Today marks the beginning of a year-long excursion into the inner workings of health policy . This is installment one of my experience program, to be continued each of the next 365 days to promote awareness of the fellowship, highlight opportunity to get involved, transforming thought and feeling into action at local, regional, national levels and, admittedly, for my own processing.
I have considered the fellowship at various times in the past decade and, as with many sparks, it was a serendipitous combination – the kindling of interest under the increasingly intense rays of personal responsibility through the magnifying lens of our current political climate – that led to ignition and my entry into the Osteopathic Health Policy Fellowship (OHPF), Class of 2020.
We had the great privilege of spending the afternoon Barbara Ross-Lee, D.O. who has long been a trailblazer, educator and clinician in osteopathic medicine with countless accomplishments in professional leadership including founding the OHPF Program in 1993. With a style, breadth of experience and depth of knowing all her own, Dr. Ross-Lee asked us each about our “why” for participating in the fellowship. She pushed us to dig deeper, get clearer and understand that success in the program, and in policy development, begins and ends by explicitly demonstrating the benefit to the recipients of our service as physicians – the patients.
As I reflected on my own path to this moment and the program, there were glimmers of my time in medical education, shadows of the looming shifts in graduate medical education, flickers of the challenges and benefits of private practice, images of hope for equity in care and maintenance of respect for humanity and ultimately, front and center in the mirror of my values, that which drew me into this profession and remains at the forefront of my every thought, every breath, every encounter, every word written and spoken – honoring the health.
In our preparatory readings for orientation and others that emerged concurrently in the media, there was a call for organization – of physicians, together in order to create a stronger voice; of citizens engaged in advocacy for the greater good – and I was struck by a definition refenced straight out of Webster’s Dictionary noting that organizemeans to provide with an organic structure; systematize; to arrange; establish; institute; bring into being; to unifyinto a coordinated functioningwhole.
I sat, stared, processed, pondered these words and their likeness to the tenets that have governed my entire professional experience, particularly the opening and closing portions. Structure and function. Unity. Treating the whole person, not just the disease. As for those middle pieces – opportunity to strengthen that which has faltered, that which we have lacked– instituting and effectively bringing into sustainable being that which we know to be good, true, powerful, distinct, important, about the practice of osteopathic medicine.
And so I begin. To gain understanding. To find a clearer vision. To expand the breadth of my experience. To develop a stronger voice. To speak from a place of knowing. To serve – patients, community, region, nation and, ultimately, the health of all things.
With reinvigorated commitment to This Osteopathic Life – The Human Investment: Serving Our Society Through Education, Organization & Partnership; Achieving True Health, Improving Community, Learning & Intention for Everyone – supported by the experience of the OHPF. Thank you for joining me along the way!