Osteopathic internal medicine is sacred to me. The ACOI exists to protect osteopathic internal medicine through its members and member-led Board of Directors. Whether you know it or not, it is sacred to you too. The legacy of osteopathic internists over the last 76 years has been steady and effective striving to make our patients well. The history of our style of medicine is remarkably colorful. The ACOI has grown exponentially in the last 10 years by setting standards for graduate medical education that have been most appealing to osteopathic medical school graduates. Our grassroots outreach to osteopathic medical students has added to the family. But now, ironically, the very growth and appeal that we enjoy is threatened by the single accreditation system for GME.
While the ACGME understands the value of osteopathic internal medicine as well as the OPTI concept based in primary care, our IM programs are struggling to organize around Osteopathic Recognition. More effort must be placed on Osteopathic Recognition! The time is now.
The ACOI is engaged in a full court press devoting great resources to insure that the IM residencies and fellowships that we have cultivated for 76 years remain OSTEOPATHIC in culture and educational excellence. The Board has defined the distinction of osteopathic recognition with all the tenets of A.T. Still preserved. We need all hands on deck to maintain our previously-AOA accredited IM programs as distinctively osteopathic. Then we can expand to traditionally non-osteopathic programs. The ACGME also wants this to happen as they realize the value of the osteopathic philosophy and educational continuity. I wish to enlist any energy and passion that you can spare to voice your support for Osteopathic Recognition, Practices and Principles in your local training programs. Please contact Don Nelinson, PhD in the ACOI office, or visit the ACOI website (www.acoi.org) for tools, tips and tricks.
The ACOI is clear that leadership in healthcare resides in and defines our profession. You as physicians provide more leadership skills in a single patient encounter than any other part of our healthcare system may hope to provide. We need to cultivate and promote this fact more. Physician leadership is critical for patient care, promoting wellness, enhancing the doctor-patient relationship, and identifying new methods of care that improve outcomes. This is a powerful message that finds its time by creating a positive, fact-based campaign that clearly presents the very best results of relying on a professional class of doctors. I am in awe of what you do each day in your professional lives and believe that we need to cough up our humble pie and begin the process of marketing our true value to the American people. This is critical to our wellness and the preservation of our profession.
The ACOI has created a taskforce led by Dr. Annette Carron, ACOI President-Elect, to address the impact on the wellness of our members of an adversarial workplace that imposes 24/7 pressure. The perpetual, nonstop changes and piling on of useless duties in our daily care of patients has to be managed into submission. The situation is untenable and is, in part, linked to our regaining leadership in health and care for all, including ourselves. Discussions have centered on time management agreements that preserve the private lives of doctors who are dogged by constant access and who have no support to limit it. In kind, we are investigating the value of creating systems for our members to control patient outcome data and lead the definition of quality. Through the year, I will be communicating the taskforce’s progress as they work toward solutions for our members and their families.
Transforming the ACOI
The ACOI is transforming into a professional services organization that provides support to maintain osteopathic recognition, high-end continuing medical education (both destination and cloud-based), and advocacy for our members in wellness and leadership that extends beyond our previous efforts. The transformation is occurring as we respond to the loss of our training program oversight duties. We are helping our residency programs apply for osteopathic recognition, expanding our CME accreditation beyond the AOA to the ACCME, as well as creating osteopathic educational content online that will be appealing to our members of all ages and experience. This requires more resources than member dues can provide, so the Board approved the 75th Anniversary Campaign to raise a million dollars to fund the transformation and its initiatives. We need your help to further the future of osteopathic internal medicine and finish the transformation. There has never been a better time for the College but the future of the College is in our hands. Please consider giving to the Campaign as the entire Board, past presidents and too many members to mention here already have contributed. The ACOI, osteopathic internal medicine and our profession have never been stronger. Now is the time to double down and invest in our transformation to sustain what all of us think is the best way to practice medicine.
Martin C. Burke, DO, FACOI