The DO | Opinion | Letters to the Editor

Stem the tide of ‘allopathic’ DOs

Thank you for the recent article about the proposed osteopathic medical school in Wisconsin. I am an osteopathic physician who graduated in 1989 from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg and have been practicing in Marietta, Ohio, for 23 years.

I have a traditional osteopathic practice wherein I treat all of my patients with osteopathic manipulation for a variety of disorders. I also teach some osteopathic skills and principles to DOs residents at a nearby emergency department.

Per today’s classification nomenclature, I “specialize” in osteopathic diagnosis and treatment. I do bill for patients who have Medicare, but otherwise I run a cash-based practice and do not accept private health insurance at all. I am busier than I can handle.

“What we are doing is basically turning out a bunch of DOs who are practicing allopathic medicine. They are not thinking osteopathically and they are not practicing osteopathic medicine.”
Dr. Uhrig

When I went to WVSOM, there were 15 osteopathic medical schools. I was one of the very few in my school who wanted to learn and practice true osteopathic medicine using osteopathic manipulation. During the first two years, I felt I had to go outside of our school to thoroughly learn practical skills in osteopathic manipulative medicine.

Now, there are 30-plus schools of osteopathic medicine cranking out thousands of DOs a year. Even fewer students today are well-taught in osteopathic principles and practice, and almost none of our DO graduates enter or start traditional osteopathic practices. There are many reasons for this, but it is nonetheless true.

I am appalled at the quality of the osteopathic residents I am teaching, who have virtually no skills in osteopathic palpatory diagnosis or manipulation or any historical or philosophical understanding of our heritage. But they are all passing the board exams.

So, what we are doing is basically turning out a bunch of DOs who are practicing allopathic medicine. They are not thinking osteopathically and they are not practicing osteopathic medicine. And yet we continue to propose and build more osteopathic medical schools and crank out those DOs who do nothing to further the principles that A.T. Still so valiantly set forth, practiced and taught more than 100 years ago.

That is my main concern. As far as I understand, there are only around 300 osteopathic physicians like me “specializing” in osteopathic diagnosis and treatment. The American Academy of Osteopathy and The Cranial Academy both have active but small memberships within the osteopathic family.

Massage therapists, physical therapists and chiropractors have promulgated and advanced many of the techniques that originated in and were traditionally taught in the osteopathic community. I recently reread about some of the struggles that the osteopathic medical profession went through in 1962, when California passed Proposition 22, which allowed osteopathic physicians to “purchase” MD degrees to make themselves “real doctors.” This was thought to be the beginning of a trend that would spread around the country and dissolve the osteopathic medical profession.

Our profession did not die. But to become more accepted, we have forgone our true roots, adopted all the characteristics of MDs, and almost totally forgotten our philosophical differences.

Why do we look to expand as a profession when we grow farther and farther from our historical significance? The only reason given in the article for establishing the proposed Wisconsin College of Osteopathic Medicine is to produce more primary care physicians. That is not what osteopathic medicine is about.

I propose that we consolidate until we can teach true osteopathic medicine and really show the country why we are different from and better than regular MDs. That would be something to celebrate!

Lawrence M. Uhrig, DO
Dr. Uhrig specializes in osteopathic manipulative medicine.

The opinions expressed in “Letters to the Editor” are those of the authors and do not reflect the viewpoints of the editors or the official policy of the AOA.

40 Responses

  1. A commenter on June 3, 2013, 11:53 p.m.

    “Dr. Uhrig specializes in osteopathic manipulative medicine.”

    You don’t say.

  2. Dr MD,DO on June 4, 2013, 9:30 p.m.

    Dr Uhrig,
    Most DOs have applied to MD & DO med schools. Since only getting accepted into to a DO med school,the DO must accept the DO degree. However, most DOs would rather change their initials to MD,DO or MD. It’s time to modernize the DO degree to MD,DO now.

  3. Uhrig on June 10, 2013, 11:57 a.m.

    Very true. In my discussions with residents, there are a few main reasons they originally applied to Osteopathic Medical school. Many, as you said, applied to MD and DO schools to better their chance of being accepted into any school that could allow them to become licensed as a physician with no real interest in whatever true Osteopathy was. Another was locale. If they lived near a school of Osteopathic medicine, they would apply to attend there usually as a first choice. This is also tied to state funded schools where the cost for in-state tuition would be substantially less than an out-of-state school. Some applicants are applying to Osteopathic medical schools based on legacy- if a relative went to that specific school. Lastly, some are actually applying only to Osteopathic medical schools because they have learned about the philosophy of Osteopathy, know someone who practices traditional Osteopathic medicine or has been personally helped by Osteopathic treatment. These are the students we should be searching for to apply and promote the true Osteopathic advantage we have to offer.

