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News & Press: History of the Osteopathic Profession

Paul Aversano, DO - History of the Osteopathic Profession

Friday, June 1, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: John Stiger, DO
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The purpose of writing these essays has been to create a better understanding of the history of the Osteopathic profession in the State of Oregon and how it became possible to form an Osteopathic School of Medicine in the state.  As our interviews have proceeded it has become clear that certain individual DOs have made important contributions to that process.  Some have contributed by earning the trust of the people they served thereby creating positive influences in the political process.  Most have made a difference in the communities they served.  Many have served as mentors to students in their offices, others as consultants and educators in the hospital setting.  Paul Aversano, DO is that rare clinician who has managed to fill all these roles and continues to contribute as an educator at the new Osteopathic Medical School in Lebanon, Oregon.

 

Born in Buffalo, New York, Paul was raised in a family that placed a high premium on education.  His father, was a manager/chemist at a local pharmaceutical company. His mother was a dedicated homemaker who created a home atmosphere that encouraged intellectual pursuits. Both Paul and his sisters were educated in private schools.  In addition to his studies, he also excelled in baseball and other sports.  At times, when Paul found it difficult to concentrate on his studies and still participate in sports, his parents made sure that he could do both.  One sister became a teacher while at an early age Paul decided he wanted to be a doctor. When he mentioned this to the headmaster of his school, he was advised the he would never make it. After high school he decided to attend Washington and Jefferson College where he could pursue his interests in baseball and science. His passion was Biology.

 

After graduation he applied for medical school in the New York area and by chance, a fellow student told him about DO schools., so Paul thought he would apply.  One of the requirements for application was a reference from a DO.  He had to travel through a snow storm to Erie, Pa. to get to the DO he would shadow.  The doctor was very gracious and allowed him to see his patients on hospital rounds. He had his interview in Des Moines, and when asked the difference between an allopath and an osteopath he answered he didn’t have a clue.  At the end of the interview he was asked by a young doctor (the actual dean of the school) at the interview what would make him decide which medical school to attend.  Paul replied in his usual fashion – whichever one picked him first!  Happily he opted for the Osteopathic education.

 

He spent the last six months of his training working with John Nelson, DO a neurologist at Portland Osteopathic Hospital in Portland, Oregon.  He said he fell in love with Oregon after seeing a TV series featuring the state. He graduated from Des Moines in 1973.  Upon graduation he completed a rotating internship at Brentwood hospital in Cleveland, Ohio and followed by a residency at the famed Cleveland Clinic where he completed his training in 1977. 

 

There was already a place for him to practice in Portland, so not long after completing his residency he went to work.  He soon found himself with a busy practice, consulting, managing hospital patients, and training students and interns.  In addition, he took on the responsibility of Director of Medical Education, Chief of Staff , and other committees.   In 1978 he was recruited and began to teach neurology at the new College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pomona, California.  He would fly to LA and teach for five days in a row then return to Portland to his responsibilities there.

 

After five years, Dr. Nelson left the practice leaving Paul with the responsibility of all the neurologic cases at Eastmoreland Hospital.  During this time, he also coordinated the placement of students from COMP and other Osteopathic medical schools in offices around the Portland area.  

 

Despite this frantic schedule, Paul found the time to pursue golf and with his athletic ability became a very good golfer.  He was so busy that he ignored the symptoms of cancer that were beginning to develop.  When he finally sought treatment he learned that he would have a prolonged recovery and he was forced to retire from his practice. It was during this period that his marriage of seventeen years came to an end.  Despite these setbacks, he continued to consult, lecture, and assist in coordinating externships . 

 

In August of 2003, he married Paula Crone, DO a local family practice doctor that he had helped to train. For a time they continued their separate practices.  In addition to her busy family practice, Paula was also in charge of the Family Practice Residency program at Eastmoreland Hospital.  The success of this program soon attracted attention from around the country.  With their combined expertise in medical education the couple were called upon to help form residency training programs in the Corvallis, Oregon area.  Shortly thereafter it was felt that it was time for an Osteopathic Medical School in Oregon!  Soon, a location was selected. Samaritan hospital group headquarted in Lebanon, Oregon and the Pomona school combined their expertise and the ball was rolling.  They interviewed a few candidates to be Dean but unanimously agreed that Paula was the right person.  It quickly became apparent that they had hired a Dean Team! 

 

Today, Dr. Aversano fills many roles as backup for Dr. Crone.  The goal that she has set to make the school the best in preparing young people to become the best Osteopathic Family Physicians in the world is one he wholeheartedly supports.

 

When asked what has given him the greatest satisfaction it has been the privilege of caring for his patients, to be involved in their lives and making a difference.  His greatest disappointment was the loss of Eastmoreland Hospital and the wonderful atmosphere it embodied.  He is very optimistic about the future of the Osteopathic Profession.  His advice to young people considering entering the profession.  Enter with your eyes open, it is not an easy road, it will require a minimum of seven years of hard work to attain that goal but in the end well worth it!



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