Osteopathic medicine teaches DOs to first consider
the person within the patient. This emphasis on treating people, not symptoms,
means DOs believe there is more to good health than the absence of pain or
As guardians of wellness, DOs focus on prevention and
work to understand patients’ lifestyle and environment, partnering with them to
help them get healthy and stay well.
The Rise of Osteopathic Medicine
Osteopathic medicine aligns with a new direction in
health care that emphasizes a patient-centered approach to achieve high-quality
outcomes. That attitudinal shift is reflected in the rapid growth of the
osteopathic medical profession, and the high percentage of DOs that choose to
practice in primary care specialties.
In 2015, nearly 92,000 osteopathic physicians were recorded in the U.S. (not
counting approximately 5,000 osteopathic medical students who graduated in
2015), a sharp upswing from the 24,000 DOs counted in 1985. Osteopathic medicine
continually ranks among the fastest-growing disciplines in health care in the
Note: Chart above excludes same-year new
graduates each year. Includes updated figures for 1985-1995 versus estimates
used in prior publications.
Source: AOA Physician Masterfile, May 31,
AACOM Fall 2015
preliminary enrollment report