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A New Journey for Me, as a New Board of Director

Dr. Michael Foti, a newly elected member of the NYS Osteopathic Medical Society, shares his personal story on mental health.

May 3, 2024

(We featured the author of this article, Dr. Foti, in an episode of our SERIES, SoMeDocs Conversations. You can watch or listen here).

 

As I have traversed this ever growing journey through osteopathic medical education, I have fallen in love with the role itself: educator.

From my most appreciative students who are constantly grateful for the time I commit to their learning and growth, to my fellow colleagues who have inspired my professional growth as well, this journey keeps on getting better and better.

I have always known myself to be a natural born leader, and how important a role that is. I know, too, just how much I can affect change on a broader scale should I be given such an opportunity.

 

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Then, came a thought.

In the Fall of 2023, I knew I had a story to share and share it I did.

At the height of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic I was an intern thrown into the chaos of the frontlines.

I witnessed suffering and death on a scale I never thought imaginable. As if the unfortunate circumstances were meant to continue, I also tragically lost my mother who passed away suddenly from complications of stage IV lung cancer. These were truly the darkest times of my life.

I later manifested severe anxiety and depression, and experienced a shame I never thought possible. I felt like a failure; I felt as if I had failed all the expectations from those around me that I was meant to be a doctor.

I felt I failed myself, my wife, and my son.

I shuttered away in my basement, ashamed and embarrassed to look them in the eyes.

Eventually, though, I mustered the courage to get the help I needed. If not for me but for my wife and my son I was going to get that help I so desperately needed, and so I did.

 

I felt I failed myself, my wife, and my son. I shuttered away in my basement, ashamed and embarrassed to look them in the eyes.

 

In sharing this story to my students during the last Fall semester, I experienced moments I never thought I would.

The amount of gratitude and support from my wonderful students was awe inspiring. In the most amazing of ways, this has led to a domino effect of platforms I have been given to share my story. Most honorably of these was being invited by the National Academy of Medicine to speak alongside our US Surgeon General on physician wellness at the Inaugural Health Workforce Wellbeing Day this past March.

I share my story because I do not want even a single person more to suffer in silence as I had.

For too long, the stigma of mental health among healthcare workers has been perpetuated by the culture of medicine so that we are afraid to speak up and get the help we need. Well, I am here to share my story so others will feel empowered to get the help they truly need as I did. In a wonderful turn of events, I have written a book to detail these very experiences in my continued efforts to reach as many people as I can and empower them to get the help they need. It will be out this summer on Amazon.

 

For too long, the stigma of mental health among healthcare workers has been perpetuated by the culture of medicine so that we are afraid to speak up and get the help we need. Well, I am here to share my story so others will feel empowered… Click To Tweet

 

This path led to my nomination for a position as a member of the Board of Directors for the NYS Osteopathic Medical Society, which was voted on and approved this past April. I am honored and humbled by this opportunity to serve the osteopathic profession in NY.

I will continue to share my story, to lead, and to help the growth of our profession in every which way I can.

My journey has only just begun…

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. For more information, or to submit your own opinion, please see our submission guidelines or email opmed@doximity.com. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Find out what we’re looking for here and submit your writing, or send us a pitch.

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Submit your own article now here.

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