  4. John on June 10, 2013, 12:03 p.m.

    I have struggled with te vanishing DO as dual programs became the way of the future. I was most recently appalled that Osteopathic students were choosing Allopathic programs that were osteopathic in that the resident had a rotation in OMT. This was considered the osteopathic training they were choosing and this was the coice over Osteopathic only residencies. Sad state of affairs.


  5. Michael Oleyar on June 10, 2013, 12:12 p.m.

    A handful of graduating DO students enter the specialty of manual medicine – maybe 1-2% of every graduating class. This goes to show that manual medicine is not the future of osteopathic medicine, and manual medicine should be offered as a specialty or subspecialty for all physicians, MD or DO. You cannot force graduates into a specialty they do not want, but you can help make available options for graduates to pursue the careers they want.

    Instead of pushing to get back to ideas from the 1890s, it would be great to see some osteopathic leaders recognize where medicine and healthcare are headed. Integrating technology and leading care teams are the physicians of the future, MD or DO, and I hope osteopathic leadership starts to focus on this at meetings, in publications, etc. Medicine is facing big challenges now between pay cuts and challenged scope of practice. Time to get with the times, and join the current healthcare discussion.

  6. Michael Oleyar on June 10, 2013, 12:16 p.m.

    And for full disclosure, I did not apply to MD schools. I embraced the “open thinking” of DOs, and some of the factors listed above played a role in my decision to attend the school I did. I wish I had know that the profession’s thinking is contrary to open with few opportunities and little support when looking beyond historically osteopathic endeavors.

  7. Michael Oleyar on June 10, 2013, 12:19 p.m.

    One more. “My father was a progressive farmer and was always ready to lay aside an old plow if he could replace it with one better constructed for its work. All through life, I have ever been ready to buy a better plow.”
    A.T. Still

  8. dl do on June 10, 2013, 12:20 p.m.

    well, i was accepted into BOTH MD & DO medical schools & CHOSE the DO school because of the strong foundation in patient care & osteopathic approach. although i have a subspecialty practice, i wanted to be sure that i had the concepts & understanding of total patient care so that i could provide the very best care in my chosen area. i have seen this foundation gradually erode since the 1980’s & 1990’s. i suspect that this is likely an economical decision or economy driven trend, as are most of the decisions that have eroded our health care system. so sad ~

  9. MDDO2 on June 10, 2013, 12:30 p.m.

    Why is it that we must chose sides. I am a proud DO who completed an allopathic surgery residency. I currently work as a trauma surgeon and surgical intensivist in an academic practice at an Ivy League medical school. While I do not practice traditional osteopathic medicine, I apply the lessons I learned to my practice when applicable. Perhaps instead of blaming our students we should point the finger at ourselves. It is our responsibility to become outstanding clinicians who practice evidence based medicine,superb teachers and researchers. If we do this extraordinarily well, our students will chose their career paths based on our example and will become mentors for the next generation. If they choose to practice OMT or not is an individual choice, not a condemnation on our school. There is a plethora of data (in journals ranging from JAMA and NEJM to the Journal of the American College of Surgeons) that shows that students choose careers based on numerous factors, one of the most important is the mentors with whom they have worked with or have had contact with. It is time that we as a community decide to “step-up” and take responsibility. If you have an issue with the quality of our residents, then we must ask ourselves how How can I make this problem better? If we are outstanding teachers, the students and residents will reflect this with their own excellence.

  10. MDDO2 on June 10, 2013, 12:33 p.m.

    This is how medical schools and residency programs produce greatness. I urge everyone to not take the easy road and “turn back the clocks to the good old days”. Osteopaths come in all different flavors. It is time that we embrace the full spectrum of who we are, and when that happens, only then will we truly achieve excellence.

