American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

Growth in Osteopathic Physicians (DOs)

Graphic showing the number of DOs and DOs in active practice as of May 31, 2013The Osteopathic Medical Profession

Developed more than 130 years ago by Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO, osteopathic medicine brings a unique philosophy to traditional medicine. With an emphasis on the inter-relationship of the body’s nerves, muscles, bones, and organs, osteopathic medical school curriculum prepares osteopathic medical students to apply the philosophy of treating the whole person to prevent, diagnose and treat illness, disease and injury.

Osteopathic physicians (DOs) are fully licensed to prescribe medicine and practice in all specialty areas, including surgery. DOs are trained to consider the health of the whole person and use their hands to help diagnose and treat their patients.

Growth in Osteopathic Physicians

DOs are one of the fastest growing segments of health care professionals in the United States. At the current rate of growth, it is estimated that more than 100,000 osteopathic physicians will be in active medical practice by the year 2020. The graph below shows the growth in the number of DOs since 1935.

 Graph showing growth in osteopathic physicians since 1935

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