Medical students lead first-ever regional meeting for peers

Chandler Sparks

2015 Student American Academy of Osteopathy Regional Conference

Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine: Evidence, Relevance, and Practical Application

Saturday, Sept. 19
UNT Health Science Center, MET Building
1000 Montgomery St., Fort Worth, TX 76107

Conference flier

Conference schedule


Imagine how surprised aspiring medical student Chandler Sparks was when he learned that some doctors’ training stresses symptoms and conditions rather than the people who have them.

“I was shadowing an osteopathic physician, and he explained to me the osteopathic philosophy,” Sparks said.. “The principles seemed so common-sense that I said, ‘You mean not every physician is trained to see the patient as a unit of body, mind, and spirit?  Not every doctor treats the patient as a whole rather than just a collection of symptoms?’

“I fell in love with the osteopathic philosophy then, and the only medical school where I applied was Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.”

Sparks is now a second-year TCOM student, after earning a master’s degree in medical science at UNT Health Science Center.

As president of the campus chapter of the Student American Academy of Osteopathy, he’ll share an important component of osteopathic medicine with medical students from several states during SAAO’s first-ever regional conference, coming up later this month on the TCOM campus. The conference is student-led, organized by the TCOM chapter.

The component TCOM students will share is osteopathic manipulative treatment, by which doctors diagnose and treat dysfunction of the musculoskeletal, nervous and other body systems using their hands.  This skill set is unique to osteopathic medical training.

The conference will present speakers and lab sessions for learning techniques of manipulative medicine techniques.

Said Sparks, “Our generation of student doctors is especially passionate about evidence-based medicine,” thus the conference includes several sessions on the latest OMT research.

Sparks said that TCOM’s SAAO, honored as the 2014 National Chapter of the Year for its outstanding community service and professional development, decided to broaden its outreach even more with a conference promoting awareness about OMT among professionals and the public.

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