2020 End of Year Message

January 3, 2021

Wishing you peace and joy in the New Year!


For more than 70 years, the power of the American Osteopathic Foundation has been generated through the collective commitment of the profession. We know that together we do more. This year, with the steadfast leadership of our Board of Directors, generosity of our donors and sponsors, and the strength and vision of our partners, we continued to advance outstanding work, making a positive, impactful difference. To reflect on a few milestone initiatives:


As COVID-19 came into focus and we moved to a virtual environment, we worked tirelessly to ensure our grant programs would not be impacted by the pandemic and that spring applications would open without delay. The Foundation’s dedicated Board and resourceful staff broadened its scope and did what was needed to help those around us by researching, vetting, and sharing national resources with our nonprofit partners. We also rallied nationally recognized professionals who specialize in marketing, strategic planning, and financial investments to provide practical advice via a webinar to help weather the storm.


This summer, we partnered in the Scripps Research DETECT Study to promote the use of wearable devices in spotting viral outbreaks such as COVID-19. Since that time, the Foundation and its network of physicians, industry supporters, and affiliate partners have been informing and engaging a wide audience about participation in the DETECT study to provide valuable input on viral outbreaks. Please watch for an invitation to join this timely study in January 2021.


The Foundation, like so many organizations dependent on events to fulfill fundraising goals, moved our annual Honors Gala to a virtual environment. With the support of our sponsors and our volunteer leaders, we created an online event that fostered the high level of impact, emotion, and feeling of community that you have come to expect from a Foundation event. On October 16 we gathered around desktops, laptops, phones, and tablets to recognize and honor the tremendous accomplishments of our profession. Here are a few highlights:


  • In collaboration with state associations, we recognized 10 State Emerging Leaders. These remarkable DOs, in their first six to seven years of practice, demonstrate leadership, passion, and dedication to osteopathic medicine, setting them apart. From this group of amazing individuals, Carrie Janiski, DO, of California, was selected to receive the James M. Lally, DO, National Emerging Leader Award.


  • In partnership with the specialty societies, we honored 10 Outstanding Residents who embody a great spirit of altruism and whose combination of clinical promise, leadership, dedication, and commitment to osteopathic patient-centered care, separate them from others.


  • We partnered with the American Osteopathic Association in presenting the New Investigator Research Award to Erin Kay Jefferson, DO. Dr. Jefferson’s 18-month research project is examining health and wellness in physicians providing OMT to pain patients.


  • With the Advocates for the American Osteopathic Association (AAOA) and Colleges and Schools of Osteopathic Medicine, the Foundation recognized 28 partners and spouses of graduating osteopathic medical students for their unwavering support with the Donna Jones Moritsugu Memorial Award.


Great things are rarely done by one person or one organization. This year has made that abundantly clear. As we reflect on where we have been and consider how we can best fulfill our mission, we look forward to strengthening existing partnerships and building new ones that advance the tenants and philosophy of osteopathic medicine. We offer our heartfelt thanks for all you do on behalf of the osteopathic profession and look forward to a brighter collective future.


I wish you all the best and good health in the coming year.


Warm regards,

Rita Forden, CEO