Celebrating A.T. Still

Happy Birthday A.T. Still, MD, DO! 5 facts about the father of the profession

His mind, body, spirit approach to care is still being taught today at colleges of osteopathic medicine across the country.


Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO, the founding father of the osteopathic profession, was born 191 years ago on Aug. 6, 1828.

Dr. Still’s revolutionary approach to care continues to impact patients today through the 114,425 U.S. DOs practicing the osteopathic philosophy. In 2018, there were also 6,504 osteopathic medical student graduates—the largest number yet.

To celebrate his legacy, here are five things to know about Dr. Still on his birthday.

  1. Dr. Still has a statue in the Hall of Famous Missourians at the Missouri House of Representatives

While Dr. Still was born in Virginia, he lived in Kansas before founding osteopathic medicine in Missouri. The first osteopathic medical school opened in 1892 in Kirksville, Missouri. Known originally as the American School of Osteopathy, the school is now known as A.T. Still University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Visit his bust at the Missouri State Capitol alongside other celebrated Missourians such as Walt Disney, Mark Twain and Harry Truman.

  1. Dr. Still had a passion for invention.

Dr. Still had always been interested in machines and loved improving mechanical inventions. He patented a better butter churn, a medical brace and a smokeless furnace burner.

  1. Dr. Still was 10 years old when he performed the first osteopathic method.

In his autobiography published in 1897, Dr. Still noted that at age 10, he used a rope sling to alleviate a headache. He says in the book that this was the first time he used an osteopathic approach.

  1. He served in the Union Army during the American Civil War

The medical care and effects of opium on soldiers disturbed Dr. Still, so he traveled the countryside and provided them with medical care. He served as a hospital steward in the 9th Kansas Cavalry, a captain in the 18th Kansas Militia and a major in the 21st Kansas Militia. Dr. Still was active in the abolition movement as well.

  1. He was committed to serve until the very end

Dr. Still remained active in the profession almost to the end of his life, having been weakened by a stroke in 1914. He died at 89 years old on Dec. 12, 1917. Nearly 3,000 men and women had been trained in osteopathy by that time.

Further reading:

We’ve come a long way, baby: Student life then and now

Osteopathic medicine celebrates 125 years

PBS documentary covers women in osteopathic medicine

One comment

  1. Joseph Clarino

    Dr Palmer, founder of chiropractic were good friends. They both believed the spine and nervous system had an affect on peoples health. Their journey was parallel for years until the DO profession moved into 100% medical profession.

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