“I chose DMU because of the OMM department here. I knew it was the oldest osteopathic school in the nation,” she says. “I applied for the fellowship because I wanted to improve my skills and work with the faculty. I’ve always loved teaching, and that’s part of spreading the word. Part of our job is to emphasize the value of OMM and how physicians can utilize it to be beneficial in their practices.”
With OMM, osteopathic physicians use their hands to diagnose, treat and prevent illness or injury by moving patients’ muscles. The treatment can help people of all ages and backgrounds with a wide variety of conditions, including pain, mobility problems, sinus disorders and more.
As an OMM fellow, Bedi teaches the technique to first- and second-year osteopathic students and sees patients in the DMU Clinic. In the past year, she also conducted research in which she surveyed and compared OMM fellowship programs across the country. A poster she presented on her research won the Ram’s Head Trophy for first place in the education and public health category of the Louisa Burns Osteopathic Research Committee and the National Undergraduate Fellowship Association’s student research poster competition at this year’s American Academy of Osteopathy (AAO) Convocation in Dallas in March.
Bedi produced the poster with mentor Drew Lewis, D.O., FAAO, FNAOME, FAOCPMR, FAAPMR, associate professor of OMM at DMU, and with assistance of Chunfa Jie, Ph.D., an associate professor and biostatistician at the University.
For her poster, titled “A Survey of Predoctoral Osteopathic Manual Medicine (OMM) Fellowships,” Bedi contacted the 24 colleges of osteopathic medicine with these programs. Twenty-one colleges responded to her 10 questions about the duties of their fellows, allocation of time toward their duties, financial compensation and the impact of the fellowship on their medical education. She also spoke with at least one fellow at each of the 21 programs. While all the programs require fellows to spend an additional year in undergraduate medical training, they varied in timeline structure and financial compensation, from $40,000 to $165,500.
In addition, Bedi found great variation in the specific roles and duties of the fellows in teaching, research and clinical practice. Approximately 51 percent of fellows’ time was devoted to teaching. Improved confidence in teaching skills was associated with either improved clinical skills or improved research skills. However, Bedi stated on the poster that “additional studies” would be required to determine whether improved teaching confidence “was due to the amount of time dedicated to teaching or other aspects of the training.”
While her research focused on comparing the fellowship programs and not on evaluating their value, Bedi doesn’t need proof of the latter.
“At the AAO Convocation, they talked about how OMM fellows are leaders in their field. We have a trend of creating leaders in osteopathic medicine,” she says.