal previously unexplored aspects of the profession's history.” 
“In the process of immersing themselves in the profession's rich past, the contestants will be rewarded with a greater sense of what it means to be DOs and with a greater appreciation for why this profession needs to remain both distinct and united,” Dr Betz says, noting that the bureau began the essay competition in 2005 to foster career-long loyalty to the osteopathic medical profession and its institutions. 
Peer-Reviewed Judging
As in the past 3 years, this year's entries will be judged in a peer-review setting by members of the Bureau of Osteopathic History and Identity. 
Depending on the quantity and quality of the entries, the history bureau will award prizes to up to three authors. The bureau will announce the winning essays by late summer—in time for the winning authors to plan to attend the AOA's 113th Annual Convention and Scientific Seminar, which will be held October 26, 2008, through October 30, 2008, at the Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. 
In addition to honoring the winners at the AOA convention, the history bureau will encourage all contestants to submit their essays to the AOA for consideration by JAOA—The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association and The DO. The essays of those contestants who do so may end up undergoing the JAOA`s own peer-review process. 
“While the AOA is not guaranteeing that the JAOA or The DO will publish essays from the history competition, just experiencing the JAOA`s peer-review process would be rewarding for authors,” prom ises AOA Editor in Chief Gilbert E. D'Alonzo, Jr, DO. 
For examples of published award-winning essays, students, interns, and residents can read “Distinctions Between Osteopathic and Allopathic Medicine Create Competition That Drives Advancements” in The DO`s February 2008 issue (available at https://www.do-online.org/pdf/pub_do0208atwork.pdf) and “From Pulp Paper to Laptop Computer: A Reflection on Fundamental Osteopathic Principles” in The DO`s March 2007 issue (available at https://www.do-online.org/pdf/pub_do0307essay.pdf). 
During the December 8, 2007, meeting at which the American Osteopathic Association's Bureau of Osteopathic History and Identity modified the rules to its essay competition, William T. Betz, DO, MBA (left), studies an article in The DO magazine that Thomas R. Czar necki, DO, MPH, felt related to the messages in some of the entries in the bureau's 2007 essay competition. Dr Betz and Dr Czar necki have led the bureau since 2006. (Photograph by Michael Fitz gerald)
During the December 8, 2007, meeting at which the American Osteopathic Association's Bureau of Osteopathic History and Identity modified the rules to its essay competition, William T. Betz, DO, MBA (left), studies an article in The DO magazine that Thomas R. Czar necki, DO, MPH, felt related to the messages in some of the entries in the bureau's 2007 essay competition. Dr Betz and Dr Czar necki have led the bureau since 2006. (Photograph by Michael Fitz gerald)
Competition Details
The 2008 essay competition is open to all osteopathic medical students, interns, and residents. The deadline for submitting essays is Monday, June 2, 2008. 
In drafting their essays, contestants should consult the guidelines for special communication articles in the JAOA`s”Information for Contributors.” Those guidelines are available on the JAOA`s Web site at http://www.jaoa.org/misc/ifora.shtml. 
For the 2008 competition, the history bureau has set a maximum essay length of 3000 words. The word count should be noted at the beginning of each essay, as should the core principle it addresses. 
In addition, the bureau has specified that essays should be submitted as Microsoft Word documents, using 12-point Times New Roman font. 
Essays can be sent by e-mail to history@osteopathic.org. The subject line on e-mail messages should be “2008 History Essay Competition.” 
Alternatively, essays can be mailed to the Department of Publications, 2008 History Essay Competition, American Osteopathic Association, 142 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611-2864. For mailed entries, essays need to be placed on CD-ROMs or 3.5-inch floppy disks. 
Contestants with questions may call (800) 621-1773, extension 8157; send e-mail to history@osteopathic.org; or send faxes to (312) 202-8457. 
Words of Advice
The history bureau recommends that contestants seek out faculty members with publishing experience to advise them on their essays, Dr Betz notes. 
He adds that even though contestants will be writing about just one core principle, they should narrow their topic within that principle. “Your odds of writing a truly scholarly work in 3000 words will be far greater if you concentrate on a few related aspects of a principle than if you try to tackle every aspect of it,” he advises. 
“As contestants develop their essays, they should keep in mind the preamble to the bureau's core principles,” Dr Czar necki proposes. “Especially worth remembering are the following passages: `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.... 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.'” 
 This article was first published in the January 2008 issue of The DO and will be reprinted periodically in the JAOA and The DO.
 
During the December 8, 2007, meeting at which the American Osteopathic Association's Bureau of Osteopathic History and Identity modified the rules to its essay competition, William T. Betz, DO, MBA (left), studies an article in The DO magazine that Thomas R. Czar necki, DO, MPH, felt related to the messages in some of the entries in the bureau's 2007 essay competition. Dr Betz and Dr Czar necki have led the bureau since 2006. (Photograph by Michael Fitz gerald)
During the December 8, 2007, meeting at which the American Osteopathic Association's Bureau of Osteopathic History and Identity modified the rules to its essay competition, William T. Betz, DO, MBA (left), studies an article in The DO magazine that Thomas R. Czar necki, DO, MPH, felt related to the messages in some of the entries in the bureau's 2007 essay competition. Dr Betz and Dr Czar necki have led the bureau since 2006. (Photograph by Michael Fitz gerald)