  11. F.W.Boling on June 10, 2013, 12:59 p.m.

    Manipulative procedures are not the core of Osteopathic philosophy — but it is a therapeutic and diagnostic modality. As a general surgeon, I applied manipulative procedures where indicated. Please remember that Osteopathic principles are used to “improve” the practice of medicine, surgery and obstetrics. Osteopathic principles encompasses much more than manual procedures. If we fail to instill this into medical students in our schools, we haven’t fulfilled our task.

  12. BC on June 10, 2013, 1:47 p.m.

    The problem with more training in palpatory diagnosis skills is that these are not reliable. Thus, without reliability one can not even begin to address the validity of these techniques. There is only modest evidence suggesting that OMT works, and these are typically only for selected conditions. Thus, arguing for more training in these areas is turning a cold eye to evidence-based medicine. It is time for osteopathic schools to value scientific evidence and EBM in higher priority.

  13. Uhrig on June 10, 2013, 1:49 p.m.

    This discussion is certainly not targeted at students, just observations that reflect on the recent past struggles for identity and current endeavors of our leadership to expand the profession with new goals of increasing primary care physicians to our community and not produce traditional Osteopathic physicians. We are redefining Osteopathy and quickly losing our heritage. If that is the goal of the profession, so be it but we have a lot more to offer than has been produced in the way of recent DO residents and young physicians. There is such a tremendous demand for the “traditional” Osteopathic physician who incorporates a holistic view of health and utilization of Osteopathic Principles and Practice that is not being met by many of the current schools. It certainly is more than just doing manipulation. The demand is being filled, poorly by the way, by physical therapists, chiropractors and massage therapists. The profession has definitely done a poor job, albeit difficult, at marketing Osteopathy such that the general population has not demanded more Osteopathy from the DOs practicing. Our schools could work to develop better clinical foundational curriculum that could encourage more residents to expand and develop their skills outside of the classroom and start treating their patients, family and friends wherever they may be. This would truly be a positive step forward in assuring longevity to the Osteopathic profession and A. T. Still’s vision for the future of the profession.

  14. Glenn D. White D.O. on June 10, 2013, 1:57 p.m.

    I do believe that the D.O degree has never been fully understood. I graduated from PCOM in 1952 and interned in that facilities hospitals. I attempted to serve in missionary work in India and was not accepted. I then for 23years did family practice in PA and worked with DO hospitals until a revised policy allowed me to use closer facilities in allopathic hospitals. In 1976 the AF needed physicians and they had changed their policy and I served for 8 years. I then went to Colombia S.A. with a missions organization and was permitted to serve near the jungle to work with the missionary organization although I could not obtain a license in Colombia. For me the DO designation was a handicap. I did practice manipulation and in 1989 having received my Florida license in 1970 ( I took the boards as they did not reciprocate with other state boards.) I worked with a chiropractor in a pain and trauma clinic running the medical end. I could write a lot more but I do believe that changes in status are needed for graduates to be accepted around the world.

  15. SFK on June 10, 2013, 3:08 p.m.

    Osteopathy is not about a technique or procedure, it is about providing excellent medicine to patients with a wholistic understanding of the human person. As a family physician, I do not have the ability to cure everything, and need all of my specialist colleagues, DOs and MDs alike. We need to accept our distinct oulook, our manipulation skills and put them to use for the good of our patients. True osteopathy is not a manipulation only practice! It is carring for the mind, body and spirits of our patients and ourselves. SFK

  16. The New Student Doctor on June 10, 2013, 11:43 p.m.

    “show the country why we are different from and better than regular MDs”

    I’m blown away by this kind of out dated and devisive rhetoric. My wife has earned an MD and I can assure you that my DO degree is no better and no less than her degree, training, or professional philosophy.

    Grow up and focus on real problems facing healthcare today and stop making these juvenile assessments – we are all physicians, period.

  17. Geoff on June 11, 2013, 1:03 a.m.

    As fairly young Osteopathic physician, who also happen to be African American, I find it appalling that after all these years, the Osteopathic profession is still struggling with its true identity. I am vascular surgery fellow at an ivy league institution, the 10th DO in the past 5 years. That says a lot. We’ve come along way and I believe its time to embark on a new frontier, encouraging and investing in state of the art programs such as research, not only geared to omt, but medicine as a whole. Not trying to keep a tradition that does nothing but stagnates the profession The AOA should concetrate more in revivingthe ever dwindling AOA teaching hospitals and research, which is really lacking. We don’t need PR campaigns anymore.

