Women In History

Stream the new PBS documentary on women in osteopathic medicine

The Feminine Touch tells the story of how women played a vital role in osteopathic medicine from the very beginning.


The Feminine Touch, a new documentary on the history of women in osteopathic medicine, is now available for free online viewing. It was created by Florida’s West Coast Public Broadcasting (WEDU), a PBS affiliate in Tampa.

The documentary is based on the book The Feminine Touch: Women in Osteopathic Medicine, which was written by Thomas Quinn, DO, a professor at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Bradenton, Florida (LECOM-Bradenton).

Critical decision

The film captures the essence of the book in detailing how Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO, came to found osteopathic medicine in the 1800s and how his critical decision to include women and minorities in his medical school created an innovative, inclusive foundation for the osteopathic medical profession.

“It was fascinating to discover such a progressive figure for his era: He was a medical pioneer, abolitionist and feminist,” says Kristine Kelly, who produced, directed, and edited The Feminine Touch.

A.T. Still had treated patients on reservations and at war, studying many forms of medicine before he went on to establish his own new school of thought. The film explores how the resistance he faced for his seemingly radical ideas continues to inspire women and osteopathic physicians even today.

‘Their stories will always stay with me’

“The Feminine Touch was the opportunity to revisit my life journey and express my gratitude to my family, role models, and Dr. Andrew Taylor Still,” says Octavia Cannon, DO, who appears in the film.

Thought leaders, historical experts, and trail-blazing women of the osteopathic profession contributed to The Feminine Touch, including physicians like Barbara Ross-Lee, DO, who was one of two female medical students in her class before she went on to become the first African-American female dean of a medical school.

“It was absolutely inspiring and heartening to meet the female DOs who participated in this project,” says Kelly. “I admire the way they navigate through the triumphs and challenges of their careers with such confidence, intelligence and good humor. Their stories and experiences will always stay with me.”

Help spread the word

You can help raise awareness of osteopathic medicine and its history by requesting that the documentary be played on your local PBS station.


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  2. Christine F, Giesa,DO;president-elect ACOEP

    I had the opportunity to see this documentary. It is an awe-inspiring portrayal not only of the history of osteopathic medicine, but also the difficulties women experienced breaking into medicine. The DOs accepted women into their programs form the very start. The physicians interviewed were humble yet highly motivated women that opened doors for all of us. Everyone, men and women alike should watch this documentary

  3. Joan M. Resk, .D.O.

    I greatly enjoyed the film. I was one of those females that was the only woman in the class. We have made great progress.
    However, the more progress that we make the more our own peers criticize us for knowing something that only a specialist can know. In this age of microspecialization it is delightful to “know” the body in its various parts. Frankly, I have been accused of being superior because I know something that only specialists are “allowed” to know including the musculoskeletal system . We still fight for our philosophy as well as the right to be different. Hopefully, we can maintain those differences . I love the philosophy . I love manipulation. The philosophy keeps our minds open while many allopathic peers still claim that we are wrong and they are correct.

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