G. Bradley Klock, D.O.’81, FAAO, has constructed a holistic osteopathic medical career, one could say. He has provided inpatient and outpatient care, taught hundreds of students, provided institutional leadership, authored publications and presentations, and served in leadership positions in the American Academy of Osteopathy (AAO) and other organizations. Which of these endeavors has he found most meaningful?
“I can’t answer that question in a few words,” he says. “I want to say teaching, and I think that would be correct. But being knowledgeable about how medicine works, from practice to policy to administration to finance, has been very important to me.”
The AAO honored Klock for acting on those values by awarding him the 2018 Andrew Taylor Still Medallion of Honor, the highest award given by the academy. It recognizes members who have demonstrated an exceptional understanding and application of osteopathic principles and concepts as well as other accomplishments in scientific or professional affairs.
While Klock expressed surprise at receiving the honor – “There are so many individuals who are strong candidates,” he says – others view it as well deserved.
“Dr. Klock was a classmate of mine at DMU, and we had the privilege of participating in the OMM teaching fellowship program under the mentorship of Drs. Bernard TePoorten and Gordon Zink,” says Boyd Buser, D.O.’81, FACOFP dist., immediate past president of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and vice president for health affairs and dean of the University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine. Those two doctors were giants in osteopathic manual medicine and highly influential in the two classmates’ careers.
“Brad has been steadfastly devoted to the principles and philosophy of osteopathic medicine throughout his career, both as a clinician and an educator,” Buser adds. “He has rendered outstanding service to the American Academy of Osteopathy for many years and is richly deserving of their most prestigious award.”
Klock was an OMM fellow at DMU and then completed a rotating osteopathic internship at Tucson General Osteopathic Hospital. He returned to DMU to serve as associate professor in the OMM department from 1982 to 1984. He recalls, “I woke up one morning and thought, ‘I really don’t have enough first-hand medical experience to teach.’”
He left DMU in 1984 and became chair of the OMM department at Phoenix General Hospital in Arizona. In that role, he provided inpatient and outpatient care, coordinated patient care across specialties and taught students, interns and residents. After another 17 years in private practice, he returned to DMU as chair of the OMM department until he retired in 2016.
“Dr. Brad Klock has been the most influential person and mentor of my professional career,” says Kate Heineman, D.O.’09. Now chair of DMU’s OMM department and assistant professor, she had been selected for the University’s OMM fellowship in 2007 when Klock arrived as department chair; later, after she completed residency, he encouraged her to return to DMU as a faculty member. “Through the fellowship program, I was able to spend months of one-on-one time with him seeing patients and helping treat them. His unique approach to osteopathic manipulation opened my eyes to a whole other world of osteopathic treatment and philosophy.”
Heineman praises Klock’s commitment to continually honing his skills. “This was an important message to pass to his students that they, too, must be committed to lifelong learning,” she says. “He taught the importance of giving back to the osteopathic profession, to one’s alma mater, to the community at large, to friends and nearly all those he interacted with. Those characteristics always left a strong impact on me, and he provided an excellent example for me to emulate in my own career. I am certain he changed many thousands of lives through his career with his osteopathic approach.”
Klock has served the AAO and other professional organizations in leadership positions, including as member and chair of the academy’s investment committee and committee on fellowship. He has lectured extensively at local, state, national and international venues and produced multiple scholarship publications. He’s recognized by his peers as one of the most prolific clinical experts of counterstrain.
“I have always felt osteopathic medicine is the best medicine, and I wanted our students to graduate with this understanding. Manipulation is not about fixing backs. The primary objective has always been to promote and maintain health,” he says. “Another goal was to do my part to ensure that our students, especially our fellows, take their place as leaders in our profession.
“One of the most therapeutic effects of OMM is the communication that takes place while you’re using your hands – you’re getting to know the patient,” he adds. “That really gives you insights you don’t get any other way.”
Klock and his wife, Carol, are now back in Arizona, enjoying their retirement.