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This blog is written by Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (MAOPS) team members, with special guest blog entries provided by members. To submit a guest blog entry, email Thank you!


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Road Trip 2014

Posted By Holly A. Koofer-Thompson, Monday, August 18, 2014

How Disconnecting from Devices Can Reconnect and Recharge Our Lives

By Brian Bowles, MAOPS Executive Director

I recently returned from a family vacation in the mountains of Colorado. Chris and I packed up the camper and kids with the intention of leaving the hustle and bustle of our normal lives behind for a while. Before we left, we told the kids the bad news: no electronic devices except between the hours of 8 - 9 p.m. each night; just enough time to say “hi” to friends and let them know they were still alive. We received the expected grumbles, but once they realized we wouldn’t budge, they settled in and dealt with it. It turned out that even if they had wanted to use their phones, they couldn’t have, because we were without cell or internet service where we were camping. It was impossible for Chris or I to check our work email or communicate with the office! It turned out to not only be great for the kids, but it was rejuvenating for us as well. We got to completely unwind for an entire week!

I always spend a lot of time planning our vacations. I don’t want to get somewhere and spend all my time looking for things to do and then battle it out between the six of us for what we’ll actually do. So, we had our trip planned out before we left our driveway, down to where we’d eat dinner and at what time! I have always enjoyed the planning component as much as the trip itself.

A study in 2010 from the Netherlands showed that a large boost in “happiness” actually occurs in the simple act of planning a vacation. The study showed the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks prior to the event. That effect quickly dropped back to normal after the vacation ended, often BEFORE the vacation had ended. The study concluded that one derives most of their happiness from the anticipation of the trip, not the actual trip itself!

I can relate wholeheartedly to this as I have, on several occasions, tediously planned a trip only to have to cancel it for some unforeseen reason. Just last year, I meticulously planned a hiking trip to Colorado and had to turn around halfway there, because my destination had just been devastated by a flash flood making access impossible. Rather than mope and pout, I found myself simply saying, “Oh well, maybe next year.” My kids experience this with school. They are happiest just before school lets out when they are full of anticipation and ideas for the summer. But, by about the end of July, they start getting grumpy. This may be from boredom, but more likely it is from the thought of having to go back to school in a few weeks.

Many nations (in fact most industrialized nations) have a national paid time off policy. I am not advocating government control over this aspect of our lives! Most companies in the United States allow for some paid time off. According to Derek Thompson in The Atlantic (2012), Americans don’t use the time they have, with over 57 percent of us having up to two weeks of unused vacation time!

My point in this ramble is this: Everyone needs time away from the daily grind, especially physicians who often feel the weight of the world on their shoulders. I have heard physicians say that they are so busy after they return from a vacation, that it almost isn’t worth going in the first place. To solve this problem, perhaps we all should consider taking multiple shorter vacations during the year. If the planning of a vacation boosts happiness more than the actual vacation, this makes total sense. Spread that joy out over five or six long weekends. Plan and anticipate several short vacations and maybe set a big, “once in a lifetime” event out a few years on your schedule so you can enjoy the planning and anticipation over a longer time. At a minimum, take some time off work…completely! It will help refresh you and make you more productive when you return to  work. Just make sure that whatever you do, you go “off-grid” and truly get away from the grind. You’ll survive and so will your work. Trust me!

Speaking of happiness-boosting once-in-a-lifetime experiences, have you heard about MAOPS first-ever Alaskan CME cruise? It’s going to be a family-friendly vacation and educational event like none other – with opportunities to unwind with your family, friends and colleagues; explore the beautiful Alaskan landscape and culture; enjoy excursions, including:  a float plane ride, halibut or salmon fishing adventure, zip-lining and many others; and of course, earn continuing medical education credit! Space is limited, so make your reservation today. Click here to learn more.

