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A History of Country Doctor Clinics - continued

Through the years, Dale Alsager maintained a “fascination” with this type of medicine, though he wasn’t always able to find an osteopath when he needed a doctor. By the late 1980’s, Dr. Alsager reached a crossroad in his career as a professor. “My family was nearly grown, and we had a window of opportunity – some freedom to pursue other interests,” he said. He decided to go back to school to achieve his lifelong goal of becoming a doctor.

Betty was quite pleased. “I knew he was ready for a change, and this seemed ideal,” she said. “He’d suggested a few other possibilities that didn’t suit him. Medicine did.” However, Betty admits that she wasn’t sure she knew what osteopathy was.

Dale was accepted by the Kirksville College of Osteopathy in Kirksville, Missouri – the first osteopathic medical institution, founded by Dr. Still in 1892.

Dale and Betty agree the next step was the hardest: selling their home and leaving Seattle and their family. “We cried halfway to Missouri,” said Dale. By comparison, returning to an academic environment at the age of 46 was easy.

“I was so motivated I wanted to learn everything,” said Dale. He set a record for never missing a class. In fact, he usually was the first one in his seat. He tutored his classmates, particularly in anatomy and other subjects in which he had a strong background.

“It was surprising how my classmates treated me as an equal. I was included in intramural sports, fraternities, parties and social events.” Looking back, Dale realizes that some of his instructors were younger than he was, though he didn’t notice at the time. “Age was not an issue,” he said. “I was feeling young.”

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