MSU’s Andrea Amalfitano, dean of MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine and and Heritage Foundation Endowed Professor of Pediatrics, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, wrote this piece for The Conversation, an independent collaboration between editors and academics that provides informed news analysis and commentary to the general public. See the entire list of articles written by MSU faculty for the conversation.
Andrea Amalfitano is a doctor of osteopathic medicine, or D.O., and dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine. He explains some of the foundations of the profession and its guiding principle: to use holistic approaches to care for and guide patients. And don’t worry, yes, D.O.s are “real doctors” and have full practice rights across the U.S.
When President Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19, many Americans noticed that his physician had the title D.O. stitched onto his white coat. Much confusion ensued about doctors of osteopathic medicine. As of a 2018 census, they made up 9.1% of physicians in the United States. How do they fit into the broader medical field?
How did osteopathic medicine get started?
In the years after the Civil War, without antibiotics and vaccines, many clinicians of the day relied on techniques like arsenic, castor oil, mercury and bloodletting to treat the ill. Unsanitary surgical practices were standard. These “treatments” promised cures but often led to more sickness and pain.
In response to that dreadful state of affairs, a group of American physicians founded the osteopathic medical profession. They asserted that maintaining wellness and preventing disease was paramount. They believed that preserving health was best achieved via a holistic medical understanding of the individual patients, their families and their communities in mind, body and spirit. They rejected reductionist interactions meant to rapidly address only acute symptoms or problems.
They also embraced the concept that the human body has an inherent capacity to heal itself — decades before the immune system’s complexities were understood — and called for this ability to be respected and harnessed.
What do osteopathic doctors do today?
Doctors of osteopathic medicine — D.O.s, for short – can prescribe medication and practice all medical and surgical specialties just as their M.D. counterparts do. Because of the focus on preserving wellness rather than waiting to treat symptoms as they arise, more than half of D.O.s gravitate to primary care, including family practice and pediatrics, particularly in rural and underserved areas.
Andrea Amalfitano, dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Osteopathic Heritage Foundation Endowed Professor of Pediatrics, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.
D.O. training embraces the logic that understanding anatomic structures can allow one to better understand how they function. For example, alongside contemporary medical and surgical preventive and treatment knowledge, all osteopathic physicians also learn strategies to treat musculoskeletal pain and disease. These techniques are known as “manual medicine,” or osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). They can provide patients an alternative to medications, including opioids, or invasive surgical interventions.
D.O.s pride themselves on making sure their patients feel they’re treated as a whole person
Dentist Dr. Frank Roach Atlanta Explains the Field’s Most Common Area of Practice, Centered Around Preventive and Restorative Care
Press release content from Accesswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.
ATLANTA, GA / ACCESSWIRE / October 9, 2020 / Focused on preventive and restorative services intended to promote optimum oral health, general dentists make up more than two-thirds of the profession. A popular dentist based in the so-called Peach State of Georgia, Dr. Frank Roach Atlanta explains more about the field.
“Often I’m asked, ‘What is general dentistry?’” says Dr. Frank Roach Atlanta, speaking from his office in the Gwinnett County city of Norcross.
According to Dr. Frank Roach Atlanta, as many as 80 percent of all qualified individuals-those using their dental degree in some fashion-in the United States are considered general dentists. “Distinct from those who are focused primarily on one area of dental practice, such as periodontics, general dentists handle an array of different services, vital to the continued oral health of their patients,” he explains.
The general dentistry field, Dr. Frank Roach Atlanta goes on to illustrate, primarily covers preventive and restorative services. “General dentists may also take care of cosmetic procedures,” adds the expert, “as well as overall health concerns, such as in the case of obstructive sleep apnea.”
For many people, the one healthcare provider that they see more than any other is their dentist. Invariably, this will be a general dentist, says Dr. Frank Roach Atlanta. “As general dentists, we are the primary providers of dental care to patients of all ages,” he points out.
Routine visits, Dr. Frank Roach Atlanta suggests, to a family dentist, are the most common occurrence in a general dentistry practice, followed by professional cleaning, and, in the presence of decay, the process of filling an affected tooth.
The majority of patients are advised, Dr. Roach says, to visit their dentist at regular intervals to keep their pearly whites in tip-top condition. “Anywhere from quarterly to once or twice per year should be the norm for a typical patient,” proposes Dr. Frank Roach Atlanta, “although a quick conversation with your chosen dentist will provide a more concrete idea.”
All general dentists, Dr. Frank Roach Atlanta reports, have successfully completed four years of education at an accredited dental school. “They will also have fulfilled the requirements of their local state licensing board,” he explains, “including testing and, in some instances, continuing education.”
Proudly practicing dentistry for more than two decades, Dr. Frank Roach is based in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metropolitan statistical area city of Norcross. Norcross, in turn, is located in Gwinnett County – a suburban county of Atlanta in the north-central portion of Georgia. Home to almost a million people, Gwinnett County is the second-most populous in the so-called Peach State after Fulton County.
In addition to general dentistry, Dr. Frank Roach Atlanta also focuses on dental implants, veneers, and teeth whitening, among a number of other services. In his spare time, Dr. Roach is a keen scuba diver, an avid tennis player, and is the proud guardian
Despite the fact that there are nearly 8 million cases of coronavirus in the U.S., the pandemic is still heavily politicized in the country.
President Trump largely eschews mask wearing and falsely claimed during a town hall this week that “85% of the people wearing masks catch” Covid-19 despite becoming infected and sick himself. And amid the president’s behavior on a national stage, Republican-leaning areas of the U.S. are now experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases.
“To the extent that public health measures have become politicized, it really should be no surprise that we see that the spread of the disease also runs along political lines,” Dr. Steven McDonald, a New York-based emergency medicine physician, said on Yahoo Finance’s The Ticker (video above). “When you have a Republican president telling Republican supporters that mask wearing is not necessary, even after he’s had coronavirus from a maskless event, it’s no surprise that we see surges in Republican areas.”
Data compiled by web developer Dan Goodspeed shows just how badly Republican-leaning areas have been hit in the last four months as compared to Democratic-leaning states:
‘The rise in the death rate will be soon to follow’
Coronavirus initially spread quickly on the American West coast and the Northeast, with New York City becoming the global epicenter for a time, before transmission declined rapidly after governors implemented statewide mask mandates and stay-at-home orders.
The South experienced its own wave of cases after governors lifted restrictions early into the pandemic, and transmission remains troublingly high in that region. In recent months, coronavirus spread as moved across the Midwest. Now, states in the West including Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Idaho are seeing their own spikes in cases amid lax social distancing policies.
“The concern there is that these are geographies that don’t have the same density of hospitals and doctors as you do in the Northeast or the metropolitan South or California,” he said. “New York was completely overwhelmed — but at the same time, we have many many hospitals in the New York City metropolitan area. That’s really not the case where the disease is now surging and so, that means that critical patients have fewer critical beds that they can be slotted to. That makes me very nervous.”
North Dakota and South Dakota currently have the most confirmed cases per capita among U.S. states, according to data from the New York Times. South Dakota’s governor, Kristi Noem, a Republican and staunch Trump supporter, declined to impose any mask mandate or business restrictions within her state. She’s also attributed the surge in cases to increased testing, although that doesn’t account for the surge in hospitalizations her state is also experiencing.
“People are acknowledging that the hospitalization rate is increasing,” McDonald said. “First you see the rise in cases, then the rise in hospitalizations, then the