Featured Osteopathic Family Physician:
David J. Park, DO, FACOFP

Dr. Park is the Vice Dean for Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine with the primary role of being the Campus Dean for the additional location in Southern Utah.

Prior to joining RVUCOM, Dr. Park served in various capacities in medical education during his 10-year tenure with Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine. He served as the Chair for the Department of Primary Care, Assistant Dean for GME, and the Chief Academic Officer for the TUMEC OPTI. He was also the founding Program Director of the Family Medicine Residency at Valley Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas.

Dr. Park received his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1998. He completed an ACGME/AOA dually accredited family medicine residency program at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, an affiliate of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. He is board certified by the ABFM and AOBFP. Dr. Park is also a graduate of the AOA Health Policy Fellowship program. 

Dr. Park became an ACOFP Fellow in 2010 and was also awarded the ACOFP Fellows Most Outstanding Scientific Paper Award. An active member of the ACOFP, Dr. Park was the founding Faculty Advisor for the TUNCOM student ACOFP chapter and has served on various ACOFP committees, including the Scholarship & Student Loan Committee; Osteopathic Family Medicine Educators Committee; Program Committee; and the Convention and Site Committee. He has served as the Program Co-Chair for the ACOFP’s 47th Annual Convention in 2010 and was the Program Chair for the 2013 OMED conference in Las Vegas.

Dr. Park has traveled internationally to promote and deliver osteopathic primary care with the International Primary Care Educational Alliance and DOCARE International. 

Q: What kind of person makes the best osteopathic family physician?
I believe the kind of person that makes the best osteopathic family physician is an individual who really wants to make a positive difference for his/her patients and the community. This can be done through practicing great osteopathic medicine but also through advocacy, education, and leadership.

: What is your best advice for students who are undecided?
Undecided means that decisions need to be made. Therefore, you can start on deciding on the following three things:

  1. Decide if you want to go in to the medical field or the surgical field.
  2. Decide if you want to spend a lot of time inside the hospital or in the outpatient setting.
  3. Decide if you want to take care of a broad range of patients (primary care) or relatively
    narrow spectrum of patients (sub-specialty).

If you picture yourself in the outpatient medical setting taking care of a broad range of patients (age and illnesses) with the goal of keeping them healthy and out of the hospital, then family medicine is the specialty for you!

: What is your favorite aspect of osteopathic family medicine?
I love the broad range of medical knowledge and skills that I learned during my residency to be a very well-rounded doctor. However, my favorite thing is my ability to use my hands to feel what’s causing a problem for someone and then making them feel better with OMT without having to write a single order or prescription!

: Why did you go into osteopathic family medicine?
I did not know I wanted to go in to family medicine. During my medical school years, I enjoyed just about every rotation I did in my 3rd and 4th years. So instead of choosing just one specialty, I chose all of them! Family Medicine!

I also wanted to be a doctor who could see any patient of any age in any setting with whatever was ailing them. In other words, I wanted to be a comprehensive doctor. I also wanted to build lasting relationships with the people I take care of. When someone talked about “my doctor”, I wanted to be that doctor.

: What have your mentors taught you?
My mentors have taught me the politics of navigating life and have also guided me onto paths that I would never have thought of taking by myself. Further, I’ve learned that mentors can be your closest friends. The joys of your successes can be shared with someone else without worries of seeming self-important or self-promoting. This is because to a mentor, the successful advancements of a mentee are very rewarding and meaningful. It’s a little like when a physician experiences fulfillment when a sick patient has a successful health outcome. We celebrate together!

Q: What specific questions should students ask their mentors?
I think a meaningful relationship with a mentor is very personal and should be a long-lasting one. Therefore, I would put much thought into choosing a mentor. If there is someone you look up to, someone you want to emulate, someone you want to be in a mentoring relationship with, I think the most serious question you should ask is “Would you be willing to be my mentor?”. Yes, it can be a little awkward or intimidating because that person, for justified reasons, could say “no”. However, I believe that two people must want to enter into a relationship together for it to be truly meaningful.

Published November, 2015