Alisha Harrington – Washington State

Alisha is a resident of Washington State and attends Western University of Health Sciences, COMP-NW. She is a third-year medical student and is the recipient of the Giving Back Scholarship Award.

Alisha told us of a friend who struggled with a significant loss. “Grief is a multifaceted non-linear process with no apparent path. Those treading the murky waters of despair know that what seems like a merely emotional process often becomes lodged in the structural body”.

She went on to describe how treating her friend as a whole person, mind-body-spirit, helped her friend resolve her physical ailments. “Recognizing that emotional discomfort is processed in the same brain region as physical pain, we started by addressing her somatic complaints. As I treated her structural dysfunction with osteopathic manipulation, she began opening up about her emotional distress. The more she expressed her emotions, the more the physical structures of her body unwound, allowing her emotionally charged thought patterns to release. After each treatment, she had a significant improvement in her symptoms until they eventually resolved. My friend’s journey strengthened my understanding of the osteopathic principles”.

Robyn Dreibelbis, DO/Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine for Western University of Health Sciences, COMP-Northwest, had this to say about Alisha, “In her short time at COMP-Northwest, Alisha has been involved in many school and community outreach and educations projects through her volunteer efforts, including serving as President of the Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of Oregon (OPSO), educating and mentoring local area children in the value of food as medicine and teaching them how to cook in order to improve nutritional choices through a program called CHEF, working in the STEAM project as a student leader and developer, leading a weekly yoga session in the MEDWell Program on campus (open to students/staff/faculty), and participating in the Lifestyle Medicine Longitudinal Track where students gain additional education in the knowledge and skills related to the lifestyle determinants of health, which is integral to patients care”.

Dr. Dreibelbis goes on to say, “Alisha wants to make a positive impact on this world at every level, at home, in her community, and globally. She is a genuine, intelligent, compassionate, and driven person who has a heart to serve others”.

Alisha says this about her future as a physician, “The role of policy in health and wellness cannot be overstated. After several years of board service and legislative committee participation in medical associations, healthcare providers’ importance in legislation is clear to me. Continuing to strive for policy regulation that provides a foundation of health for my community, I will remain an active member of local and national osteopathic medical associations”.

The Foundation agrees with that observation, Alisha, and we look forward to seeing you make a difference on several levels in the future. Congratulations and job well done.

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