Three faculty members from TCOM are honored by the AOA at the annual OMED Conference

Kendi Hensel
Kendi Hensel.

The American Osteopathic Association honored three faculty members from The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine as the recipients of the 2022 Innovation Research Award and the 2022 Clinical Research Award.  

TCOM’s John Licciardone DO, MS, MBA, FACPM received the Innovation Research Award from the AOA for his study, “Patient-Centered Care or Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment as Mediators of Clinical Outcomes in Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain.” 

Rita Patterson, Ph.D., and Kendi Hensel DO, Ph.D., FAAO from TCOM were honored for their article, “Effects of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment vs. Osteopathic Cranial Manipulative Medicine on Parkinsonian Gait.”  

Both studies were published in the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, and the three were recognized at the AOA’s annual OMED conference in Boston.  

John Licciardone

Licciardone used several innovative practices in his study, which included using a national pain research registry (PRECISION Pain Research Registry) and a digital research platform with electronic data capture, to conduct osteopathic research.  

He also was able to study osteopathic medicine, including osteopathic manipulative treatment, in a real-world setting as delivered by osteopathic physicians in the community. The study measured physician communication styles and physician empathy during patient encounters for the treatment of chronic pain.  

For the first time, Licciardone applied a statistical technique known as Mediation Analysis in the field of osteopathic medicine. Prior to the study’s publication in the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, he presented the results during the 2021 Goldstein Lecture.  

Historically, he was the first to apply another statistical technique known as Meta-Analysis in the field of osteopathic medicine in 2005. That study led to the first and only Clinical Practice Guideline ever established by the American Osteopathic Association, which generally recommends the use of osteopathic manipulative treatment for patients with low back pain.  

Some 60,000 people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year, making it the second-most common neurodegenerative disorder. Parkinson’s disease results in a variety of gait disturbances, including muscular rigidity and decreased range of motion, that increase the fall risk of those afflicted. Osteopathic manipulative treatment emphasizes the central role of the musculoskeletal system, which could be ideal for addressing the somatic dysfunction associated with neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease.  

Rita Patterson
Rita Patterson.

“This project came together because we had a Parkinson’s researcher, Evan Papa, a physical therapist, an OMT specialist in Dr. Hensel and me, an engineer, working in the human movement lab,” Patterson said. “This was a pretty intense clinical trial testing — 45 Parkinson and 45 age-matched controls — but we did it and were able to publish the paper that received the award. I am very grateful to be working with such a great team and honored to receive this award.” 

The purpose of this study was to determine whether OMT is a viable adjunctive treatment for improving the walking mechanics of patients with Parkinson’s disease and whether the addition of osteopathic cranial manipulative medicine to the OMT protocol would further improve gait.  

The results supported their hypothesis that OMT is a viable adjunctive treatment option to improve walking mechanics in Parkinson’s disease.

Each year, the AOA recognizes individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the osteopathic medical profession through leadership, excellence, achievement and dedication.  


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