Dr. Kamali performs an osteopathic screening on Steve Bednarczyk, a DO from El Paso who is new to the BCOM program.

Learning Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) is an important part of the curriculum at BCOM. The ability to use these hands-on techniques to treat everything from muscle pain to asthma and sinus problems is one of the primary differences between doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs) and doctors of medicine (MDs). All DO students must take 200-300 hours of OMM related coursework.

Joanne Ray, DO, an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics, teaches the Osteopathic Manipulative Skills class to the first year students as part of a larger course called Principles of Clinical Practice. “We teach the students how to examine patients, interview them, write medical communications (SOAP notes) and how to start thinking like a doctor,” Dr. Ray explained. “We also introduce them to ethics, professionalism, cultural issues—the balance of topics that make a well-rounded doctor.”

Several practicing physicians from the Las Cruces community, both DOs and MDs, help out in the Principles of Clinical Practice course by acting as lab teachers and sharing their expertise. To help the MD physicians better understand the basics of OMM, Dr. Ray asked fellow BCOM faculty member Adrienne Kania, DO, an associate professor of OMM, to demonstrate some hands-on techniques. Participants in the mini-workshop were Kamran Kamali, MD, a general surgeon here in Las Cruces, and Scot Martin, MD, a local plastic surgeon. Both were some of the first local physicians to serve as clinical skills lab teachers when BCOM opened its doors in 2016. “They were very interested and we had a good time,” Dr. Ray said of the experience in which the MDs learned how to perform basic osteopathic screenings and OMM treatments like muscle energy technique.

Dr. Martin said, “It was a really good introduction to OMM. I’ve been around for two years now and often times will hear the students talk about these terms so it’s nice to see some of these techniques being used. I enjoyed it!”

Dr. Kania (left) and Dr. Martin perform muscle energy technique on BCOM staff member and volunteer patient Ryan Mayhew.

Photos by Joanne Ray