  18. Uhrig on June 11, 2013, 4:44 a.m.

    It’s nice to hear opinions from many young D.O.s on this topic. Ones like these last few are exactly why the article was aptly titled “allopathic DOs”. These are probably excellent physicians who would have made great MDs also. Why are we expanding Osteopathic schools of medicine when these DOs really just want to be MDs? Nothing different. Case closed. Stop talking about the history or heritage of our founders. This is the real basis of the problem-our Osteopathic medical schools are not choosing students dedicated to the profession from the start and are not instilling the foundation principles in their students that make the profession truly outstanding and exciting separately and distinct from the allopathic profession. Just sell them an MD degree and they’ll be happier!

  19. ZacJ on June 11, 2013, 7:33 a.m.

    So according to this gentleman, a DO entering any specialty outside of an OMM based practice is not practicing true Osteopathic Medicine? So if you are a family physician who utilizes OMT as an adjunct to your comprehensive primary care practice that doesn’t count? Wow! I thought all of the OMM faculty have been saying for years that OMT can be utilized in any specialty besides perhaps pathology and radiology.

    I think the main reason why the osteopathic profession doesn’t maintain any distinctiveness is because students aren’t really taught in a concrete way what difference between MDs and DOs there is besides OMT. Saying we are more holistic or that we care for the whole patient is just insulting to MDs because the only way we could use those ideas as a way to distinguish ourselves is to imply that MDs are not holistic and don’t care for the whole patient. Sometimes the OMM faculty pretend that MDs only care about focusing on specific symptoms and that they “treat the disease and not the person.” If maintaining our distinctiveness means making false accusations against the allopathic profession then no thank you.

    There is sort of a system of shame amongst OMM faculty where they teach these intangible principles of Osteopathic Medicine without ever saying how in practice they actually differ from allopathic medicine and then look down on any student who says they aren’t really sure what the difference is. As though this is some zen quest where the students are expected to look beyond the words that are spoken to find deeper meaning and those who don’t see that meaning are just not sincere or are not ready for a higher level of enlightenment.

    If there is a difference between DOs and MDs besides OMT and perhaps some of the ANS reflex patterns we use for diagnosis it should be laid out explicitly for DO students. Faculty need to be capable of saying either “we as DOs do/believe _________ and MDs do not” or “MDs do/believe _________ and we as DOs do not” or else they really aren’t establishing how we are distinct.

  20. Guardian on June 11, 2013, 8:40 a.m.

    “…we are different from and better than regular MDs”

    It’s statements like this that make me ashamed to be a DO student. Every time someone from the AOA or NBOME comes to our school, most of us groan with embarrassment because of how they use this same rhetoric of “we are better… we are more holistic… blah blah blah.”

    One NBOME rep was speaking to us the other day and basically bashed MD’s saying that DO’s have better diagnostic skills. Little did he know that sitting in the room was one of the best internal medicine MD’s I know of who is a great doctor and and excellent diagnostician. I cringed with embarrassment. This is not the first time this has happened in my two years of medical school.

    As pre-meds, we were told DO’s are more holistic and evaluate the whole person. We were inexperienced enough to believe it, and for many that was the excuse we told ourselves to assuage our disappointment of not getting into allopathic medical school. We needed to believe something to help us feel like we would be legit at that time. I don’t know a single classmate who believes that rhetoric now. We know we’re going to be legit doctors, independent of all the supposed “osteopathicness” that makes us distinct. Yet the brainwashing attempts from the AOA and NBOME continues.

    I know I have very little real-life medical experience compared to the author, but you don’t need experience to see beyond the rhetoric to the superiority complex that pervades the leadership of osteopathic medicine.

    As one commenter said previously, “Grow up and focus on real problems facing healthcare today and stop making these juvenile assessments – we are all physicians, period.”

  21. Uhrig on June 11, 2013, 8:46 a.m.

    An excellent point. By claiming DOs are more holistic or listen better to their patients or are better at primary care or whatever, is denigrating to all MDs who practice in these ways. And, yet, we have numerous new Osteopathic medical schools popping up all around the country. Most Osteopathic medical schools are more expensive than many MD schools these days. So what is attracting all of these applicants to DO schools? Some residents say DO schools are easier to get into than MD schools. Maybe it’s just turned into a big business if we just follow the money trail. The Osteopathic physicians are doing a great job in the medical field but many, as this debate goes, are not really practicing any different than their MD peers. And, yes, it does trace back to poor teaching of the basic Osteopathic Principles and Practice AND the teaching of the practical application of Osteopathic Diagnosis and Treatment outside of the academic environment. It’s not the young physicians’ fault but the institutions where they are educated.

