Campbell med school celebrates new doctors of osteopathic medicine

A healing, compassionate heart. Skilled hands. Hands that reach out and heal. 

Simple words yet profound ones. Words that speak to the mission of the Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Reaching out to people in rural and underserved areas — in North Carolina and beyond.

On May 9, the Campbell medical school conferred degrees on 148 new osteopathic physicians and 11 graduates of the Master of Science in Biomedical Science program during a ceremony in the John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center. 

Wallace, an ordained Baptist minister and the med school’s namesake, offered the invocation.

Place these healing hands on your heart, Wallace asked. 

“We pray today for the heart and hands of these students,” Wallace said. “Healing hands that touch and reassure. … Bless these wonderful students of Campbell University.”

Of the 148 new doctors, or DOs, 146 attended the event and walked across the stage and, at the close of the ceremony, took the Osteopathic Oath, given by Dr. Marta E. Bringhurst, assistant professor of osteopathic manipulative medicine.

In June, osteopathic medicine will celebrate its 150th anniversary.

Ira P. Monka, American Osteopathic Association president and keynote speaker

Campbell University President Bradley Creed said the new doctors took an especially challenging path toward their respective goals.

“If it were easy, anybody could have done it,” Creed said. “But you followed the call. You set your mind to it. … You worked extremely hard, and now we are all poised to celebrate this amazing accomplishment with you today.”

Dr. Brian Kessler, dean of the medical school, asked students and families to reflect on this “incredible journey. This celebration is not just a recognition of academic achievement, but (also) a testament to your steadfast dedication and unyielding perseverance.”

Ira P. Monka, American Osteopathic Association president and keynote speaker, lauded the graduates and the med school for their high levels of success. Monka pointed to the doctors’ steller national licensure scores and the school’s 100 percent residency placement rate.

“This is remarkable and with no doubt will continue,” Monka said. “I have no doubt you will continue to excel in academic excellence and readiness for the next phase of your medical careers.”

The class of 2024, Monka noted, started their medical studies amid a global pandemic. Just one more huge challenge to conquer.

“None of us could have predicted the trials that lay ahead,” Monka said. “The world was in turmoil. In the fear of uncertainty, in the face of adversity, you remained steadfast in your pursuit of medicine.”

Adapting, shifting. Moving forward.

“An experience,” Monka said, “unlike any other in the history of medical education. Through it all, you exemplified the very essence of resilience. You refused to let circumstances dictate your future. You turned challenges into opportunities, obstacles into stepping stones and setbacks into triumphs. You learned to connect with patients, not just with physical touch but through empathy, compassion and genuine human connection.

“The osteopathic approach.”

The new doctors, Monka said, are embarking on their careers at a time of great opportunity for osteopathic medicine.

The osteopathic profession, he said, is robust, with the number of DOs tripling over the past 30 years. Some 38,000 students are studying osteopathic medicine in the U.S., and those numbers are growing, Monka said.

Today, the U.S. has more than 186,000 osteopathic physicians and medical students. About 11 percent of doctors in the U.S. are osteopathic physicians, and some 26 percent of all graduating medical students today are students of osteopathic medicine.

The osteopathic profession plays a critical role in addressing health disparities, and it will contribute greatly toward addressing a predicted physician shortage, which will approach 100,000 physicians by 2050, he said.

Monka said the AOA and similar groups are working with lawmakers across the country on policies that strengthen, protect and defend the role of osteopathic medicine at the highest standards of care — a distinctive approach to care that treats not only the symptoms but the whole person.

Mind, body and spirit.

“Remember that you are not just graduates of Campbell University School of osteopathic medicine. … You’re ambassadors of compassion, champions of healing and beacons of hope in a world that is in desperate need of healing and transformation.”



John F. Trump Health Sciences writer
Bennett Scarborough Photographer

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