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School of Social Medicine Genogram

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School of Social Medicine Genogram and Next Generation Medical Education

When Merle Cunningham MD came to visit the School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (SOMA) the other day, the topic got around to the merger of two fine family lines. Merle has been active in Community Health Centers, NACHC, the National Health Service Corps, and health care access in NYC. He has been instrumental working through NACHC and Gary Cloud to help make SOMA a reality.

Forrest Lang MD was the second family line. He took his Social Medicine training to NHSC, Appalachia, East Tennesee State, and the Appalachian Preceptorship. I have the honor of being his adopted mentee. He brought me to TN and helped me to develop the ETSU Rural Fellowship, the Minifellowship, the Rural High School Career Fair, and the initial work toward the Mountain City rural site. One of the Rural Minifellows, faculty that were developing rural programs, was Tom McWilliams DO. His rural program for the Minifellowship was the revision of the Kirksville family practice preceptorship. Much “Social Medicine” type collaboration was involved in the Rural Minifellowship.

Tom McWilliams moved on to develop the first osteopathic school in Arizona at AZCOM and then the new ATSU SOMA, working back with the Kirksville folks. The preferential admissions process used was borrowed from my work which was borrowed from the various interactions with the Rural Minifellows. Tom hired me, Forrest Lang’s mentee, to come to Arizona to help develop this new school. Tom also shares NHSC background and helped recruit Barb Doty who helped found the Alaska FP training program that has top rates of underserved graduates in CHC And Native Consortia practice locations (about 43%). The Minifellowship, like the School of Social Medicine, helped keep ideals and ideas alive to translate them into action.

The School of Osteopathic Medicine of Arizona works with CHCs to funnel in applicants familiar with work with the underserved. SOMA admits medical students with a top priority on service orientation. The top priority is a match to the mission of returning them to CHC locations as long term primary care physicians. After one year at Mesa AZ, the medical students depart Mesa for sites from Hawaii to Brooklyn. The first class will begin in Brooklyn at Sunset Park in a few months. One of the faculty hired here at the same time was a lab tech at Sunset Park, Noel Carrasco, MD. who later did research, U Autonoma De Guadalajara, Neonatology, and Complementary and Alternative work with Andrew Weil.

Just wanted you to know that some epidemics are worth spreading and the School of Social Medicine is one of the best vectors.

When the new medical students arrive at Sunset Park, might just be worth “completing” their training where it began.

Robert C. Bowman, M.D.