  22. Michael Zuckman , D.O on June 11, 2013, 10:12 a.m.

    Osteopathy is a philosophy ,not a technique. I am a 1982 graduate of Des Moines, and do family medicine , in an M.D. family medicine group as a lone D.O. I constantly have to remind my M.D. colleagues and staff that we do not treat medical conditions ,or disease, we treat patients. The “wholistic “approach I learned in school. That is now a more widely accepted concept , but rarely practiced. Those D.O.s who remember that, are still following the Osteopathic philosophy , whether they are Neurosurgeons, dermatologists, and never do OMT, or OMT specialists. ( OMT specialists can also miss the osteopathic philosophy.
    Those of us who do OMT as part of our treatment see the “evidence” based results . We have seen many patients walk in in pain, and leave without pain, have seen headaches “disappear “, have seen coughing, wheezing stop. have seen swelling /edema go down with proper application of OMT. I feel sorry for those who completed osteopathic medical school,and clinical rotations without experiencing that,and are waiting for a funded study to prove that to them. They will (almost ) never get that in their residency.
    If there is no difference in training and philosophy and OMT is a “specialty ” then a proliferation of D.O.schools is a waste, Try the California solution of the 1960’s and change them to M.D. schools, so their graduates will not have the D.O. stigma.
    Their will be plenty of first year slots for those trying to get in to med school. Let those remaining schools who chose to be “Osteopathic ” choose their students more carefully. The problem is there are too many graduates of “Osteopathic ” medical schools and not enough schools graduating “Osteopathic ” physicians.
    Blame the schools not the students

  23. Dr. Spine on June 11, 2013, 11:22 a.m.

    The only thing the AOA cares about is the AOA.

    All of the new DO schools are “for profit” institutions, and a small number of people are laughing all the way to the bank.

    The AOA’s position is that they are meeting the increasing demand for primary care physicians. They are not. Even fewer DO’s are going into primary care than ones will use manipulation in their practices.

    I’m a DO who is board certified by the ACOFP and I incorpoarte OMT into my practice because it helps my patients and my botton line.

    However, I am more proud of being a great physcician than an osteopathic physician. The characteristics that make myself and my practice the poster boy for the AOA are the smallest part of what I do and who I am.

    But the AOA doesn’t give a damn either way.

  24. DOstudent on June 11, 2013, 3:22 p.m.

    A fair article. I can understand the words of a D.O. who is deeply connected in the practice of his art. But – As an osteopathic student I would like to point out some observations after finishing year 1: Our training and education in osteopathic knowledge/manipulation can be frustrating. With a full course load outside of osteopathic treatment, there is a lack of solidity and science based information in what we are learning. At times the students are left confused as to what situations would best warrant certain treatments. We need solid and uniform information to develop an interest in this field. I find that the subjects I pursue an interest in are those that are taught the best and those which I can grasp the information to put it to use.

    Our osteopathic lectures and written tests are even more confusing. Again, lecturers are focused on various osteopathy thoughts and treatment modalities without giving a structured base of scientific knowledge. We learn MFR techniques that induce changes in fibrotic tissues without learning how these changes happen at the cellular level! Shame on me for not researching the topics myself but with a full course load it is hard to fit in any time for outside information.

    I would like to state that I love learning manipulative treatments and I believe they are practical when used appropriately. However, I wish I knew more information about these treatments and not just how to perform them. I think I would be more interested if such were the case. Good luck to all D.O.’s in the future

  25. Harry Potter on June 11, 2013, 6:34 p.m.

    If it weren’t a bunch of voodoo harry potter wizardry, it may be more popular

  26. I Love My DO on June 12, 2013, 7:59 a.m.

    What? What? You have never experienced thoracic pump techniques while sick with a bacterial infection, I take it! Remarkably, I have avoided antibiotics due to the power of this particular manipulation, which stimulates the lymph system and gets it working properly. And boy, you would love craniosacral manipulation as it really does feel like magic! Harry, I know it is hard to find a doc who performs OMT, and whose practice allows him or her to perform OMT, and who gets reimbursed for OMT–but give it a try! Many prescription drugs have a lot more risks than OMT… which has zero, I believe…

