TCOM Class of 2023 is dashing to revive an old tradition

By Steven Bartolotta


Being healthy is very much a natural instinct, but it’s something people are craving more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So Dr. Michael Smith, TCOM’s Year 1 Director of Curriculum, has been sprinkling ideas throughout the calendar year to the Class of 2023 about exercise and good healthy habits.

He was also searching for a way to bring back an old tradition, the “DO Dash” fundraiser and 5K race. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he found a way to do both.

“I was thinking about encouraging regular exercise to manage the stress of this situation,” Dr. Smith said. “I also thought about making this a class activity, which led to the thought of creating a weekly activity that gives a reason to get out and exercise and as something that helps preserve the unity and connection within the class.  I framed it around the old DO Dash event. I suggested that this could lead to a fundraising activity and hopefully resurrection of the actual event.”

The fire was lit under the first-year students. In April, a Facebook page dedicated to “DO the Dash” was created. Amogh Krishnagiri was one of the first students to lace up the shoes and start running, but it was more than about bringing back a tradition.

“I wanted to get involved because I have seen and felt what COVID-19 has done to our class (and society) in terms of morale,” Krishnagiri said. “For me, physical activity has always been a way to take care of my physical and mental health, so to have an opportunity to build up a TCOM tradition, while boosting class morale, and encouraging others and taking care of my health was one I was enthusiastic about.”

The sentiment is strong throughout with the students as the run has a dual-purpose of bringing the class together and helping out their future colleagues on the front lines. Every Saturday morning since mid-April, the Class of 2023 has fanned out across Fort Worth to run, build comradery within their own class and also the community.

“I want people to know that every mile that’s put in is to help the people in the profession that we’re about to join ourselves,” Connie Ly said. “The money being raised from our sponsors is going to support the healthcare providers that sacrifice so much of their lives to protect the public during this time.”

In years past, money was raised for a number of different charities and community organization, such as the Boys and Girls Club of Fort Worth and Cook Children’s Hospital. The rebooted version of the “DO the Dash” has that same charitable mindset.

“Our mission is to get sponsors involved that will donate to COVID relief efforts in some shape or form,” Hope Patchen said. “Whether that is canned foods to food banks for families that are struggling economically or gift cards for healthcare workers who are going above and beyond, we just want to do something meaningful.”

The DO Dash was founded in 2002 by TCOM students to demonstrate the principles of osteopathic medicine by encouraging healthy lifestyles through exercise and education. The Class of 2023 has taken the mantle to bring back the tradition, while giving back to the community at the same time.

“Going on runs or long walks on Saturday mornings reminds me that I’m connected to something even during this isolated time” Patchen said.  “Knowing that some of my classmates have the same plan for their Saturday morning reminds me that I am a part of something bigger during this time when it’s so easy to feel isolated. It allows me to look forward to the normalcy that’s coming when all of this is over.”

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