Laura E. Griffin, DO, FAAO, of Pikeville, Kentucky, assumed the office of president of the American Academy of Osteopathy (AAO) on March 19 during the AAO Convocation in Orlando, Florida. She will serve a one-year term leading the nation’s largest medical society devoted to fostering osteopathic manipulative medicine and neuromusculoskeletal medicine (OMM-NMM).
In her presidential address, Dr. Griffin announced she would focus on service in her year as president of the Academy. “Every person in this room is here because they wanted to serve. … I believe service is part of our nature and part of who we are,” Dr. Griffin said.
Dr. Griffin went on to explain how she believes that service is at the core of the Academy, and as such it is one of the organization’s strengths. She hopes to devote more resources to the Academy’s younger members, citing her own formative experiences at Convocation over the last 25 years. Dr. Griffin recognized the importance of encouraging younger members of the profession, saying “The more we dedicate to our students and residents, the more we show them how much they mean to us and how much they mean to the future of our profession, and the more likely they will be to stay as part of our family.”
Dr. Griffin hopes that through providing service to others, the Academy can make its vision statement a reality: “All patients are aware of and have access to osteopathic medical care and osteopathic manipulative medicine for optimal health.”
A 1996 graduate of the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNECOM) in Biddeford, Maine, Dr. Griffin was the first physician to complete UNECOM’s integrated residency in neuromusculoskeletal medicine and family practice (NMM-FP). She is board certified in both specialties.
From 2001 to 2008, Dr. Griffin co-directed the NMM-FP residency at Metro Health Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She currently co-directs the NMM-FP residency at the Pikeville Medical Center in Kentucky. In addition to running UP-KYCOM’s Department of Osteopathic Principles and Practice (OPP), she is an associate professor of OPP at UP-KYCOM, and she is the faculty adviser to the college’s chapter of the Student American Academy of Osteopathy.
Dr. Griffin has served on the AAO Board of Trustees since 2009, and she served on the AAO’s Postdoctoral Standards and Evaluation Committee from 2009 to 2015. The PSE committee helped establish standards and review on-site inspections for the nation’s OMM-NMM residencies.
Dr. Griffin also has served on the governing board of the American Osteopathic Board of Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine, the nation’s only certifying board for physicians who specialize in OMM-NMM. She is one of barely 80 osteopathic physicians who are AAO fellows. The AAO is one of the few specialty colleges that have earned fellowships. To earn her fellowship, Dr. Griffin had to write a thesis and 10 case reports, all of which were reviewed and approved by the Committee on Fellowship in the American Academy of Osteopathy. Dr. Griffin’s thesis, titled “The Effect of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment During the Neonatal Period on Infant Development and Illness,” examined the effect of osteopathic manipulative treatment performed in the neonatal period on infants’ abilities to breastfeed, rates of growth and development and on the incidence of common illnesses in the first six months of life.
As the Academy’s 2015-16 president-elect, Dr. Griffin led the team that drafted a position paper proposing eligibility requirements for anyone entering residencies with osteopathic recognition. The position paper was adopted by the AAO Board of Trustees in July.
Dr. Griffin concluded her presidential address with a slideshow of photos she had solicited from Academy members demonstrating their service. The video of Dr. Griffin’s address and the slideshow is available online at https://youtu.be/ggOy2IhTe0E.