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VCOM Dean Kowalski Highlights the Power of Touch at OMED in Seattle

With a focus on the stresses and strains of childhood, the joint session with ACONP, AOAAM and ACOP at the Osteopathic Medical Exposition and Conference on October 25-29, 2014 in Seattle opened with a look at “Anaclytic Depression and Infant Development.”

Timothy Kowalski, DO, FACN, dean of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Carolinas campus and an osteopathic child psychiatrist whose fellowship training included the study of developmental milestones in children and adolescents, framed his topic through the lens that study from which emerged an appreciation of the power of touch beginning in infancy and continued into adulthood.

“This lecture discussed the importance of loving touch between a mother (or caretaker) to the normal development of an infant,” he said. “I will discuss the consequences of inappropriate physical nurturing to child development.”

He cited examples of early research using an animal model by Harry Harlow, PhD, conducted in the 1950s and outcomes of war orphaned infants following WWII by Renee Spitz, MD, to the development of anaclytic depression and increased infant mortality following lack of appropriate infant nurturing. He also explored the outcomes of poor bonding on orphans in Romania.

“The lecture highlighted ways some have proactively worked with orphan caregivers and professionals working with pre-mature and other infants to stimulate infants in developing normally,” he said.

The importance of the mother-infant bond and different types of attachment that occur between the infant and mother were also explored.

This session at OMED also covered sexual trauma and substance abuse, how the DSM-5 addresses substance-related and addictive disorders, and working with marginalized and traumatized youth.