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Osteopathic Medicine

DO Students Share Their Perspectives

Four current D.O. students talk about the ups and downs of pursuing degrees in osteopathic medicine.

Ahmed Nahian

Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), Class of 2027

What are some unique experiences you went through getting to and through D.O. school?

I was admitted to LECOM’s B.S./D.O. program. My father, a D.O. neurologist, was at residency when I decided to follow in his footsteps into the D.O. pathway. I turned down a UC Berkeley acceptance and a B.S./M.D. acceptance to pursue my dream of becoming a D.O. 

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Under my guidance as the vice president, my university PreSOMA became the Fastest Growing Club in the health community. I have collaborated with dedicated early accepted B.S./D.O. students like me and have used their insights to create a PreSOMA Instagram page to represent the osteopathic community. I created a series called #DoctorsThatDO by authoring posts that feature celebrated osteopathic physicians’ lives and works. 

Working as an adviser for The DO will expand my platform and provide me with more significant opportunities to use my love and dedication for the osteopathic profession for crafting impactful articles.

What is a hardship you overcame during D.O. school?

In my role as a medical author at a peer-reviewed medical publication based in Florida, I first authored and collaborated with numerous physicians and students on various PubMed-published articles about musculoskeletal topics. I also composed USMLE, COMLEX, and specialist-level medical quiz and test questions related to heavily tested medical topics. 

I have also helped establish the OMT section of the journal by authoring review articles on popular OMT procedures, including HVLA, BLT, direct MFR, etc., under the direct guidance of reputable osteopathic physicians. I have also kept up with my advocacy for the D.O.s to guide my peers into D.O. school.

Trevor Belavek

Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2023

What are some unique experiences you went through getting to and through D.O. school?

Before matriculating with my medical school, I took a gap year where I worked as a lead care manager in a local assisted living home. We primarily cared for residents who had varying levels of cognitive impairments. This experience was a huge factor in solidifying my decision to pursue medicine, and my love for comfort and healing.

Getting through medical school has definitely been a team effort. Whether it be from my classmates, my family, or my fiancé, I’ve been fortunate enough to have constant support, and I’ve needed it every step of the way. The journey has been tough, but at the same time it’s been one of the most rewarding.

What is a hardship you overcame during D.O. school?

My class fell right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, and what makes it exceptionally more difficult for us is we got to experience our first year of medical school “pre-pandemic.” Now that restrictions are in place, we reminisce on what things used to be like, and I think I speak for everyone when I say we miss the camaraderie and daily interactions with our classmates.

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Aaron Mahoney

Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2023

What are some unique experiences you went through getting to and through D.O. school?

My mom unexpectedly passed away in the months leading up to matriculation. It felt like I lost my biggest cheerleader. There were so many resulting personal struggles, but one of the most notable was learning about the disease processes that took her life. I hold this experience close to me as a reminder that the things we learn in school are not restricted to the confines of a textbook or a test- they are things we use to heal people who need our help. 

What is a hardship you overcame during D.O. school?

During our first year, I competed in an Ironman triathlon and took 4th out of over 2000 athletes. This qualified me for the world championship in Kona, Hawaii, which I will race later in the fall of 2022 due to the pandemic. I’m proud of the result but I’m even prouder of the fact that I balanced course work with 14-16 hours of training per week! My biggest takeaway from this challenge is the notion that being truly present in the activity at hand allows us to do so much more than we think we are able to.

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Fadi Kathawa

Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2022

Describe your unique experiences getting to and through DOschool.

I am a Chaldean Catholic Iraqi-American who was born andraised in Iraq. I have lived in Iraq for 20 years before movingto the United States. I was accepted at University of Mosul,College of Medicine in Nineveh, Iraq in 2009 shortly after I’vecompleted the Baccalaureate exam at the end of mysecondary education “High School” . I studied there for oneyear and a half (out of 6 years total to graduate from medicalschool) before my family and I migrated to the United States,specifically Michigan, in May 2011.Because of how seriously dangerous the situation was in Iraqat that time, I couldn’t get in touch with my medical school totransfer any college credits at all!I started my undergraduate journey here in the Fall of 2011starting with one ESL (English Second Language) class persemester and moving up step by step until graduating in 2016with Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences after I gotaccepted into Irvin D. Reid Honors College program at Wayne State University.

In 2018, I started my medical school journey again but thistime as a first year osteopathic medical student at MichiganState University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Now ,February/2021, I am a third year osteopathic Medical student currently based at Ascension-Macomb Oakland hospital and I couldn’t be any happier! The hardships, which I call experience, that I have been through in Iraq and moving to anew country afterwards gave me a strong boost that made me overcome all the obstacles thinking of them as trivial compared to what I have seen in life.

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