American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

Terminology for Reporting on Osteopathic Medicine

Osteopathic physician (DO) should be used when referring to a fully licensed physician who graduated from an accredited osteopathic medical school in the United States who can prescribe medication and practice in all specialty areas including surgery. Osteopath describes a health care provider trained outside of the United States who does not qualify for licensure for the unlimited practice of medicine.

Osteopathic medicine should be used instead of osteopathy when referring to medicine practiced by osteopathic physicians who graduate from accredited osteopathic medical schools in the United States. Osteopathy should only be used when referring to the occupation of osteopaths trained outside of the United States who do not qualify for licensure for the unlimited practice of medicine.

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine is the proper name for the degree granted by osteopathic medical schools in the United States and is represented by the acronym DO. Do not use Doctor of Osteopathy, which is an outdated term for the degree. DO also may be used in place of osteopathic physician.

 

 How to Use the DO Designation

 

Use the DO designation when referring to an osteopathic physician in the first reference:

Jane M. Jones, DO

State a DO’s specialty as:

Dr. Jane M. Jones, an osteopathic radiologist

Dr. James A. Rodriguez, an osteopathic pediatrician

Hold more than one professional degree? Use:

Jane M. Jones, DO, PhD

James A. Rodriguez, DO, MPH 

Utilize the terms family medicine and family physician instead of general practice and general practitioner. 

 

 How to Refer to Osteopathic Medical Schools

 

Refer to osteopathic medical schools with their osteopathic identification:

Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine

Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine