TCOM’s Dr. Kendi Hensel elected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Osteopathic International Alliance
She’s one of the best champions of osteopathic medicine nationwide, and now Kendi Hensel, DO, Ph.D., FAAO of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, is taking her passion for osteopathy globally. Hensel was elected to serve on the board of directors for the Osteopathic International Alliance, filling the American Osteopathic Association’s seat on the board.
Hensel is well versed in working with prominent organizations, serving as the 2019-2020 president of the American Academy of Osteopathy, the 2015-2019 chair of the Education Council on Osteopathic Principles and as a section editor for six years for the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.
“Former AOA President Dr. Joseph Giaimo called me and let me know the individual on the board in the AOA designated seat was terming out and he wanted someone to fill that seat, and that was me,” Hensel said. “The next day he called me up and offered me the position.”
The Osteopathic International Alliance is the leading organization for the advancement and unity of the global osteopathic profession. As an “organization of organizations,” the OIA unifies osteopathic medicine by connecting schools and regulatory bodies; as well as regional, national and multi-country groups.
Hensel is serving on three committees for the OIA: membership, governance and the WHO Benchmarks Taskforce. She attended the Annual General Meeting and Conference in Helsinki, Finland over the summer and had a chance to visit Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.
“It’s already been very interesting, especially getting the chance to visit the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences — walking through their sim lab and seeing how similar some of their training is to what we do back here,” she said.
The OIA board of directors is composed of 10 different individuals representing six countries worldwide. Being a member of the board gives Hensel the unique opportunity to expand her knowledge of osteopathy to see what other countries are doing, and also bring awareness back to TCOM students who might think of practicing internationally someday.
“There are differences between osteopathy around the world and osteopathic medicine practiced here in the U.S. and I often tell residents and students that,” she said. “It’s not commonly known, and I want to help educate people about what’s going on, not only around the country but also globally.”
Learning the operational side and getting more educated about the OIA has been a goal for Hensel as she prepares for the next meeting in November, which will be in Paris, France. The opportunity to visit Paris is certainly not lost on Hensel, who grew up in Paris herself — not the iconic European city, but the east Texas town.
The OIA was launched in June 2003, when 34 people representing 10 countries and 17 organizations traveled to Chicago, Illinois, to attend the First Invitational Conference to Organize an International Osteopathic Association. Affirming the importance of uniting the osteopathic profession worldwide, the attendees incorporated as the Osteopathic International Alliance in the United States in December 2004.
Today, the OIA represents 73 organizations from 22 countries across five continents. Hensel is the first representative of TCOM and The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth to serve on the OIA Board of Directors.