A Century of HOD

Osteopathic medicine: The AOA House turns 100

The distinctive osteopathic philosophy of whole-person care and preventive medicine continues to thrive 100 years after the AOA’s first House of Delegates.

From the opening of the first school of osteopathic medicine in 1892, the profession has flourished. As the AOA’s House of Delegates convenes its 100th session, there are now more than 151,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students, many of whom serve on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis as emergency physicians, family medicine physicians and hospitalists.

The vision of Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO, who emphasized preventive care and treating the whole person, not just the disease, lives on today as one in four U.S. medical students is enrolled in a college of osteopathic medicine.

“When I applied to medical school in 1976, there were only eight DO schools,” says AOA 2020-2021 President Thomas Ely, DO. “Leading this proud profession through the pandemic and into another period of sustained growth will be my greatest honor.”

There are now 38 colleges of osteopathic medicine, located at 59 campuses. Approximately 7,000 new physicians graduated from osteopathic medical schools in 2019, bringing the total number of DOs to 121,006, the highest number in history. In the last three decades, the number of DOs has grown by nearly 300%.

The osteopathic medical profession is just getting started. Explore the timeline below:

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