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Statement: A Message from AACOM President and CEO, Stephen Shannon, DO, MPH

Our central mission is to improve the health of the American public and to provide future physicians skills and training to cultivate the essential expertise necessary to serve patients across the nation. The foundation of our mission is built on the sanctity of the physician-patient relationship. The very core of our philosophy starts with the trust that exists between patients and their physicians. This is a moral and professional obligation we swore an oath to uphold.

The cornerstone of this most intimate, trusting of relationships between a physician and patient was violated by an individual who has been recently convicted of heinous crimes that included the betrayal of all standards of the moral and professional decency of our profession, including our code of ethics. Larry Nassar was rightfully convicted in a court of law and the court of public opinion for the heartbreaking and damaging pain inflicted on the young girls and women who were his victims.

As a professional organization dedicated to training physicians to embody all that is just and good in improving health in service to the American public, we are deeply saddened and outraged. We cannot undo the pain; however, we can take decisive steps to help prevent this abuse from ever again being perpetrated on any patient.

To advance this commitment, AACOM has formed a Task Force on Ethics and Professionalism, chaired by Margaret Wilson, DO, Dean, Professor of the Department of Family Medicine, Preventive Medicine & Community Health at A.T. Still University of Health Sciences-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. This distinguished group will be charged with evaluating the professional standards and ethics, assessing any changes in curriculum design, and making any and all necessary recommendations to further strengthen every aspect of our educational system and professional standards.

It is vital—indeed, our highest calling—that we put our patients first. It is my goal that we emerge from this terrible injustice with a stronger sense of purpose and determination to advance the well-being and health of the American public whom we serve.