By Dominique Fons, MD

Dr. Fons

When asked to describe myself, I say that I am a gardener in many aspects of life. I plant seeds and watch them grow. I add nourishment when needed and take advantage of good soil.

Prior to my tenure as faculty in Peoria, our osteopathic soil was created by an open-minded leader who recognized that osteopathic residents “made excellent physicians.” Dr. Tom Golemon recognized the contributions and began actively recruiting osteopathic residents. This commitment led to dual accreditation in 2013 and was initiated by Drs. Golemon, Gary Knepp and Amanda Wright. Drs. Wright and Knepp also created a clinical site rotation for Kirksville COM students in addition to their osteopathic residency responsibilities. In 2017, Drs. Wynn and Wright were the catalysts for our program attaining Osteopathic Recognition through the ACGME. More and more nutrients were added to the garden’s soil.

When I joined the faculty complement in 2017, our esteemed colleague, Dr. Amanda Wright, was transitioning upon her new career path. I was tasked with maintaining an osteopathic garden for eight osteopathic residents. There was already good soil created. In June 2017, we gained an additional four osteopathic residents, and the program actively recruited for osteopathic faculty. One full-time with two part-time gardeners (Drs. Knepp and Lagouros) could not maintain this growing osteopathic garden.

The addition of two gardeners, Drs. Lagouros and Watts in 2018, has really enriched the soil through the development of concentrated workshops that occur quarterly. Last academic year, I began teaching allopathic residents the fundamentals of osteopathy and named it MDs for Osteopathy (MDO) track with guidance and support from Drs. Lagouros and Watts.

This opportunity for allopaths has seen growth as well. The osteopathic culture in our program continues to flourish in the depth of the curriculum, amount of faculty and the overall awareness of osteopathy and incorporating the principles and philosophy. The enthusiasm about osteopathic learning and philosophy has been exciting to nourish and see it blossom with the help from Dr. Lagouros’ osteopathic and other program leadership and our “budding” osteopathic culture.

About the Author

Dr. Dominique Fons is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine.