Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine Scholars Gain Hands-On Experience and Earn Applied Master’s in Osteopathic Education Degree Through Scholarship Program

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October 31, 2022 | Glendale, AZ

The Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) Scholarship Program provides participating Scholars with the opportunity to extend their training an additional year to focus solely on teaching, education, and OMM techniques to help prepare them for the possibility of working in academic settings in the future. This fifth year is situated between the typical Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine (AZCOM) third and fourth year. During this time, OMM Scholars get both didactic and hands-on classroom experiences, as well as longitudinal outpatient osteopathic experiential training. Additionally, students also earn an Applied Master’s in Osteopathic Education degree concurrently with their Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree.

We spoke with the three OMM Scholars on the Glendale Campus completing this dual-degree track about their experiences, and how they plan on implementing these newfound skills in their future practice.

Why did you decide to become an Osteopathic Manual Manipulation (OMM) Scholar?

Justin Blankenbaker (AZCOM ’24) OMM Scholar:

As a lifelong martial artist and a Taekwondo instructor of many years, I’ve seen the benefits of manual medicine when used to help treat injuries, and have even had it done on myself for injuries in the past! The amount of relief it provided me was tremendous, and I knew heading into medical school that I wanted to get the most out of the OMM portion of my osteopathic education. When I interviewed at AZCOM and learned what the OMM Scholar program was, I set the goal of wanting to become a Scholar. Later, when it was finally time to apply for the scholarship, there wasn’t even a second thought in my mind, given how much more appreciation for OMM I had gained over the past two years. Additionally, as someone with a background in martial arts education, I have always enjoyed teaching, and saw this as a great opportunity to become involved in medical education while furthering the osteopathic profession.

Dylan Hampel (AZCOM ’24) OMM Scholar:

I applied to be an OMM Scholar because for me, the ability to ease suffering and improve a patient’s journey through hands-on treatments is seriously fascinating. In this position, I have the unique privilege to pursue my own understanding of OMM techniques, all while investing in the skills of the next generation of osteopathic physicians.

Ryan Orlando (AZCOM ’24) OMM Scholar:

I applied to become an OMM Scholar because I am passionate about the philosophy and principles of osteopathic medicine, and I am interested in pursuing academic medicine in my future career as an osteopathic physician. The OMM Scholar Program is an excellent educational and leadership track to develop my teaching skills and solidify my understanding and practical skills in OMM.

In your words, what characteristics or attributes does it take to be a successful OMM Scholar?

Mr. Blankenbaker:

When it comes to being an OMM Scholar, multiple characteristics and attributes help with being successful. The first, and probably most important, is time management. Not only are we on our OMS-III rotations like a normal third-year medical student, but we are also present every Wednesday from 7:30am-5:00pm to table train at lab stations and teach specific OMM labs to the OMS-I and OMS-II students. It’s like having a part-time job on top of medical school—complete with its own responsibilities, like prepping for the lab you are set to teach, working with the student and faculty table trainers to brief them before the labs, assisting in open lab, and many other things, including our individual roles within the Department of Osteopathic Family and Community Medicine. All of this, along with coursework for the master’s courses as part of the Scholar program, makes effective time management essential.

Additionally, approachability, passion for medicine in general (and OMM specifically) and a love for helping others are key attributes of a great Scholar! I love to learn from someone approachable and enthusiastic about teaching a topic compared to someone who isn’t, since an enthusiastic and approachable educator will want to see you succeed and help you get there. Lastly, professionalism is important since we are representatives of AZCOM and Midwestern University at conferences, on rotations, and every Wednesday when we teach.

Mr. Hampel:
To be a successful OMM Scholar, one must be an enthusiastic teacher, a patient learner, and a dutiful servant to others. However, the most important trait is to be committed to passing on OMM techniques and principles in a manner which both maintains the integrity of the treatment, and, in equal measure, aims to innovate and improve OMM implementation and understanding in the medical community.

Mr. Orlando:

A successful OMM scholar is hard-working, ever-learning, and strives for excellence in the work they do. Passion for the subject of OMM is necessary to push through the busy seasons that come with the scholarship. The ability to work well in a team is crucial, as we are a group of nine students that work closely each week to provide excellent learning experiences for the medical students we teach.

How do you envision implementing OMM into your D.O. career?

Mr. Blankenbaker:

I envision implementing OMM into my future osteopathic medical career by using it whenever I can with patients. I’ve already had ample opportunity my first few rotations of my third-year to perform OMM on patients, and in every instance the patient has felt significant relief following treatment. I can’t wait to utilize it on the rest of my rotations and beyond! Regardless of what specialty I ultimately decide to apply to, there will always be an opportunity to utilize my skill set as an osteopathic physician for the betterment of my patients.

Additionally, the skills in leadership and medical education that I am gaining from the OMM Scholarship Program will serve me well in any specialty, and ultimately help me reach my goal of being involved in medical education and leadership after residency. By earning the Applied Master’s Degree in Osteopathic Education as a Scholar, I will be well-positioned to succeed in my medical career, and to be the best osteopathic physician and educator I can be for my community.

Mr. Hampel:

While I’m not entirely sure which specialty I will find myself in, my deeply practiced repertoire of treatments, combined with fine-tuned palpatory diagnostic skills, will help me make the most of every opportunity to create the best treatments that I can for my future patients.

Mr. Orlando:

Implementing OMM in my future practice is very important to me. I intend to practice family medicine and incorporate OMM into my patient visits through scheduling OMM-specific visits, and always keeping my OMM skills in mind as I develop treatment plans for my patients. I hope to become a family medicine physician whose patients leave my office after each visit feeling better. OMM is an incredible skill I plan to use to accomplish this.