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About KCOA
Kent County Osteopathic Association seeks to advocate for the physicians of Kent County, advance the science and practice of osteopathic medicine, and provide an arena for osteopathic physicians to support and educate each other and their community.
Michigan Osteopathic Association
American Osteopathic Association
Kent County Osteopathic Association
A Brief History of the Kent County Osteopathic Association (formerly known as the Kent County Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons)

The Michigan Osteopathic Journal, of April 1928, reports of a meeting of the Western Branch of Michigan Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons.  The Western branch, which is believed to be what, became known as Kent County Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (now Kent County Osteopathic Association) met on March 8, 1928.  

Minutes of the March 8, 1928 meeting report:  “The organization went on record to make an annual contract for the distribution of copies of Osteopathic Magazine.

A committee was appointed to consider ways and means of organizing a Grand Rapids Osteopathic Free Clinic.  Dr. William H. Bethune of Grand Rapids was able to secure the cooperation of the City Welfare Department in a case unable to pay for a needed operation.  The Welfare Department will pay the hospital bills incurred and Dr. Bethune is to do the work gratis.”

In 1938, the members of the Kent County Society of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons were presented in the 40th Annual Convention of Members for the State of Michigan.   The Society’s Officers were:

President: Harry A. MacNaughton, DO
Vice-President: Robert T. Lustig, DO
Secretary: Ellen VanAllsburg, DO
Treasurer: Preston M. Wells, DO

In 1940, the Directory of Members of the Kent County Society of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons stated the following Society Officers:

President: M.K. Conklin, D.O.
Vice-President: H.O. Messmore, DO
Secretary: Owen A. Rice, DO
Treasurer: Winifred McLravy, DO

In 1941, The Bulletin – the official publication of the Michigan Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons, Inc. reported Kent County Society of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons:

President: William H. Bethune, DO
Vice President: P.M. Wells, DO
Secretary: Owen A. Rice, DO
Treasurer: Irving H. Walters, DO
Program Chairman: H.O. Messmore, DO

The Michigan Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons issue of The Bulletin, September 1942, featured the following article:

Grand Rapids Osteopathic Hospital to Open Soon

Work on the Grand Rapids Osteopathic Hospital is being rushed to completion for occupancy early in October, according to Dr. Harry MacNaughton, chairman of the board of trustees.  It was originally planned to open the new hospital October 3, coincident with the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Osteopathic Education, but delays on certain scarce building materials and priorities on certain pieces of equipment will cause the actual opening to be postponed, it was stated.

Completing the organized drive for finances with which to buy, furnish, and remodel the hospital building, the Kent County Association teams of doctors and laymen raised $32,678 in subscriptions, to date.  The goal is $50,000, and includes an endowment fund of $8,000.  The solicitations will continue until all names of prospects are contacted, it was announced by Dr. Winifred McLravy, Chairman of the finance committee.  Dr. William H. Bethune and Dr. Robert T. Lustig will captain two “clean-up” teams comprised of local doctors and a few lay helpers.

The teams of Dr. H.O. Messmore and Dr. Lustig shared honors in the drive with the greatest number of subscription and the greatest amount of money from subscriptions, respectively.  Dr. Warren G. Hooper was in charge of the drive.  

In 1942, a handful of Osteopathic physicians in Grand Rapids had a dream – to build a hospital of their own, dedicated to the osteopathic principles of holistic and patient-centered care.  Overseeing the operation of the new hospital was Louis M. Monger, DO.  A surgeon at Detroit Osteopathic Hospital for the previous 10 years, he had been brought on board to serve as hospital superintendent, medical director and chief surgeon.   The Grand Rapids Osteopathic Hospital, located at 1225 Lake Drive, in Grand Rapids, was previously the residence of the Bishop of Grand Rapids Roman Catholic diocese.

The Bulletin, January 1943 reported Officers of Kent County Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons:

President: Irving H. Walters, DO
Vice-President: Ivan L. Taylor, DO
Secretary-Treasurer: James V.  Porcelli, DO
Corresponding Secretary: Winifred E. McLravy, DO