  27. Jon Schriner D.O. on June 16, 2013, 7 a.m.

    I entered kirksville because of my God father who was a distinguished D.O. In Michigan. I graduated top in my undergraduate class and could have chosen U. Of Iowa but chose Kirksville out of respect for Harold Davis Hutt DO. A family practcioner related to Thomas E. Dewey of presidential fame. In 1963 in Flint, Michigan I fought for the acceptance in the community that I felt I deserved. I and some other fellow D.O.’s lobbied for a school of Osteopathy at MSU, and got the first state supported DO schrrol. We fought against our own entrenched DO’s from Detroit who wanted a traditional school supported by DO’s themselves. We believed that Osteopathy should rise to the next level, and succeeded. That may have started the avalanch of “New Schools”. I fought for acceptance in all of the Allopathic Hospitals in Flint. Won a seat on the local school board, and have mentored many many young students into both MD and DO’s alike into “Medicine”. While I am proud of my training as a DO, I do manipulate when appropriate, about 2% of my practice, I use my skill to palpate many of my patients who are injured in my Sports Medicine practice. I am now considered one of the nations leading Sports Medicine Doctors, and a chosen Fellow in the prestigious American College of Sports Medicine. I lecture, research, mentor, and teach students and physicians of All types. For the present I am concentrating on Residents from three Hospitals. Most of these have been trained pre medically in foreign countries. I am proud of them and that I can instill a little Osteopathic touch to them. In my relm I am highly respected, but in the “AOA” I am a renigade who has been “ostracized” because I am not a follow the “line Osteopath”. I believe we are different only because of the DO in our name, and not the MD. But just as Tom Dewey was a Republican and chose not to be a Democrate, did not reflect upon him as a Leader that he was. I am a leader, in every sence of the word, in the Osteopathic and Allopathic field of Medicine.
    Jon L. Schriner D.O.? Fellow in the American College of Sports Medicine.

  28. MDF19 on June 19, 2013, 11:58 p.m.

    It will be interesting to see if there is any response to the recent article in ‘Pediatrics’ concluding, “evidence of the effectiveness of OMT for pediatric conditions remains unproven due to the paucity and low methodological quality of the primary studies.”

  29. 4th year DO Student on June 27, 2013, 7:45 a.m.

    What I learned so far and truly believe about my osteopathic medical education is that while manipulation is a part of learning how to be a DO, osteopathic medicine is more about the way you interact with a patient. However, I’ve learned this only from one or two mentors I have while the majority of the DOs and osteopathic medical students I am surrounded with don’t understand our profession in the same light. It bothers me when I get a rotation evaluation back and get a “Not applicable” for my “Osteopathic Principles and Practice” section from my DO preceptor because neither of us did any OMM on the rotation. If osteopathic medicine really is about a different approach to patient interaction why is this not apparent in more individuals in our profession?

  30. Brittany on June 27, 2013, 10:08 a.m.

    I am a new intern specializing in psychiatry in an allopathic residency. I agree with “4th year DO Student” that osteopathic medicine is largely about the way we as physicians interact with patients. I knew I was going into psychiatry from the time I took the MCAT so the humanistic approach to care was and is very important to me and played a significant role in me choosing to attend an osteopathic school. It became apparent to me I would be doing an allopathic residency shortly after commencing the residency application process. While I cannot speak for all D psych residencies nationwide, the several I looked at were absolutely abysmal. Most flabbergasting was that many incorporated no psychotherapy training in the postgrad years. What?!! One program’s reasoning was that psychotherapy is not nearly as lucrative as med management. Study after study has shown that the most effective mental health care for most patients is a combination of psychopharm and talk therapy. Thus, the allopathic programs were so much more holistic. I chose an allopathic psych program with a DO director and several DO attendings who I had a chance to work with prior to the match. Now I gladly tell my new colleagues that I’m a DO. So I agree with Dr. Uhrig–rather than rush to open up more and more DO schools (and continue to hike up tuition costs), let’s focus on getting back to why we opened up the first school of osteopathic medicine, and I mean the whole of the osteopathic philosophy and practices. Furthermore, if we are to continue our profession effectively, we also need quality residency programs in all specialties to continue our training as DOs.

  31. Brittany on June 27, 2013, 10:10 a.m.

    Correction: in my above post, the sentence beginning “While I cannot speak…” should read “all DO psych residencies”.

