LECOM Observes Constitution Day

Students at all Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine campuses took time Friday, Sept. 17 to learn more about the United States Constitution during the College’s annual Constitution Day observance.

Michael Rigelsky, Esq., an Ohio-based attorney with the firm Roetzel & Andress, spoke to first-year medical and pharmacy students in Erie about the Constitution as it relates to a citizen’s right to privacy.

Michael Rigelsky, Esq. speaks to first year medical students about privacy rights in the U.S. Constitituion.

“The word privacy is never mentioned in the Constitution,” Rigelsky explained. “The Supreme Court has held that privacy is implicit.”

He said the concept of privacy is included in the constitution, but the issue has been a longstanding topic of debate between strict constructionists and those with a more liberal viewpoint.

Regan Shabloski, DO, LECOM’s Director of Clinical Education, spoke to second-year medical and pharmacy students in Erie about the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787. He explained how the Constitution was drafted in fewer than 100 working days, and told the students that Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson and John Adams did not sign the document because they were serving as ambassadors overseas.

In Greensburg, PA, Irv Freeman, PhD, JD, Vice President of LECOM at Seton Hill, led his students in a spirited discussion of substantive due process. Students examined a recent Supreme Court case and shared their opinions with their classmates.

Ross Kurland (OMS-II) speaks with Mary Hawk, Esq., during LECOM Bradenton's Constitution Day event on Sept. 17.

Dr. Freeman said future doctors should have a working knowledge of the Constitution and the U.S. Government.

“Physicians are often leaders in their local communities and sometimes leaders on a larger stage. Physician-governors have lead states and physician-legislators have served in both houses of Congress,” Freeman said.

At LECOM’s Bradenton, FL campus, attorney Mary Hawk, ESQ, a principal at the law firm of Porges, Hamlin, Knowles, Prouty, PA, spoke on constitutional issues that future osteopathic physicians may face when they enter the profession: childhood vaccinations, organ donation and recent case law regarding disputes over frozen embryos.

“All 50 states mandate childhood vaccinations for children to enroll in public schools,” said Ms. Hawk to LECOM’s first and second-year medical students. “Forty-eight of those (states) do have statutory exemptions based on religious beliefs, which have been upheld pursuant to the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion.”

Constitution Day is an American federal holiday that recognizes the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. It is observed on Sept. 17, the day the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the document in 1787. The law establishing Constitution Day as a holiday was created in 2004. In May 2005, the U.S. Department of Education announced the enactment of this law, which applies to any school receiving federal funds of any kind.

Though it is a relatively new holiday, more and more educational institutions have taken major steps to incorporate discussion about the U.S. Constitution and the government.


The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and LECOM School of Pharmacy offer innovative and affordable education in osteopathic medicine and pharmacy. From campuses in Erie, Pennsylvania, Greensburg, Pennsylvania and Bradenton, Florida, LECOM provides student-centered pathways to prepare the next generation of healthcare professionals. Prepare yourself for medicine as your life’s profession.

September 20, 2010
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