ACOI’s History Captured Thanks to Kevin Hubbard, DO, MACOI
April 27, 2023
Kevin P. Hubbard, DO, MACOI, is the name on the cover of the ACOI history book, A History of Osteopathic Internal Medicine – Celebrating the ACOI’s First 75 Years. Yet he’s not comfortable calling himself its creator.
“I really don't consider myself the author of the book. I'm more of the scribe. I was just the person who wrote down the things that had happened. The history was made by the people that the book talks about,” he says.
The project was born to hold on to the past. When it was mentioned at an ACOI Board of Directors meeting in 2004 that someone ought to write a book detailing the history of the ACOI, Dr. Hubbard’s ears perked up. There was a budding worry that as some of ACOI’s foundational members from the “old days” were passing away, and with their loss, some of the organization’s history would disappear.
Recognizing the urgency of talking to some of ACOI’s earliest members, he made it his sole responsibility to interview as many as he could. “I thought, there's an opportunity to capture this for generations because after we're all gone, who knows what the next generations are going to remember about this? If somebody doesn't capture this, it's gone forever.”
During his postgraduate training at the world-class cancer center, MD Anderson in Houston, he was asked to assist in writing a medical oncology textbook documenting the organization’s clinical trials; consequently, he was not intimidated at the thought of taking on the enormous undertaking of compiling the ACOI’s history into a book.
The most challenging part of compiling the book was factually retelling the early days of osteopathic medicine. He found a copy of the history of the Kirksville School of Osteopathic Medicine and then tracked down its author, a past librarian at the school who still worked at the college. He spent time at the Osteopathic Museum in Kirksville and the library in Kansas City gathering information. In addition, he was proud that the five original osteopathic schools, Kirksville, Kansas City, Chicago, Des Moines, and Philadelphia all contributed valuable information.
An English minor in college, Dr. Hubbard always had an interest in writing, and as the idea of a book emerged, he began to silently embrace the idea the minute it was mentioned. When he committed to taking on the project of documenting ACOI’s history, he did so with the intent of making sure it was more than just a chronicle of facts and dates.
He strived for it to be filled with human interest stories that provided inclusive snapshots of people who wanted to tell their stories. As a result, he interviewed dozens of individuals to capture what life was like for them in the profession, the challenges they faced, and how they managed the hardships of those times.
“I came away from it thinking that they were not necessarily any greater than any of us, they just faced adversity and refused to back down and quit. They stuck to the cause, and they carried the flag high. If one person fell, there were people right behind them to pick up the flag and carry it forward. We got to where we are in this profession because people just refused to quit,” he marveled. “It got me thinking that we have great people in this profession and if we all stick together, we can't lose. There's just no way.”