Collaboration is key to Alliance events’ success
Daily Health Walks hosted by the OMS Foundation Alliance, a staple of the AAOMS Annual Meeting for 28 years, trace their origins and longevity to a pharmacist’s passion for fitness, an enduring friendship and an appreciation of how one can beget the other. The friendship between Garry Persons (pharmacist, jogger, humanitarian healthcare volunteer and current President of Canfield, Inc.) and Dr. Bill Frantzich (AAOMS member and inventor of The Jaw Bra) embodies the spirit of fellowship and fun that also defines the Alliance. As collaborators, they were a natural fit.
During his first career as a pharmacist, Mr. Persons organized and led daily jogs (and a Fastest Pharmacist Race!) at the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists’ annual meetings. When he switched gears to launch Canfield, Inc., he floated a proposal to AAOMS for a daily jog during its Annual Meeting, offering to provide T-shirts for participants.
His idea found a collaborator in the newly launched OMS Foundation Alliance; a social walk along Miami Beach at the 1996 Annual Meeting meshed perfectly with the Alliance’s mission to foster lasting friendships among AAOMS spouses and families. The walks became a fixture of the AAOMS meetings, and vintage Health Walk T-shirts remain a prized possession among the many participants who return every year. Dr. Frantzich, whose Jaw Bra was marketed by Canfield, was an enthusiastic collaborator, offering financial support for a post-walk breakfast for participants to enhance the networking experience.
The Alliance introduced its Norma L. Kelly Resident Spouse Scholarships in 2008, providing financial assistance for resident spouses to attend the AAOMS Annual Meeting. In 2011, OMSNIC committed to annual support of the Kelly Scholarships; its annual gifts (now $7,500/year) have helped 63 resident spouses attend the Annual Meeting as guests of the Alliance. At the meetings, daily Health Walks and Networking Breakfasts have helped these newcomers find their place in the AAOMS community, fostering friendships that continue to inspire joyful reunions each year.
Dr. Valerie Burks, a practicing dentist and 2018 Kelly Scholar, expressed her gratitude in 2023 when she joined the Alliance Committee as a volunteer. “I enjoyed the chance to see my husband’s (Dr. Matthew Burks) world, to meet the people who have made an impact on his career – including his future employer – and to learn from the other spouses how they juggled the conflicting priorities of family, residency, dual careers, etc. The experience helped cement us as a team as he launched his OMS career.”
In 2018, the Alliance dedicated its fundraising efforts – including Annual Meeting event proceeds – to support the Foundation’s Global Initiative for Volunteerism and Education (GIVE), becoming the primary funding source of $2,500 travel stipends for residents serving with international humanitarian healthcare teams. OMSNIC has donated $2,500 to GIVE each year since 2019, and Canfield initiated its annual contribution of $5,000 in 2021. To date, 25 residents have received GIVE stipends thanks to the generosity of these corporate partners and countless individual donors. As an AAOMS exhibitor and a veteran humanitarian healthcare volunteer, Mr. Persons said he views Canfield’s support of the Alliance and GIVE as a win-win. “There are some things in life that just seem to fit,” he said. “This is one of them. This is a way to give back and thank the OMSs who have supported us for so many years.”
Please join us for this year’s Health Walks in San Diego or virtually by registering here.