CHICAGO, July 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As Ray E. Stowers, DO, an osteopathic family physician from Harrogate, Tenn., addressed his peers shortly after he was sworn in today as the 116th president of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), he encouraged all osteopathic physicians to be innovative as they look toward the future of health care and osteopathic medicine.
"Nearly 140 years ago the osteopathic medical profession was built on a new concept of how to improve upon the current approach to medicine," said Dr. Stowers. "And today we must continue to initiate new ways of thinking—from helping patients learn to make better choices for their health to taking the lead in promoting new health care delivery systems."
He also promised the more than 500 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students gathered at the AOA's Annual Meeting of the House of Delegates, which concluded today in Chicago, that the AOA will be there for them advocating for important issues such as fair Medicare physician payments and expansion of osteopathic graduate medical education training.
"I look forward to spending the next year advocating on behalf of the more than 100,000 DOs and osteopathic medical students that make up this profession, and the patients we serve," stated Dr. Stowers.
A Country Doc at Heart
Although Dr. Stowers has been helping to groom future generations of DOs as the vice president for health sciences and founding dean of the Lincoln Memorial University- DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM) in Harrogate since it was established in 2005, he fondly recalls his time practicing medicine in rural Oklahoma after graduating from what is now the Kansas City (Mo.) University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine.
"After earning my osteopathic medical degree, I established my practice in north central Oklahoma, and during most of the 25 years I spent there, I was the only physician in the 300-square mile county," recalled Dr. Stowers.
Prior to joining LMU-DCOM, Dr. Stowers was an associate professor of family medicine and director of the Division of Rural Health at the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine in Tulsa. He then served as the founding director of the Oklahoma Rural Health Policy and Research Center.
Years of Advocacy and Honors
A longstanding member of the AOA, Dr. Stowers has served on the Board of Trustees since 2000. In addition, he has been involved with several other osteopathic medical organizations. He is a past president of the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association, which also honored him with the A.T. Still Award of Excellence in 2008, and a Board member of the Tennessee Osteopathic Medical Association (TOMA). In 2006, he was named Family Physician of the Year by the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians. In 2011, TOMA honored Dr. Stowers with the Paul Grayson Smith, Sr., Physician of the Year Award.
Advocating for the osteopathic medical profession at the national level, Dr. Stowers advised Congress on health care issues through his appointments to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, better known as MedPAC, and the Physician Payment Review Commission. He was also a policy board member of the National Rural Health Association and still serves as a member of the Rural Health Works National Advisory Council.
About the House of Delegates
The AOA's House of Delegates, comprised of more than 500 delegates representing osteopathic state medical associations, specialty societies, interns, residents and students from throughout the country, meets annually in July to set organizational policies and elect new officers.
About the American Osteopathic Association
The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) proudly represents its professional family of more than 100,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students; promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools; and has federal authority to accredit hospitals and other health care facilities. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at www.osteopathic.org.
SOURCE American Osteopathic Association