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Fueling the Future of the Profession: Insight from a Rookie AOA Delegate

Posted By Holly A. Koofer-Thompson, Wednesday, August 13, 2014

By Elizabeth Lucore, D.O., MPH
(Inquiries to contact Dr. Lucore can be sent to

Most people don’t like meetings. Especially doctors, because we’d rather be doing something. But knowing that meaningful discussion often leads to meaningful action, I decided to attend my first MAOPS meeting several years ago during residency. Here was a group of osteopathic physicians trying not only to better themselves through CME and resources provided by their professional organization, but they were trying to fix the system to improve patient care! This was a meeting that did something. I was hooked. Over the next three years, I became active in MAOPS as work and family allowed, and I have enjoyed the new friendships, meaningful CME and opportunities to be an advocate for my patients and osteopathy in my own small way.

So, it was as a relative newcomer that I attended the 2014 AOA annual House of Delegates meeting this summer. As a first-time member of the MAOPS delegation, elected at our annual state meeting, I was honored to be “seated” as a voting delegate at a time when several interesting and pivotal resolutions were decided. Many thanks to the MAOPS community for its financial support to me and to all of our delegates.

While the process is very similar to the Missouri House of Delegates, with resolutions to review in committee prior to the final discussion and voting, the scale was obviously much weightier. Decisions made here would direct the AOA leadership team, who no longer appeared as still photos of boring old white guys on my complimentary copy of the AOA magazine that I received during my early years at Des Moines COM. Rather, they are a diverse group of living breathing people, men and women of many ages, who joined in a flash mob of med students, spoke with passion about their love of osteopathy, cried openly with the emotion involved in the crafting of resolutions that would impact our profession for generations and rejoiced at the honor of leading the organization that represents such a fine profession. I have always been a proud D.O., but seeing this House of Delegates at work only served to water the seed.

By now, you’ve already heard the outcomes of this conference. Single GME system negotiations will continue resulting in big changes for all, e-cigarettes are not advised for minors, etc.  Debate was intense at times, with both sides of the issue expressing votes of confidence in AOA leadership, as well as concerns about possible downsides in the future. As a young physician in practice, it was so unique to listen across the spectrum:  the naive wonderment of residents making real plans for their future (I say this with love, having been there not too long ago) and time-worn opinions of senior D.O.s who could narrate our collective history, including chapters on the California “d.o.” fiasco and death of osteopathic hospitals. At its heart, the discussion seemed to circle around the deep-seeded and eternal question, “Will the spirit of osteopathy survive this change?”

My personal highlights involved the great discussions around these issues, but also included items that weren’t a part of Brian’s Facebook posts. I gave unofficial greetings from MAOPS to the Kansas delegation, my home state. I rose with the MAOPS delegation to give a standing ovation as Brian Bowles, Lee Parks, D.O., and Henry Petry, D.O., accepted the STAR Award on behalf of MAOPS for the organizational advances and hard work accomplished this year. (P.S. This did not seem like eighth grade graduation when everyone in my rural school grade won an award. Only three are awarded annually.) I walked through busy Chicago streets with fellow Missouri delegates after our caucus meeting/dinner each night, chatting about work and travel and making new connections. I sat by the Missouri placard in the grand meeting hall, watching Pennsylvania and Florida delegates milling about in their matching monogramed shirts, and I waved to the lone delegate from Hawaii in his aloha shirt and sandals, all the while feeling very happy to be right where I was.

In short, I enjoyed attending the national meeting and would encourage others to consider it. I was honored to cast my votes as a representative for the Ozark District of MAOPS. I think the more MAOPS members from all districts that attend will only serve to increase involvement at the state and district level. As a state organization, I would challenge MAOPS to send at least one new delegates each year. I felt an enjoyable sense of connectedness there in respectful discussion, osteopathic hugs shared in greetings and in the unified desire to continue the hard work that was begun by A. T. Still so long ago. I believe the spirit of osteopathy is stronger than ever, as we continue to allow structure to follow function.

