DMU’s OMM Fellows land top research award

DMU’s osteopathic manual medicine (OMM) Fellows complete a 12-month experience divided nearly equally in clinical and academic duties. They spend time with attendings in the University’s on-campus OMM Clinic in the mornings and then, in the afternoons, primarily teach in OMM lectures and labs and proctor practical exams, among other duties. And this March, the four OMM Fellows received first place in the Louisa Burns Osteopathic Research Forum for original research by a college of osteopathic medicine at the American Academy of Osteopathy (AAO) Convocation in Orlando, FL.

Kate Heineman,D.O., with OMM Fellows Erika Kolakowski, Kody Kasten, Anna Johnson and Samantha Tyler at the AAO Convocation

OMM Fellows Samantha Tyler, Anna Johnson, Kody Kasten and Erika Kolakowski won with their poster, “The Immediate, Intermediate, and Long-Term Effects of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment on Pulmonary Function in Adults with Asthma.”

“In our research, we observed increases in both objective spirometry results and subjective quality of life survey results,” Samantha says. “We are really excited by the results and encouraged that the judges were, too.”

In addition, Anna Johnson received fifth place in the A. Hollis Wolf Osteopathic Case Presentation at the AAO Convocation. Her timed case presentation was titled “Psoas and Dyspnea: How OMM Discovered an Unexpected Correlation.”

“I learned a lot about word choice and presenting information in an efficient and effective manner,” she says. “It was really fun and also an opportunity to spread the joy of osteopathy.”

Kate Heineman, D.O., chair and assistant professor of DMU’s Osteopathic Manual Medicine Department, says the University’s OMM Fellowship program has been “running strong” since its initial members graduated in 1977. Four students are selected annually for the program based on their OMM skills.

“Most of our candidates choose to pursue the OMM Fellowship experience because they want to further develop their understanding of osteopathic principles and practice and their clinical skills with osteopathic manipulative treatment,” she says. “We feel we are building leaders in their chosen fields and in the entire profession.

“There is no doubt that the OMM Fellowship year helps to develop future physicians who have a strengthened commitment to our distinct osteopathic heritage,” Dr. Heineman adds. “They never forget the OMM Fellowship experience and are better for it, particularly with their enhanced patient care skills and the significantly increased confidence in their teaching skills.”

She notes that several DMU OMM Fellows have gone on to become leaders in their fields and the entire profession. They include Boyd Buser, D.O., past president of the American Osteopathic Association; Michael Rowane, D.O., past AAO president; and several AAO Fellows, OMM department chairs and textbook authors.

Board-certified in neuromusculoskeletal medicine/osteopathic manipulative medicine, Dr. Heineman herself is a former DMU OMM Fellow.

“It is a very rewarding experience for the OMM faculty as we are able to closely mentor this small group of future physicians who get to thoroughly immerse themselves in osteopathic principles and practice,” she says. “We get to be involved in a large role in their journeys.”

Interacting with the OMM faculty is just one benefit of the Fellowship, says Samantha Tyler. “I really believed that my education at DMU would not have been complete without learning as much as I could from each of the faculty in the OMM Department,” she says. “I also have a huge passion for osteopathic medicine and hope to inspire first- and second-year students to share that passion and use it in their future practice, as all D.O.s should.”