ACOI - American College of Osteopathic Internists

American College of Osteopathic Internists

Letter From Dr. Burke

Osteopathic Internal Medicine - Stronger Together

I wish a happy and safe holiday season to all of you and your families!

A key value of the ACOI is the part of our mission that supports Osteopathic Internal Medicine. We get it. The ACOI fulfills this mission mainly through you, our members. The core of the mission is attainable only by what you collectively do every day in your clinical lives as osteopathic internal medicine physicians. We are stronger together, especially as we transform the ACOI from a residency quality and accrediting association to a professional services organization that espouses osteopathic internal medicine values. You do not have to be an osteopathic physician to practice Osteopathic Internal Medicine (OIM).  The ACOI is internists first and foremost, whether our interests are ambulatory, hospital or subspecialty-based. We are all in on treating the whole patient during personal/professional interactions. This has been “inSTILLed” in us during our training. It has been and remains a huge asset.  

The style and content of osteopathic education has been expanded and perpetuated by the ACOI over the last 76 years. There is a strong and organized heart to our patient care philosophy and training, but it is at risk if we do not stand strongly for its future. The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) is a huge internal medicine certifying body that I believe to be a large contributor to the demoralization and inappropriate vision of a physician class as an aggregate. The ABIM is no friend of Osteopathic Internal Medicine as its recent policy affecting program director certification confirms. The ACOI will do our utmost to stand strong for our Osteopathic Internal Medicine Program Directors and their osteopathic certification.  The ACOI Board of Directors is working to maintain a voice for our OIM traditions, which in large part have been made possible by strong, talented program directors and the membership.
AOBIM Certification/Re-Certification
Osteopathic physicians are not historically conformists and this has been and remains a huge asset. But the profession can be conformist at times as the recent AOA re-certification (OCC) process proves. It has been modeled closely on the maintenance of certification process adopted by our MD brethren. Historically, the ACOI has had a strong, arm’s-length partnership with AOBIM. Our role has been to craft the residency training requirements and curriculum and work with the AOBIM to assure that the certifying examinations test to the requirements. The ACOI does not, and never has, overseen the AOBIM. The AOBIM has been, and continues to be, part of the AOA. We work with the AOA and AOBIM for the benefit of our members and training programs. This long-standing relationship has been valuable to our members, who constitute 75% of the certified AOBIM Diplomates today.
Despite our strong relations, the re-certifying process still doesn’t feel right. In my own case, I recently completed two high stakes examinations (Cardiology and Electrophysiology) for the third time. My first re-certs didn’t bother me as much as the recent ones. I’m older now and was the oldest tester in the center by 20 years, and I realized that there exists no other profession in the world that will make a doctor with 30 years of experience take a multiple choice test. The reasons that they do not are too many to elaborate on here.  
The ACOI will continue to advocate for our members and future osteopathic internists for a certification process that benefits your patients and your own well-being. We need to stay together and be more proactive to create recertification that respects our experience and devotion, and is not a constant time sink and wallet biopsy.
Pending implementation of the inordinately slow changes to the AOA’s re-cert process, please be patient, especially as things seem to morph every six months. Stay focused on the current requirements and fulfill them. Invest in the ACOI’s OCC medical knowledge modules, which meet the AOBIM’s current requirements for specialty CME, and will continue to do so in the future.

CME with special focus on members’ needs, wishes and interests is an important service that the ACOI provides. As OIM has developed into roughly 50% general medicine and 50% subspecialty practice, the ACOI has endeavored to provide education activities that accommodate the broad membership interests. As the evaluations of our recent convention and other meetings attest, we are succeeding more consistently in providing education products that can truly be defined as Osteopathic!

It is exciting that we are shifting from being primarily a live meeting, destination CME organization to one that offers more web-based learning opportunities. The OCC modules were our first experiment in this direction. They have been very well received for their ease of use and relevant content. In 2018, we will launch an on-line Learning Management System that will provide expanded CME opportunities accessible in convenient mobile formats. These education activities will be available to DO and MD internists, alike, and will provide AOA and AMA PRA credit. It is our hope that our core members will find these valuable and support them. This is an area in which we are making significant infrastructure upgrades and financial investment.

75th Anniversary Campaign
The ACOI is concluding the 75th Anniversary Campaign at the end of this month.  Please find some time to donate and make our first campaign a resounding success. The Campaign is designed to promote ACGME Osteopathic Recognition for our IM and subspecialty training programs, and fund the expanded CME options noted above. Further information about the success of the Campaign to date can be found elsewhere in this month’s ACOI newsletter.
In closing this month, it is a privilege for me to be a member of the ACOI for its family atmosphere and devotion to a philosophy of OIM.  We all know the special force in our offices that is a result of our training. Please allow the ACOI to collect your individual force by staying Stronger Together through collegiality, osteopathic recognition and progressive, appropriate OIM (It’s kind of schmaltzy, but hopefully the new Star Wars movie demonstrates some parallels as we navigate the transition with the ACGME).


Martin C. Burke, DO, FACOI