March 25, 2014
Slightly more than 40 years ago – on March 19, 1974 – the California Supreme Court ruled for the plaintiffs in the civil case of Theodore A. D’Amico, et al., plaintiffs, in their case against the Board of Medical Examiners and the Board of Osteopathic Examiners, defendants.
Why was that ruling important to us here at WesternU? Because “D’Amico, et al.,” represented a small group of osteopathic physicians who for several years had tried to overturn a 1962 state law that took licensing authority away from the state osteopathic medical board and put it into the hands of the Board of Medical Examiners. Passage of that law effectively ended osteopathic licensure and education in California at the time, as the Board of Medical Examiners had no procedures for inspecting osteopathic medical schools, and certified only those schools certified by the American Medical Association – which did not certify osteopathic schools.
The Supreme Court’s decision 40 years ago essentially restored licensing authority to California’s osteopathic licensing board, and a profession threatened with extinction in this state for more than 10 years was given new life. The small group of DOs who had led the fight seized on this groundswell of optimism and enthusiasm to put in motion plans for a new osteopathic medical school, and three-and-a-half years later, the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific was born.
Ethan Allen, DO – a founding and current member (treasurer) of WesternU’s Board of Trustees, and a past president and board member emeritus of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of California (OPSC) – was among the small group of DOs who fought to save the profession. Today, OPSC licenses more than 6,000 osteopathic physicians, and thanks to the efforts of Dr. Allen, Dr. D’Amico and other committed leaders, the profession is thriving.
I salute our own Dr. Allen and all those who kept the faith through osteopathic medicine’s darkest hours in California. I ask you to join me not only in celebrating the anniversary of their accomplishment, but also in acknowledging the trail they blazed in making COMP, and now WesternU, the thriving enterprise it is today. The nobility and humanism made manifest in the stand they took – indeed, in the very practice of osteopathic medicine itself — now extend across nine colleges, 22 programs, more than 3,700 students and 10,000 alumni, and 1,000-plus employees. They come to life during every patient encounter, in every moment of community service, and in the everyday way we live, work, teach, and learn at our University.
We remain committed to upholding this hard-won legacy, and to ourselves keeping the faith.
As always, I welcome your feedback on this topic and any others as we discuss WesternU’s Benchmarks of Value, and our plans. Please e-mail me with your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org, and feel free to share this message with your family and friends.
My best to you all,