Executive Q&A: Association director believes in skill, hearts of osteopathic doctors

Executive Q&A: Lynette McLain worked her way up from receptionist to executive director of the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association.
by Paula Burkes Modified: January 26, 2014 at 3:00 pm •  Published: January 26, 2014

Framed photographs of the presidents of the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association dating from 1900 encircle the organization's boardroom at 4848 N Lincoln. Lynette McLain has perused all of them over the 40 years she's worked for the organization. She knows nearly one-third of the presidents personally.

McLain joined the association in 1973 as a receptionist and worked her way up to secretary, executive assistant and administrative assistant, before being named executive director in 2000 upon the death of her longtime boss Bob E. Jones. Jones, among other things, is credited with lobbying the Legislature to approve funding in 1972 for the state's flagship osteopathic school, the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa.

Membership in the professional association since has exploded from 300 osteopathic doctors when McLain started to 1,200 today, or about 75 percent of licensed osteopathic doctors statewide.

But if one peeks at the minutes of the organization's meetings at the turn of the century — as McLain has — the issues of the organization were much the same as those taken up today at its monthly board meetings and annual meetings.

Along with offering continuing education, the association advocates for further funding for the college of osteopathic medicine and to protect the integrity of the profession and safety of patients, said McLain, a registered lobbyist. Osteopathic doctors partner with medical, or “allopathic,” doctors to ensure chiropractors, physical therapists and others can't practice medicine without the supervision of fully-licensed doctors, she said.

McLain, 67, sat down with The Oklahoman to talk about her path to the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association, where she oversees four employees and a $1 million annual budget. This is an edited transcript:

Q: Tell us about your roots.

A: I grew up in Fort Worth. A World War II vet, my father, 94, worked as a professional photographer for Bell Helicopter. He used a large Speed Graphic camera until he retired in '81. My mother, 90, was a homemaker. There are four of us kids: boy, girl, boy, girl, spaced two years apart. I'm the second to the oldest. Until three years ago, my parents lived in the same house where they raised us. But now they live in an assisted living facility two miles away. I go home every two weeks to visit and check on them. My sister still lives there. But my brothers live in west Texas and Indianapolis.

Q: What were the highlights of your childhood?

A: I took dance and gymnastics, and danced downbeat teenage swing on the TV show “Teen Time.” I was a cheerleader in high school. One of my most vivid memories was the day when President Kennedy was assassinated in '63. Following a pep rally, we lined a street near the school, where I had the privilege of seeing President and Mrs. Kennedy in a motorcade on their way to Carswell Air Force Base, where they flew on to Love Field in Dallas. They were as close to me as that wall over there (some 15 feet away). An hour and half later, he was shot and killed.

by Paula Burkes
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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Position: Oklahoma Osteopathic Association, executive director

Website: okosteo.org

Birth date and childhood home: Oct. 4, 1946; Fort Worth, Texas

Spouse: Don McLain, Oklahoma Corrections Department retiree and husband of 28 years

Education: She completed one year of general studies at Lon Morris Junior College in Jacksonville, Texas, and took several night classes in business at the University of Texas

Residence: Northwest Oklahoma City

Home church: Council Road Baptist Church

Latest read: “Race for Relevance: 5 Radical Changes for Associations” by Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers

Favorite TV shows: “Scandal,” “Nashville” and Lifetime movies

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