COM Week events focus on residencies, spirituality, fasting

During WVSOM’s Celebrate Osteopathic Medicine (COM) Week, the school hosted events dealing with a variety of aspects of osteopathic medicine.

Family medicine physician David Oram, M.D., of Toledo, Ohio; family medicine and sports medicine physician Jacklyn Kiefer, D.O., of Indianapolis; and WVSOM Class of 2016 alumnus Marshall Ochi, D.O., gave a presentation on Feb. 25 titled “Preserving Osteopathic Uniqueness as Residencies Merge.” The speakers answered medical students’ questions regarding changes brought about by the agreement between the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education that allows D.O.s and M.D.s to compete for the same residencies.

Kiefer detailed what osteopathic recognition requires of a residency program and said it’s important for D.O.s to integrate osteopathic training into their day-to-day practices from the start.

“When you figure out how to use these skills during your residency, it translates into being able to use osteopathic medicine in your future,” she said.

Oram noted that M.D.s can benefit from being aware of when a referral to an osteopathic physician is appropriate. “We want them to be able to use their osteopathic colleagues to their patients’ advantage” he said.

On Feb. 28, WVSOM’s Dr. Bob Foster and Dr. Charles McClung hosted a dinner and presentation titled “Spirituality and Osteopathic Medicine” that explored the relevance of the “body, mind and spirit” connection set forth in the first tenet of the osteopathic philosophy. Members of the public attended the event alongside WVSOM faculty, staff and students.

“Research shows that most people want their spirituality addressed in medicine, but they’re afraid to bring it up because they don’t know whether doctors are open to it,” Foster said. “We want students to become physicians who can help people with that side of their nature.”

The school’s Medical Muslim Student Association (MMSA) hosted a Fast-a-Thon on March 1. Community members were asked to commit to a day of fasting and invited to a “break the fast” meal and presentation featuring visiting speaker Mohammed Pervaiz, of Virginia Tech, on fasting in the Islamic faith tradition, as well as reflections from Foster and WVSOM faculty member Dr. Imaan Benmerzouga and a Q&A session with a student panel.

The event raised $773 for West Virginia’s Right From the Start program through donations collected at the door and pledges by those who participated in fasting.

Samira Ibrahim, president of the school’s MMSA chapter, said that going without food is a way to connect with forces outside of bodily desires, and that the practice can be useful for future medical professionals.

“Fasting helps us establish a metaphysical paradigm that gives life to our work as medical students,” Ibrahim said. “When we fast, we make sacrifices in order to serve and love our creator, the same way we will come to know our future patients.”

Lewisburg Mayor John Manchester signed a proclamation declaring Feb. 24-March 2, 2019, to be Celebrate Osteopathic Medicine Week in the city.

Date Added: 
Wednesday, March 13, 2019