  32. James E.Whte, DO, RPh on June 29, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

    These DO students and new physicians have got it pretty well figured out about osteopathic research which is “Defense of Palpation Research” producing results in only publications, presentations and posters. No billable new procedures and all for $120,000.00/ month from the AOA. The ORC has no competition. The physicians in training need an osteopathic research methods course that uses Clinical Quantifying Systems of NIH quality for use in a college or office practice setting. The ORC neglects this critical need because they are afraid or not interested in competition. (It is the NOT INVENTED HERE SYNDROME.)
    These comments are based on personal observations since presenting at the VIII AOA Research Conference in 1964. I introduced the Central x-ray beam recording system that was patented in 1971 and can be used to standardize structural x-ray systems for all the Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.

  33. Jonathan King, D.O. on July 1, 2013, 3:14 p.m.

    I read the recent opinion from Lawrence Uhrig, D.O. with some interest. Dr. Uhrig laments the number of “allopathic DO’s” currently populating our profession. As proof, he cites the poor training of the osteopathic residents that he mentors. He concludes that osteopathic medical schools are, “…turning out a bunch of DOs who are practicing allopathic medicine.” He characterizes the current graduates are not, “…thinking osteopathically…” and that they are not, “…practicing osteopathic medicine.”

    Dr. Uhrig has adopted a rigid, fundamentalist attitude toward osteopathic medicine and seems to be more focused on the word “osteopathic” than he is on the word “medicine” Further, I am not convinced our graduates are poorly trained in osteopathic medicine. I have been a faculty member at two colleges of osteopathic medicine and the instruction of manipulative medicine at both institutions has been more than adequate..

    I confess that I don’t know, nor do I want to know, how to think “osteopathically”. My thinking and subsequent treatment has always focused on the patient and not political dogma. I will use any available therapy for the patient’s benefit whether it is a tenet of Hippocrates or Still. I believe flexibility and broad-mindedness are assets of osteopathic medicine, not liabilities and have found blind reliance on a single solution to address multiple problems is doomed to failure.

    For too long, our profession has treated osteopathic manipulative medicine is treated as a sacred cow. We have passed along the principles of osteopathy as if they were sacrosanct and self-evident. I have no doubt osteopathic manipulation works and not just for musculoskeletal problems. However, the safe practice of medicine demands that treatments be safe and efficacious. The challenge to our profession is to objectively establish that osteopathic manipulation is.

    The contributions of osteopathic medicine to both primary care and specialty medicine are indisputable and have been acknowledged by the federal government, the academic community and yes, the allopathic medical profession. Instead of highlighting past injustices and political disputes, why don’t we just practice good medicine? Rendering the finest care, regardless of its historical origins, will do nothing but strengthen a profession that has been so rewarding to us all.

  34. Mary Morehouse DO on Sept. 6, 2013, 4:03 p.m.

    I completed an AOA/AMA internship. I was accepted into an AMA Internal Medicine program. I was forced to repeat my internship because it was required by the AOA in Pennsylvania. It left a bitter taste in my mouth, since it was a dual program.

    I still do manipulations on friends and family, but not patients. I don’t want my practice to turn into a chronic back pain clinic. I am glade I chose the DO route, I was accepted into an allopathic program.

    I personally feel that there is no longer a big difference between the philosophies. Many MDs are interested in Osteopathic techniques. We all just need to get along and band together.

  35. Q on Dec. 9, 2013, 7:53 p.m.

    I applied to MD and DO programs and I guess I would be called an “allopathic DO”.

    I also cringe when I hear fellow DO’s explain that as DO’s we treat the whole pt. Sorry but no medical school teaches their students to treat MRNs and symptoms alone.

    The AOA needs to allow the Osteopathic profession find its place in the 21st century.

  36. Paul on June 19, 2014, 10:37 p.m.

    ”Osteopathic medicine is both a profession and a social movement,” said Dr. Norman Gevitz Author of The DOs: Osteopathic Medicine in America, a medical sociologist and historian at the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine. ”It has to demonstrate that it can offer something distinctive, unique and beneficial to the patient that allopathic graduates cannot offer. If osteopathic physicians become interchangeable with M.D.’s then there’s no compelling reason for the profession to exist.”

