On Tuesday, the AOA released a statement on the recent offensive FIGS ad. The full statement is below:
When FIGS, a designer scrubs and medical apparel company, released an advertising campaign featuring a female physician in pink scrubs wearing a nametag that said “DO” and reading a “Medical Terminology for Dummies” book upside down, the AOA took immediate action. This imagery is laughable in its absurdity—but it isn’t funny.
The American Osteopathic Association, which represents 151,000 osteopathic physicians and medical students, does not find it humorous to downplay the education and training of Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine—which include, at minimum, four years of medical school followed by three to seven years of residency to practice in any specialty they choose. Equally important, the organization does not find it “cute” to portray females, let alone female physicians, in such a denigrating light.
The AOA immediately demanded the removal of the defamatory ad, which was taken down. The AOA also requested, and received, an apology from FIGS to all female and osteopathic physicians. Furthermore, the AOA stressed the need for FIGS to address their egregious error in judgment now and in the future.
As a result of this outreach, the AOA and FIGS have agreed upon a path forward that includes:
- Attendance by 15 members of the FIGS marketing team at OMED, the annual osteopathic educational medical conference, to improve their understanding of the profession and its member physicians;
- A $100,000 donation from FIGS to the AOA in support of our ongoing efforts in diversity and inclusion, to address gender inequity in medicine and promote greater awareness and understanding of the osteopathic profession;
- Participation by the AOA in ongoing discussions about appropriate representation of women, women leaders, minorities, and DOs in FIGS’ advertising efforts.
Errors do occur, but what an organization does to address them is key. The co-founders of FIGS were undeniably remorseful and accountable. They expressed a real desire to understand and to show respect to the osteopathic profession and female physicians. The AOA is committed to acting as a guide in this effort and will work tirelessly with its larger community to ensure that the images of osteopathic physicians and women are appropriately characterized and uplifted.