South Pointe is a leader in osteopathic medicine
For more than 50 years, the department of Graduate Medical Education (GME) at South Pointe Hospital has supported osteopathic residency programs and medical students in rotation.
“We are training more physicians and adding to the work force, which is important in light of the physician shortage speculated to begin by 2010,” says Program Director Nealie Houk.
Citing, among other factors, a growing population, an increasing number of elderly, a work force of physicians nearing retirement, and a growing demand for healthcare services, an article published in the AMA (American Medical Association) eVoice on March 20, 2008, encourages healthcare stakeholders to work together to address this issue. “Ensuring that the nation has a sufficient number of physicians and an appropriate geographic and specialty distribution to care for a growing number of patients is one of our most pressing needs in health care today,” writes Ronald M. Davis, MD, President of the AMA and the article’s author.
Despite dire predictions, the size of the profession has grown. Ms. Houk has seen an increase in osteopathic class sizes and the establishment of new colleges of osteopathic medicine around the country.
The discipline of osteopathic medicine, a holistic approach to healthcare with a primary care emphasis, is more than 100 years old. Physicians are trained in osteopathic manipulative treatment, which involves using the hands to diagnose, treat and prevent illness or injury.
In its 52 years, South Pointe’s osteopathic GME program has produced more than 1,000 graduates in various disciplines, including anesthesiology, family medicine/neuromuscular medicine, emergency medicine, general surgery, internal medicine/emergency medicine and orthopaedic surgery. The hospital also sponsors approved fellowship programs, including plastic and reconstructive surgery, “Plus One” neuromusculoskeletal medicine, sports medicine and vascular surgery.
South Pointe’s training programs are approved by the American Osteopathic Association, co-sponsored by the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Centers for Osteopathic Research and Education, and supported by the Brentwood Foundation.
Osteopathic physicians make up 5 to 6 percent of all practicing physicians. “The trend in specializing in primary care specialties, such as internal medicine, pediatrics and family practice, has been declining for years,” says Ms. Houk. “However, the program at South Pointe is seeing a greater interest in primary care specialties, which are a vital part of the healthcare system.”
In 2008, the Brentwood Foundation committed $5.5 million to establishing the Theodore F. Classen, DO, Chair in Osteopathic Research and Education to help further research and enhance graduate education programs in osteopathic medicine at South Pointe Hospital and at Cleveland Clinic.
"We seek opportunities to carry out our mission of promoting good care by preventing illness and promoting wellness," says Roger Classen, DO, Brentwood Foundation President. The graduate program at South Pointe is affiliated with Ohio University's College of Osteopathic Medicine.
"This gift will allow us to enrich the osteopathic medicine graduate education program and expand research in this unique area of medicine," says Fred DeGrandis, President and CEO of Cleveland Clinic's Community Hospital System.
Portions of this story originally appeared in Community Connections (the Community Benefit Report) and the Summer 2009 issue of Cleveland Clinic Magazine.
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