Defending the DO name

AOA statement regarding offensive FIGS ad

Immediate action resulted in the ad being taken down and an apology from FIGS to all DOs and female physicians.

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.

Related reading:

Advocacy opportunity: Participate in the #DOProud campaign on Friday, Oct. 23

Osteopathic medical profession fights back after CNN, MSNBC mischaracterize DOs

17 comments

  1. I became even more enraged when I went to the FIGS website and learned that the founders ARE WOMEN!!!! I have to say that I do appreciate how the AOA is handling the response and restitution, but I personally will not be buying or recommending FIGS products.

  2. The AOA might have well added that women have been osteopathic medical students and subsequently physicians since the first DO class was matriculated in 1892.

  3. FIGS founders are female Physician Assistants (PAs) to my understanding. This is absurd. They seemed to care only after being confronted and potentially losing DO business.

    Is the AOA paying for their OMED attendance?

  4. WOW the AOA makes me proud to be a DO! I have always been an advocate for education and information to the general public and wished that Marcus Welbey’s TV show had been based on a DO. So anyone who has a young writer in the family Go for it! Be the first to tell the world who and what we are!

  5. This ad was created to belittle D.O.s because of animus toward the president, whose physician is a D.O.

  6. FIGS dug themselves into a hole by politicizing and insulting us.
    I am glad to see that the DO profession and the individual physicians who comprise it have stood up to fight professional and sexual discrimination.

  7. Remorseful after confronted? Yeah, right. Boycott their company forever. And use that $100k to benefit ALL DOs, not just women and minorities.

  8. Boycott FIGS? Sorry, can’t refuse to buy something from a company I’ve never heard of nor cared about before. Besides, who buys scrubs? “Borrow them” from the hospital.

  9. FIGS openly demonstrated descrimination towards women and DO’s and barely gets a slap on the wrist.

    Isn’t it bad enough that DO’s are forced to take the USMLE boards (the stress of two sets of boards) just to be competitive? Then in areas not be considered equal to the MD counterparts or they have to work harder to prove their competency when and MD is just assumed to have it. Now companies can openly insult DO’s and barely be reprimanded.

    I can’t even speak to the idea that female owners allowed that insult to women slip through their fingers. Women’s equality has seens such a resurgance in the last decade in areas such as sexual harassment, abortion to equal pay.

    According to Forbes figs is expected to make $250 million in sales this year alone. https://www.forbes.com/sites/maddieberg/2020/04/28/mission-critical-scrubs-maker-figs-steps-up-efforts-to-spiff-up-the-hospital-ward/#7919ab3f2e18

    Others have quoted 100 million in revenue. Lets say that fine is about 0.1% of what FIGS will make. Is that the price of descrimination? Not to mention that money is going to be used for what purpose? I hope that AOA uses that money wisely to address areas of descrimination for both DO’s and women. I also hope that FIGS will go above an beyond this to address these issues. For now I will not be purchasing these scrubs.

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