GA-PCOM graduates return to practice locally

The Georgia campus of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) in Suwanee recently had two graduates finish their residencies and return to the community to practice medicine.

“For PCOM the focus is training primary care physicians. Hopefully that they will come back to their community and serve,” said William Craver, Dean of Medicine. “It’s about that student that has passed on (and graduated) and is achieving their dream, and our dream is that they serve their community.”

Osteopathic medical treatments are often overlooked when trying to help a patient, something that practitioners are trying to change with National Osteopathic Medicine Week, which started this past Sunday and ends Saturday.

“Osteopathic (physicians are) licensed in all 50 states to practice all kinds of medical care. In Georgia, MDs and osteopaths are licensed by the same board,” said Craver. “Besides learning all of the general things that people are familiar with, like antibiotics and surgery, we also emphasize that the body works as a whole. If you’re sick with one disease or one organ failure, it’s something that’s affecting the whole person. We emphasize that our structure and our function are vital to our whole being.”

Dr. Joe Huong and Dr. Karen Duvall, both recently finished their residencies. Dr. Huong completed his residency in Columbus, Ga., and now works as the WellStreet Urgent Care Site Director in Johns Creek. Duvall completed her residency in Orlando and received the “Resident of the Year” award. She now practices as a family doctor at Ivy Falls Family Medicine in Duluth.

Duvall believes that by treating the whole body, osteopathic medicine is often more effective than tradtional methods.

“I think it’s because it’s more of a whole body approach to patient care and there’s a lot of things that can be treated with hands on manipulation, which I do, to help the body get back in its normal working order to help heal itself,” she said. “I think that the public needs to know that the training is the same as physicians in other programs; we actually just have additional training in osteopathic medicine. That’s just another modality we have to treat patients.”

PCOM opened its doors in 1899, but the Georgia campus is relatively new. The first class began in 2005 and 2009 was the first graduating class. In 2010 the campus added a pharmacy school and the first class is graduating this May.

For more information on PCOM and osteopathic medicine, visit pcom.edu.