More than a year ago, Cameron Slife and Emily Willmann, members of the DMU osteopathic medical Class of 2022, successfully pitched a proposal to the national Student Osteopathic Surgery Association (SOSA) for the University to host the spring 2020 national SOSA conference. They formed a campus committee that met monthly and then weekly, with Slife and Willmann – DMU’s SOSA chapter president and vice president, respectively – meeting daily during the weeks leading up to the event, held Feb. 28 to March 1.
“The time leading up to the event was full of anxiety and stress, but as the conference started to unfold without any problems, it really allowed us to sit back and enjoy the event,” Slife says.
Approximately 150 students from 25 osteopathic medical schools attended the conference, which featured a welcome and presentation on the osteopathic/allopathic residency merger by Larry Armstrong, D.O, FACOS, FACS, president of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons; research poster presentations; and tracks on various types of surgery. Conference attendees got to use the da Vinci surgical system, in which surgeons perform surgery with instruments they guide via a console. Students also enjoyed an “Operations” game tournament.
“As an osteopathic school known for great primary care medical education, hosting a national surgery conference was a unique opportunity for DMU to expand into a field that is under-represented by osteopaths,” Slife says. “DMU was in a great position as well due to our surgery department, which does an amazing job at teaching students various procedures that will be used in almost any medical specialty. Having students come from all over the country to learn skills and procedures from prominent surgeons adds to the reputation that DMU has of preparing students well for a variety of specialties.”