New UNECOM Dean

Dr. Jane Carreiro is
a Passionate Advocate for the Profession
Spent Decades at the Forefront of Leadership in US and Abroad
By: Andrew P. Peck

jane-arreiro-do-WEBRESJane E. Carreiro, DO has been a national and international leader in osteopathic medicine for decades. She will now have the opportunity to lead at her alma mater after being named the next dean of the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine on July 19th. Dr. Carreiro, who has served as Director of Graduate Medical Education at UNECOM since 2009, will begin her appointment on November 1, 2016. In addition to her twenty-three year tenure at UNE, Dr. Carreiro holds a visiting faculty position at the Winer Schule fur Osteopathie in Vienna, Austria and is Honorary Chief of Pediatric Manual Medicine for the Deutsche Geselishaft fur Osteopathische Medizin in Manheim, Germany. She has served as faculty and medical consultant at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University in Melbourne, Australia; the European School for Osteopathy in Maidstone, England; and the Osteopathic Centre for Children in London. Her research interests include pediatric OMM and the innervation patterns of functional anatomy of the spine and pelvis.

William M. Foley, DO, President of the Massachusetts Osteopathic Society, applauded his longtime colleague’s promotion.

”Jane is one of the best educators I have ever met.” Dr. Foley said. “Jane will fight for what she believes is right and at the same time listen to every other point of view. She is humble and diplomatic but uncompromising when it comes to quality. I have no doubt she is not only a great choice for Dean but the best choice.”

Upon learning of her appointment, Dr. Carreiro spoke with massosteopathic.org about her career and continued connection with the osteopathic community.

How does it feel to be named the new Dean at UNECOM?

It feels great. I’m over the moon about it. I get to continue to look for opportunities so our students can fall in love with the primary practice of rural medicine, working with the underserved. It’s a passion of mine. There is a long tradition of serving those in need here at this school and I think we want to really embrace that in as many ways possible. Through research, service, education and all those wonderful things we do, we can enrich people’s lives.

When you began studying medicine what interested you most about the osteopathic philosophy?

It’s the connection to the natural world that makes osteopathic medicine really different. It involves observing and interacting with the patient as an individual. When we do surgery or prescribe medication that is for the symptom. But with OMT you are really observing and interacting with the physiological human being as an individual. You can talk, you can counsel, etc. but that touch and that kinesthetic recognition of the patient is invaluable. I tell the students all the time about learning how to have compassionate touch.

What is the most important message you would send to students who are interested in practicing pediatric medicine?

Go for it. Put your hands on. The children are our future. They are the ones who are going to be taking care of us in our old age.

What are the main differences for medical students today compared to your own experience?

I went to medical school right at the cusp of when women doctors were becoming less rare. The fact that you were a woman was more prevalent and in your face. You would have some men saying the most horrendous things. Not everyone of course, but it could still happen and nobody would bat an eye. Most of the times, the men you worked with, the other residents were great but it would have been the folks who had graduated many years ago and still had the misconception about what you were capable of. Nowadays it’s so rare to see that but back then it was not so rare.

The other thing that has changed widely is that on some level the psychological expectations that young men and women have of themselves has changed. There is a softening of the lines between them. It has become more acceptable for men to express that part of them that wants to be more gentle and caring and empathetic. Women can be more fiery and aggressive in a way that comes across as powerful and strong. That blurring is very good for society. In other parts of the world you still don’t see that and it can be surprising.

What benefits do you foresee after the passing of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA)?

It’s going to expand opportunities for education and prevention and help with an understanding of use and misuse. It also talks about teens and parent and the criminal justice system and other stakeholders so it’s very broadminded. I like the increased disposal sites for medications. Patients come in all the time and they have medications they no longer want or need and they get fed up with them sitting there. We can’t take them so obviously they throw them out – then they either go into the environment or to the trash where somebody could see them and get ahold of them. It seems like it’s a small thing but I think it’s a very big thing.

You’re researching the possibility of adding OMT to the treatment of middle ear infections. Do you have anything you’d like to share regarding that research and your findings so far?

Dr. Karen Steele and I have been working on this research for a number of years. It would be great if it could be used in practice with some of the residency programs and combined with our data. In our clinics here we do use the protocol and follow the kids with the acoustic reflectometer. We have a huge following from the community docs who don’t do OMT. In the clinics where we train students there is quite a large pediatric patient population. Everybody is all about the patient and giving people a tool in their tool box. We’d love to be able to replicate it.

You’re a member of a number of state and national osteopathic associations, including, the American Osteopathic Association, Maine Osteopathic Association, where you’ve served on the board. You’re also chairman of the Osteopathic International Alliance and Past-President of the American Academy of Osteopathy. In your opinion, what are the greatest benefits of belonging to these osteopathic professional groups?

I tell my students that these groups are your family. You walk into a room full of physicians and you can always pick out the DOs. They are hugging and touching and even when they disagree they support each other. We’re a big enough profession that we have to have that connection.