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Letters to the Editor  |   January 2009
Intent to “Teach” and Pay to Play in Osteopathic Medical Education?
Author Affiliations
  • Paul G. Kleman, DO
    West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine Lewisburg♦
    Professor Emeritus
Article Information
Medical Education
Letters to the Editor   |   January 2009
Intent to “Teach” and Pay to Play in Osteopathic Medical Education?
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, January 2009, Vol. 109, 62. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2009.109.1.62
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, January 2009, Vol. 109, 62. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2009.109.1.62
To the Editor:  
What is happening to my profession? 
Have our educators in the colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs) caught the “modern medicine bug”—teaching that osteopathic physicians should base patient treatment on the use of “magic” machines and a pill for every problem? 
After many years as an osteopathic medical educator, I shudder when I overhear first- and second-year students ask each other, “What specialty are you going into?” 
Likewise, I remain surprised to hear our graduates sigh, “OMT [osteopathic manipulative treatment]...I just don't have time for it.” An osteopathic physician even recently said to my daughter in Georgia, “Manipulation? They showed us that in school, but I don't use it.” 
While attending an “osteopathic” continuing medical education program last year, I was mortified to realize that during the first 8 hours of lectures, only one speaker mentioned OMT. It was gratifying, however, to hear that internist also say that he is a member of the American Academy of Osteopathy. 
It is apparent that some osteopathic medical students have no interest in manipulation and do not intend to use it in practice. However, isn't this exactly why COMs have committees to interview prospective students? It is beyond my ken why students who have no interest in manual treatment apply to osteopathic medical schools in the first place—and why we accept them. 
Our COMs are clearly benefiting from increases in tuition and class size, and they are producing more and more graduates. Yet, perhaps we should ask if this growth is diluting our unique mission in healthcare—and, in fact, endangering the future of the osteopathic medical profession. When will we realize that our profession's phenomenal growth has been the result of our difference from our allopathic counterparts rather than a result of copying their methods? 
My first contact with the profession was in 1955, after my service in the United States Marine Corps. Today, 54 years later, I still feel that ours is the complete healing arts profession, and I pray that we do not give it away in a mistaken effort to become “real doctors.”