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2014 Annual AOA Business Meeting

Posted By Holly A. Koofer-Thompson, Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Vote to Unify GME Accreditation System Will Help Secure Future Generations of Physicians

By Lee Parks, D.O., MAOPS President

Dear MAOPS Members,

After a monumental amount of work by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Board, the House itself and a special reference committee, agreement was finally reached to accept the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the allopathic and osteopathic professions to continue working on the five-year unified program for resident matches. Delegates representing the nation’s more than 104,000 osteopathic physicians (D.O.s) voted to pursue a new, single accreditation system for graduate medical education. The vote took place on July 19 during the 2014 Annual AOA Business Meeting in Chicago, Ill.

The AOA Board and staff worked ceaselessly to ensure that everyone had their concerns heard and addressed as thoroughly as possible. The MOU was exhaustively reviewed and explained by legal counsel at town halls. Dr. Buser, Dr. Vinn, Dr. Juhasz and Adrienne White-Faines held numerous individual meetings, like the one in which the MAOPS Board of Trustees participated. Many topics were addressed, including:  how the process is being worked out, the impact this change will have on the profession, our residencies and residency trainers, and why they felt that we have no choice but to go forward to protect our students' opportunities to have the best education possible. I’ve never been prouder of my profession than right now. I was amazed at the passion everyone brought to the debate regarding unification. Although, there are uncertainties moving forward, ultimately, we all came together as a whole and graciously accepted the majority opinion.

One out of every four medical students in the United States is osteopathic. There are 17,000 of our students, interns and residents currently in training. With the new match in place, students will no longer be forced to decide between doing an osteopathic program, missing the chance to do sub-specialty training in an allopathic setting or having to do allopathic all the way to get that training.

While many have had serious misgivings about this historic change in how we do things, we still stood united as a family and placed our trust in our leadership and in the commitment of our amazing students and young physicians. We don't know all the details about the final structure of the new Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), but we are assured that we will have a voice in all aspects of its operation. We also know that for the first time, osteopathic principles will be codified by D.O.s and accepted by D.O.s and M.D.s alike as a valid and important part of all American medicine. 

There was a lot of other activity during the annual meeting. MAOPS Executive Director Brian Bowles and I were privileged to give a presentation to the AOA Board about what we’ve been doing in recent years to make MAOPS a more responsive, nimble, 21st century organization, while building on the past.  We spoke of the leadership we are mentoring through our Wetzel Scholarship Program, the dissolution of the House of Delegates to enable fast response time by our Board, the online communities we hope to build through our newly updated Internet presence, and how wonderful Missouri Osteopathic Medicine Day was this year with the installation of A. T. Still into the Hall of Famous Missourians. MAOPS Past President Henry Petry, D.O., and I also were honored to accept the AOA STAR Award on behalf of MAOPS at the Awards Luncheon for these activities. Additionally, I was thrilled to get the opportunity to install our very own Brian Bowles as the new Association of Osteopathic State Executive Directors (AOSED) President!

This note is just a snapshot of some of the happenings during the 2014 Annual AOA Business Meeting. To read more about the meeting that took place July 15 - 20, please visit the AOA’s website or contact MAOPS at (573) 634-3415.


Lee Parks, D.O., MAOPS President

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Merger Discussions Hush Crowd at AOA’s 2014 Annual Business Meeting

Posted By Holly A. Koofer-Thompson, Friday, July 18, 2014

The dust might’ve settled from the fireworks on Independence Day by now, but it’s heating up again in Chicago during the AOA’s Annual Business Meeting. Today, the controversial merger involving the AOA, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) had the audience enthralled. Voting on this important issue occurs tomorrow.

Stay tuned for more information about the outcome of that talk, as well as summaries from the AOA House of Delegates, business meetings and a special announcement regarding the AOA’s STAR Award.

To learn more about the meeting taking place July 15 – 20 at the Fairmont Millennium Park Hotel in Chicago, visit the AOA’s website.

