You know you’re dedicated to OMM when you wake up at 4:30 AM on a Saturday to drive 3 hours away. Eight second year VCOM-Virginia students loaded up into 2 cars and caravanned all the way to Jonesville, VA. Jonesville, VA happens to be the birthplace of AT Still—what better place to be performing OMM than in his birthplace. We arrive in this sleepy town in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains, just as the sun peaked over the mountain tops. Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinics are held around the country to provide free dental, vision, and medical care to isolated, impoverished, or underserved communities. I would definitely agree that Jonesville fit all three of those adjectives. Lee High School was turned into a mobile clinic for the weekend, and we set up shop in a chemistry classroom.
Nothing says osteopathic medicine more than OMM and family. Students and faculty from LMU-DCOM were also at the clinic to provide OMM to patients. So because we are all one big Osteopathic family, we got to work side by side to treat patients. As students, we came from two different schools, but because we are DO students, we had been trained to use our hands. It shows that it doesn’t matter where we come from but the power of touch, and the training of touch, is universal in the positive effects it has on our patients. Overall, we treated 110 patients in 8 hours. These were patients who had no insurance, chronic co-morbidities, and a lot of them just needed a friend.
This was the second RAM clinic I had participated in as an osteopathic student and both experiences were the tipping point for my medical school experience. RAM was our first opportunity to provide OMM to real patients with real needs. To educate a rural, unexposed patient population to the special gift of touch and OMM and see the results of those treatments before my eyes was awe inspiring. Osteopathic manipulative medicine went above just medically treating patients for the day, it made patients and students connect in a special way that allowed each person to grow. To spend time with my Osteopathic family and see how we all have the power of touch in common is inspiring. I had the privilege of learning from VCOM faculty and students, LMU-DCOM faculty and students, and of course my patients- all in one day.
Sarah Cotrell-Cumber, OMS II
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine-Virginia Campus