Who is White House Physician Sean Conley, DO?

October 5, 2020

He has been treating the most powerful man in the world for two years, why are his qualifications as the first doctor of osteopathic medicine to hold the post of physician to the president being called into question now?

As news broke late last week about President Donald J. Trump’s testing positive for COVID-19 the country turned its eyes to the physician tasked with healing the chief executive of the U.S.

But who is White House Physician Sean P. Conley, the first Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine to hold the post?

Conley, DO, 40, is a Naval officer who took over the role of the president’s personal physician after the former holder of that post, Ronny Jackson, MD, was nominated to lead the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in March 2018. Jackson ultimately withdrew his nomination after documents surfaced summarizing allegations against the doctor including overprescribing pills and drinking on the job, according to a contemporary report from Politico.

Conley is a native of Doylestown, Pa., and graduated from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2006. He completed his Navy emergency medicine residency program in 2013, during which he was awarded the Nurses’ Choice Award for Outstanding Senior Resident Award, the Resident Research Award and the Honor Graduate Award, according to a report from thedo.osteopathic.org.

He served as chief of trauma for the NATO Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit in Afghanistan where he was part of the team which oversaw the care of six Romanian soldiers were struck by an improvised explosive device while conducting a mounted patrol, according to a news report from the U.S. Army.

"It's a reminder of the resiliency of the human body, and it's amazing what you can do when you have the right tools and the team that works with efficiency to make it happen,” Conley is quoted as saying in the Army story.

The first notice many Americans took of Conley was in May this year when he revealed Trump was taking the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in an attempt to stave off the COVID-19 coronavirus. Trump was a big booster of the drug despite some experts’ belief that is was not an effective treatment. According to a recent public statement on Trump’s current treatment it is notable that hydroxychloroquine has not been administered since he tested positive, according to reporting from The New York Times.

Conley’s recent public statements on Trump’s health have been harshly criticized due to their rosy assessment of the hospitalized president’s health without disclosing Trump’s reported need for supplemental oxygen, according to a report from The Washington Post.

The unfamiliarity with DOs led many on Twitter over the weekend to question Conley’s qualifications, with many claiming that DOs are not real doctors. To clear up any confusion on the matter, click here for more information on the difference and similarities between DOs and MDs.