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MAOPS Board of Trustees Votes to Support AOA-ACGME Unification

Posted By Brian F. Bowles, Monday, June 30, 2014
The MAOPS Board of Trustees voted to support the unification of osteopathic and allopathic postgraduate training programs after meeting with the AOA's top leadership in early June. The controversial unification proposal was prompted when the ACGME announced a couple of years ago that they would no longer be accepting postgraduates trained in non-allopathic programs into ACGME fellowships. Since that time the AOA, AACOM, and ACGME have been in discussions regarding unification.

To provide some background on this issue, last summer, it was announced at the AOA House of Delegates, that the two sides could not come to agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding to proceed with the unification. Then in February it was announced that a Memorandum of Understanding had been signed. This announcement has resulted in one of the most significant controversies the profession has seen in many years. Many are worried that the profession will lose its distinct identity if the unification occurs. Others believe that without such action the profession will be unable to adequately train graduates from colleges of osteopathic medicine.

The MAOPS Board understands this is a complex issue. However, after reviewing volumes of information on both sides of the  issue, a majority felt that proceeding with the unification was in the best interest of the profession. MAOPS has leaders who have seen the actual Memorandum of Understanding, and a detailed summary of its contents was also reviewed. While Board members were definitely cautious in their deliberations on the issue, I can honestly say I was impressed with their preparation for the meeting and the directness of their questions to AOA leadership. The Board made an informed decision. In a letter to AOA President Norman Vinn, D.O., MAOPS President Lee Parks, D.O., reiterated that MAOPS supported the efforts of the AOA in proceeding with unification, and that organization trusted the AOA leadership to make the right decisions for the future of the profession. If that means pulling out of the agreement if osteopathic needs are not met, then so be it.

While the MAOPS Board has come out in support of the proposed Memorandum of Understadning, ultiamtely it will be the MAOPS Delegates to the AOA that will cast the deciding votes. While the Board decision serves to direct all delegates, MAOPS has longstanding tradition of allowing delegates to "vote their conscience," once all information is presented at the House of Delegates. MAOPS Delegates will attend a meeting on July 17 where the Memorandum of Understanding will be shared with all interested AOA members. At this meeting, members will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the future of osteopathic graduate medical education and the profession as a whole. Delegates will also sit in on reference committees listening to debate on the issue. Surely, lively floor debate will also occur before the final vote which is scheduled to occur on Saturday, July 19. Let's hope all delegates nationwide do their due diligence and do what is best for the profession. I am confident that whatever decision the AOA House of Delegates reaches, it will be the best for the profession.

Regardless of your perspective on this issue, you can bet that this will be one of the most lively AOA House of Delegates in many years!

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New Website Provides Fresh Opportunities to Connect, Grow and Learn

Posted By Holly A. Koofer-Thompson, Sunday, June 29, 2014

Welcome to the Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons’ (MAOPS) new website! Thank you for visiting. At MAOPS, we're all excited about the possibilities this enhanced communication avenue will bring to the association.

If you attended the 2014 Missouri Osteopathic Annual Convention in Branson, Mo., you likely heard MAOPS Executive Director Brian Bowles give an address about the current state of the association. He wisely said that the only thing certain in life is change, and one can either adapt or be left behind.

The time has come for MAOPS to embrace a new chapter in our history. By migrating to a new web-based platform, we’re making a commitment to improve our services and better meet the needs of our members. This is only the beginning of what MAOPS has in store for members. Expect to see more timely communication, enriched website features, new methods for earning continuing medical education credit hours and much more!

We’re here to serve you – our members – so if there is anything you need or want, please let us know. This website is a work in progress, so you’ll be seeing changes to the content in the coming months. Please bear with us as we strive to enhance your viewing experience.

In the meantime, we invite you to browse our webpages and interact with your colleagues by sending a connection invitation, starting a blog, joining a community or subscribing to any of the current blogs, like this one! We’ll be distributing detailed instructions about how to use the website’s many features soon.

Thank you for your commitment to organized medicine, the osteopathic profession and MAOPS. It’s our privilege to work for each of you every day. Together, we’re the united voice of more than 1,000 osteopathic physicians in Missouri.

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