OCAF President’s Message 

Did you know that giving money can make you happy?

As physicians, I thought I would appeal to your generous nature by quoting from a series of studies on brain function and donations: Giving money and seeing money go toward a good cause stimulate pleasure centers deep in the brain. (NIH Research Matters 06-22-07)

The greatest benefit (of course) are medical students on the receiving end of your scholarship contributions. You have made it possible for them to train with senior physicians who refuse to lower the academic bar in our specialty. They deserve an opportunity to become the next generation of gifted Osteopaths.

“I am beyond grateful to the donors because I would not have been able to attend this (OCA) course otherwise,” wrote a second-year resident who attended the 2023 Introductory Course. Medical students frequently write to us about feeling burned-out, but regain a passion for the uniqueness of Osteopathic medicine after taking our course.

“I left Colorado with both a revitalized spirit and a new found exuberance to continue my journey in Osteopathy,” wrote another resident who attended the 2023 course. The last message reads as a personal thank-you to all of us: “To the generous donors who provided scholarships … I offer my deepest gratitude.” The scholarship recipient went on to stress the course is not complementary to the curriculum at her medical school, but an essential replacement to the growing gap in offering OMM labs and lectures.

This is just a minor sampling of what it meant for medical students to receive more than $90,000 in scholarships to attend OCA courses since 2022.

No one in our organization is naive about the necessity to teach future Osteopaths to think creatively and maintain the integrity of our specialty.

Your contributions are going to stretch a lot further and reach more students — owing to two amazing executives who have joined our ranks: Ms. Alethea Caldwell Munsinger, who was a top executive with the hospital network, Cedars-Sinai; and her assistant and colleague, Gretchen Weinzimer.

My first thought about Ms. Caldwell Munsinger was: “We can’t afford her.” Dr. John Reed, who recommended the executive, assured me that she fell within our budget. She is basically donating her invaluable time by accepting an annual salary of $1.00.

Her commitment to the Foundation (and especially the art of Osteopathy) is equal to many of us Osteo-lifers.

I remember Ms. Caldwell Munsinger saying Cedars-Sinai received such an inordinate amount of money one year — they didn’t know what to do with it. One day I hope the Foundation is confronted with the same perplexing fund-raising situation.

They are slowly moving us in that direction, making changes that have transformed our modest non-profit. To date, they completely revamped our website (bringing us out of the Jurassic era to where you could donate on line and learn how your money was spent): restructured our banking and accounting systems (instituting increased security measures); and developed fund-raising programs to expand the network of donations along with our teaching and research resources for students enrolling in OCA courses.

The many ideas they’ve brought to the table have been embraced by the board. I never once heard a “yes, but” to squelch proposed projects. They’ve even suggested the long-overdue idea of bringing non-physicians onto the board who are in a position to offer valuable business and financial advice while serving in the capacity as contributors.

This push toward change has even inspired a few of our physicians to become more bold in an area outside of their venue: fund-raising. Dr. Christopher Stephenson, one of the Foundation’s Physician Directors at Large, created a “Pay It Forward,” program: A reference to the recipient of the gift of Osteopathy— in turn — paying the gift forward.

He has chutzpah (Yiddish for nerve) in making OCAF scholarship information available to grateful patients. His program has generated more than $26,000 in less than a year. Mazel tov to Dr. Stephenson.

As you all know, the most valuable gift physicians can give is their time. The board wishes to offer special thanks to Dr. Hollis King for his tremendous 10-year contribution serving as VP and physician director. He promises to continue supporting OCAF’s research mission.

It was only fitting that two of our most prominent physician-contributors would agree to act as new members of the board. They are incoming treasurer Dr. Richard Feely, who succeeds Dr. John Reed; and Dr. Quoc Vo as incoming secretary — also succeeding Dr. Reed. As a personal note, I found Dr. Reed’s amazing work ethic (in a field of workaholics) and dedication to be awe-inspiring. His presence on the Board will be much missed in the future.

Please find the honor-roll call below listing many of your colleagues and public supporters who have been exceedingly generous in their past donations:

$230,000.00 The Orange County Community Foundation, Anonymous Donor
$79,774.50 The Earl F. Frisbie Trust
$38,925.00 Ilene Spector, D.O., Ph.D.
$37,279.00 Melvin Friedman,D.O., FCA
$34,750.00 David Coffey, D.O., FAAODist, FCA
$34,544.88 R. Paul Lee, D.O., FAAO, FCA
$31,941.53 Richard Feely, D.O., FCA
$30,000.00 Anonymous – In Honor of Mark E. Rosen, D.O., FCA
$30,000.00 Anonymous – From a Generous Patron

Eric J. Dolgin, D.O., FCA, President

Eric J. Dolgin, D.O., FCA, President