Donatine Afful MA '20 (biomedicine), in his third year of studies at Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, was recently appointed education subcommittee co-chair for the American Osteopathic College of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. (Courtesy photo)

Biomedicine alum named to American Osteopathic College of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation committee

Donatine Afful MA ’20 (biomedicine), in his third year of studies at Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, was recently appointed education subcommittee co-chair for the American Osteopathic College of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. Afful joins colleagues from Lincoln Memorial University, DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine on the committee.

The organization is “dedicated to providing leadership for the PMR profession and to providing a home to all osteopathic PMR physicians,” according to their website.

Afful says his responsibilities are “to create educational programs and resources that inform AOCPMR members and the public about physical medicine and rehabilitation, including the various subspecialities.” 

He is among many EMU biomedicine program alumni to head into osteopathy, a medical profession that prioritizes “a whole-person approach to care by focusing on looking beyond symptoms to understand how lifestyle and environmental factors impact wellbeing.”

Nearly 78 percent of the program’s graduates successfully go on to medical school.

Afful especially enjoyed working with Professor Kristopher Schmidt, his thesis advisor. “He is a great mentor and always went above and beyond for his students,” he said. Read more about biomedicine thesis topics.

Afful will graduate from ACOM in 2024. He says he’s motivated in his chosen profession by the opportunity “to directly impact the lives of others [and] to help others in their most vulnerable state.”

“Additionally, I relish the relationships medicine allows me to create with members of the healthcare team and patients,” he said. “I am of the belief that what matters most in life is how you impact others’ lives.”

In summer 2021, Afful participated in an externship for first-year students at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab where he contributed to a top-placing research project in genetic expression profiles and biomarkers of pain in individuals with a spinal cord injury. Shirley Ryan is a nationally ranked rehabilitation center in Chicago, Illinois.

“Understanding of these biomarkers may one day play a role in our understanding of post-spinal cord injury pain,” he explained, “and could lead to the development of more interventions to treat patients who might suffer from chronic neuropathic pain.”

Afful worked with recruitment into and retention throughout the study. One of his tasks was to stay in contact with participants and encourage them to return to the center “to complete blood draws and post-discharge surveys.”

He also read widely into the literature on neuropathic pain and wrote summaries of 15 papers. 

Prior to his studies at EMU, Afful was a biologist with IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group in Glen Allen, Virginia. He graduated from James Madison University in 2017 with a degree in biology.

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