Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine
(LUCOM) welcomes newly elected American Osteo-
pathic Association (AOA) Speaker of the House,
Ray L. Morrison, D.O., as Chair of Surgery in the
Department of Specialty Medicine. Dr. Morrison is
an AOA board-certified surgeon and Fellow of the
American College of Osteopathic Surgeons (ACOS).
The AOA is a national professional membership
organization comprised of more than 104,000
osteopathic physicians (D.O.s) and osteopathic
medical students throughout the nation.
Dr. Morrison comes to Liberty having served as an
assistant professor of surgery in the Department
of Rural and Family Practice at the University of
North Texas Health Science Center – Texas College
of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC/TCOM) in Fort
Worth, Texas. Prior to, he completed a rotating internship at the former Northeast Community Hospital in Bedford, Texas, followed by residency training at the former Fort Worth Osteopathic Medical Center in Fort Worth; the former Dallas/Fort Worth Medical Center in Grand Prairie, Texas; and at Springfield Hospital in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, serving as chief resident.
“From the beginning I have always had an interest in surgery. It has always been my love,” said Dr. Morrison. “It is the gratification of relinquishing the disease process in a more expedient fashion that satisfies me most.”
In September 1991, Dr. Morrison first began his great love of surgery practicing in his native land (Texas) as what he calls a “country doctor.” As he remembers, the Medicare and Medicaid population was underserved, even in his large town, thus establishing a fairly large practice was quite easy. “I became involved with the primary and surgical needs of my patients. I found myself affecting a lot of lives, many of whom became very dear to me,” Dr. Morrison said. Very soon into his practice, challenges quickly arose as Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) were establishing a firm foothold within insurance. Considering he was board certified in surgery, Dr. Morrison opted to solely focus on surgical practice.
Having felt limited at his base hospital due to those insurance challenges, he and his wife (Pamela) felt led to relocate. In a manner that can only be described as God ordained, an opportunity availed itself in Crockett, Texas, where they spent the last 15 years.
Joining a clinical partner who was very active in surgical trauma and heavily involved politically, he and Dr. Morrison began accepting medical students for their summer four-week vacation after their first year in medical school. “These trips with the med students were a real joy, not just for us as instructors, but for them. Their exposure was immensely heightened to a level of surgical training and a uniqueness of rural exposure,” said Dr. Morrison. Though not common for most students in medical school, these trips became very popular; so much that the surgical student organizations were able to travel as part of their elective rotations within their third year. Eventually the trips became part of a rural track under the Family Practice department at TCOM, later formally organized in the Rural Osteopathic Medical Education (ROMETx) program. In this capacity Dr. Morrison became a formal instructor (assistant professor) in the core rotation of third year students at TCOM.
Now serving at LUCOM, Dr. Morrison recalls those instructional moments as an early sign of yearning to teach full time. “My love of teaching those students in Texas became the natural outgrowth for search of a more full time teaching position. In looking at my life from a young age, I truly feel that the Lord has opened doors in a very directed pattern leading up to this new chapter in my life at Liberty,” Dr. Morrison added.
In addition to his academic endeavors, Dr. Morrison has an extensive and impressive history within executive leadership. Prior to his newest appointment as the speaker for the AOA, Dr. Morrison also served the AOA in other capacities, including member of the Bureau of State Government Affairs, Constitution and Bylaws Committee, and the Committee on Governance and Organizational Structure. Furthermore, he continues to serve on the Board of Governors for the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons. Most recently, he served four years as Speaker of the House and 10 years as Vice Speaker of the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association. “I consider myself a true advocate of organizational policy,” Dr. Morrison added. “To be included within any osteopathic executive leadership is a respectable honor.”
The inaugural class for LUCOM will begin this upcoming August. Eager to begin his work and be a part of the students’ education, Dr. Morrison said, “We are in very strange days as it comes to medicine. The evolution of medicine, as well as medical education today is certainly at a turning point. I truly believe that Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine may stand at the pinnacle of a leadership role to create a program that may lead us into the next generation of physicians. Furthermore, I believe that with an upcoming physician shortage, Liberty will certainly be able to supply the needs of not only this region, but underserved regions across the world.”
“Dr. Morrison is a true advocate of osteopathic medical education. He has served on multiple medical organizational boards and within areas of parliamentary. His experience enables him to provide excellent leadership within the Department of Specialty Medicine,” added Dr. Ronnie Martin, dean of Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine. “There is no doubt that Dr. Morrison has a desire to provide his surgical experience and expertise to students of the COM. With his leadership and experience, we will develop a premier surgical residency that will train competent community-based surgeons and provide for future needs of this region. We are honored to have him serve at Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine.”