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  • Writer's pictureJay Danto

Educating Osteopaths in Cranial OMT in KC

This past June I attended my first Osteopathic Cranial Academy (OCA) meeting in close to 10 years. I was told at that time that Kansas City may be able to serve as a host site for a hybrid 40-hour course in cranial manipulation, but to do that they required people who had been trained as table trainers by the OCA to step up. I volunteered and, consequently, this past weekend I served as a table trainer at Kansas City University (KCU) for the OCA's first course at KCU. Incidentally, KCU was a place that I had been employed as a Department Chair and this was a minor homecoming for me. On the whole, it was a fantastic experience in a bunch of ways!

First, I had the opportunity to rub elbows with two of my colleagues: Annette Hulse, DO (pictured immediately to my left) and Maria Coffman, DO (pictured holding the other full skull to the left of Dr. Hulse). Dr. Hulse recruited me at the June OCA meeting to be course faculty in KC, and Dr. Coffman and I taught together in Kirksville almost 10 years ago.

Our students at this course were GREAT! We had two residents (one of which had worked with me at KCU in my first year on faculty), one M.D. who I had met at Dr. Coffman's wedding to another of my colleagues, David Spencer, DO, many years ago. The rest of our students were Undergraduate Fellows from Rocky Vista - College of Osteopathic Medicine (both the Utah campus and the Colorado campus). These "students" were heavily invested monetarily, philosophically, and spiritually in the course. I put quotations around students because these folks have served as educators in various professional settings, which highlights that once your have a doctoral degree you will remain forever a student. In short, they brought great energy and love for the osteopathic profession and osteopathic manipulation and this creates a great atmosphere in which to teach.

This was a hybrid course due to changes made to accommodate the effects of Covid on the educational system. During the worst parts of the pandemic, in-person osteopathic manipulation courses were being discouraged from their usual format. As a compromise, the classroom material was reformatted for online learning and the hands-on portion was condensed to 24-hours of in-person participation. Additionally, some COMs, like KCU, volunteered as sites for these types of offerings, which enabled the OCA to offer multiple locations with smaller class sizes. The result was a more intimate learning experience, as well as more dates being offered to attend at a choice of locations enabling lowered transportation costs for students to attend the regional sites. Win-Win-Win.

The concepts of cranial manipulation are not really limited to the cranium (head) as the name would indicate. It is a full body approach that recognizes the role of the cranium and has developed a bunch of ways to treat the cranium and the rest of the body. It was especially fun to invite students to experience the relationship of the cranium to the rest of the body and to teach and demonstrate this relationship. I'm so grateful to those who taught me and to my many patients who continue to teach me every day. As a table trainer it was an opportunity to 'sharpen the saw' meaning review material and get better at my craft. I'm positive that the experience will make me a better physician to help may patient's THRIVE!

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