  37. Marie Niccholson on Oct. 10, 2014, 11:05 a.m.

    My oldest has a masters in ssoccial work (and now works 2 jobs to support herself…I tried to tell her. My second child s a Bio-chemical engineer and I ave now worries for him…he enjoys hisjob and earns a good living. My youngest is a career Marine who will be out n 8 more years. He is my current concern. He is sure he wants to be in the medical field because I am a diploma nurse wo was single mom when he was a teen and I got him a job in the kitchen the same hours I workedd because I was asked to take the pm shift supervisor position and I needed to keep track of him. so my question is, in your opinion, iss it better to be a P.A, nurse practtioner, or Do, or Md? He will be 38 when he starts the career. weighing time and ccost and income, what would u suggest? Thank you. He wants my input, but I am not sure what advise I can offer. Where could he go for advise?

  38. Dale E. Alsager D.O., Ph.D. on Nov. 29, 2014, 3:23 p.m.

    Marie: I just can’t resist on this one. I remember being in a similar position a few years back. I resolved it by researching and weighing all the options. I chose the path of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine because it opened more doors and had less restrictions on practice than all other options. The holistic philosophy was the clincher. I was 46 yrs old when I sat down next to my younger classmates at KCOM for my first year in D.O. medical school. I proudly carried a business card that read : “World’s Oldest Medical Student . . .when not in class may be viewed in the Still National Osteopathic Museum” (where my wife worked while I was a student). It was a wonderful, youth giving experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. Yesterday I celebrated my 71st birthday and have enjoyed 20 years in practice, and teaching, and not ready to quit yet. I still have some important publications I intend to write. Traditional Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery is the best, for many, many reasons. Go for it, Marine!

  39. Paul Rein on Feb. 7, 2015, 6:37 a.m.

    I never fail to be astonished by those who believe to be an Osteopathic Physician one must take a dogmatic approach. I attended the former COMS and graduated in 1972. From Michigan, the home to the most DO’s at least at the time, I interned there and practiced as a GP for 7 before entering an ALLOPATHIC Anesthesiology residency. In 1980 when I began my speciality training there were 6 filled Osteopathic Anesthesiology positions. BTW DO’s who practice traditional Osteopathic Medicine how do you justify a speciality such as Anesthesiology??? Regardless I completed the program at the Medical College of Virginia and my training wasn’t certifiable by the DO’s because in DO hospitals there was a 95% vacancy rate. Why would that be? Perhaps a better approach would have been OK we will be happy to take you back because you received training at that 1000 bed University that wasn’t available in our 150 bed community hospitals. I attempted to go back to Detroit Osteopathic Hospital and was told sure we will hire you but you aren’t eligible to be the chief, in effect not because you aren’t well trained but because you aren’t Osteopathic trained! Exactly what is an Osteopathic trained Anesthesiologist? Oh yeah if you trained in an Army hospital we will accept your training however.

    The bottom line is I was thankful for COMS accepted me because I goofed around for a few years in undergraduate school and was happy for the opportunity to be a PHYSICIAN. The hardline DO’s say they practice holistic Osteopathic Medicine. If that is what the AOA wants than get real and do it. The problem with that is you will never survive because that is a highly specialized AREA of medicine that is not for all patients. The real idea is to take care of patients and all patients do not need “Osteopathic analysis”. This argument reminds me of the Republicans and Democrats in our Congress. Dogmatic arguing that sounds good but dogma is never good as a survival philosophy. Until Health Care Professionals actually put the patient 1st and not there dogma our profession will be a failure.

    Finally being shunned by the ACOA has never negatively affected my career. I went on to be an Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at VCU in Richmond before moving on to an all Allopathic group of 40 Anesthesiologists. I was accepted by them and the ASA with open arms, becoming Chief of Anesthesia for 20 years at a large hospital and President of our 70 person Anesthesia group for many years, along with being elected President of the Virginia Society of Anesthesiologists. Thank you ACOA. Because of silly dogma I……..

    OK one more thing, yes I still am in full-time practice and know this one thing. DOGMA is fine for your sub-speciality if you so desire that area of practice. If you want to be successful as a physician of any kind- listen to the patient and figure out what is best to help them. If it’s OMT fine, but if the have Leukemia- uh sorry guys.

  40. Rampal on Feb. 23, 2015, 1:47 p.m.


    I’m a French osteopath, and I translated this article. I’m not a doctor, but I agree with what is written here.

    Here is the translation

    Have a good day

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