As part of our ongoing advocacy efforts, the AOA sends numerous letters to editors at national and local media outlets across the country. These letters are often about issues on which DOs or the osteopathic medical profession can offer a unique perspective. The AOA also sends letters in response to inaccurate portrayals of osteopathic medicine in the media.
Dec. 4, 2013
In response to a letter in the Nov. 22 issue of the Medical Education Futures Study Newsletter, AOA President Norman E. Vinn, DO, explains that while nurse practitioners and physician assistants play an imperative role in health care delivery, only DOs and MDs complete the education, training, and examination necessary to obtain a license for the unrestricted practice of medicine. In the letter, Dr. Vinn also reminds the editor that DOs have a long history of providing primary care services in medically underserved areas.
Aug. 8, 2013
In response to the review article "Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment for Pediatric Conditions: A Systematic Review" in Pediatrics, Hollis King, DO, PhD, Editorial Advisory Board Member of The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA), expresses his concern about the authors' conclusion about the use of osteopathic manipulative treatment in pediatrics. In the letter, Dr. King writes that the selection of articles for review in this particular article is misleading. He also finds the utilization of random controlled trials in systematic reviews does not tell the whole story.
July 18, 2013
In a letter to Consumer Reports magazine, AOA President Ray E. Stowers, DO, stresses that ideas--such as those highlighted in the article “The nurse practitioner will see you now,” published in the magazine’s August 2013 issue--for meeting the increasing demand for health care in which the final opinion on treatment for patients rests on those who are not trained to consider all aspects of a patient’s health, should be met with strong skepticism. Dr. Stowers goes on to note that while every member of the health care delivery team plays a crucial role, permitting nonphysician clinicians to take on the same tasks and responsibilities as DOs and MDs without meeting the equivalent education, training and examination requirements for full, unrestricted licensure to practice medicine is nothing less than relaxing our current standards for quality and safety.
June 21, 2013
In a letter to O, The Oprah Magazine, AOA President Ray E. Stowers, DO, expresses his concern that osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) was listed as an alternative treatment in an article on pain management in the magazine’s July 2013 issue. Dr. Stowers explains that DOs are fully-licensed physicians and that OMT is one of many treatments DOs can use to help patients suffering from chronic pain.
April 1, 2013
In a letter to The Atlantic, AOA President Ray E. Stowers, DO, expresses his disappointment to see doctor of osteopathic medical degrees referenced as alternative degrees in the article “What Makes a Great School?" posted on March 28. Dr. Stowers also found it biased the publication ran an article written by two MDs who insinuate that the schools granting MD degrees are the only options to become a licensed physician in the United States.
Feb. 14, 2013
AOA President Ray E. Stowers, DO, responded to an article “What’s the difference between a physician assistant and a doctor?” in the March 2013 issue of Family Circle, which used MD as a synonym for physician. In the letter, Dr. Stowers explained what DOs are and noted that using MD as a synonym for all physicians only helps to perpetuate the confusion many patients already feel due to the "alphabet soup" of credentials found behind the names of health care providers.
Jan. 11, 2013
In response to an article, "Doctors must work hard for certifications," that ran on the Highlands Today website on Jan. 5, AOA President Ray E. Stowers, DO, noted the article neglected to include any mention of certification for DOs. In the letter, Dr. Stowers explained that DOs may also apply for certification through one of the 18 certifying boards of the American Osteopathic Association.
Dec. 19, 2012
AOA President Ray E. Stowers, DO, responded to an editorial "When the Doctor Is Not Needed," that ran on the New York Times website on Dec. 15. In the letter, Dr. Stowers maintained that DOs and MDs are the best qualified to direct patient care due to their extensive training and education that non-physician clinicians do not receive.
Nov. 16, 2012
In response to an editorial, "More Doctors," from the Nov. 16 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune, AOA President Ray E. Stowers, DO, voiced skepticism about the editorial's assertion that DOs earn less than MDs. The letter, published Nov. 23, touched on the many variables that determine physicians' compensation, including medical specialty and geographic location.
Oct. 26, 2012
AOA President Ray E. Stowers, DO, responded to an op-ed piece, "The Family Doctor, Minus the M.D.," that ran on the New York Times website on Oct. 24 suggesting that nurse practitioners should run rural medical clinics. The letter pointed out that as fully-licensed physicians DOs and MDs are best qualified to direct patient care and that DOs have a long history of practicing in rural and medically underserved communities.
Oct. 5, 2012
AOA President Ray E. Stowers, DO, responded to an article, "Nurses Seek Expanded Role," in the Oct. 3 issue of the Wall Street Journal about the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposal to permit nurse anesthetists to administer painkillers. In the letter, Dr. Stowers explains while the AOA supports physician-led, team-based care and acknowledges the role of non-physician clinicians in the health care delivery system, chronic pain management is not within certified registered nurse anesthetists' scope of practice.
Aug. 17, 2012
Entertainment Weekly published a letter to the editor in the Aug. 17 issue from Jason Haxton, director of the Museum of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Mo., in response to an article about the upcoming motion picture, The Possession, in which he was interviewed. The article incorrectly identifies the museum as being devoted to the history of alternative medicine. The AOA also reached out to the writer about this error. When the magazine offered to publish a letter, Haxton sought the AOA's assistance in helping to explain osteopathic medicine and DOs.
Aug. 8, 2012
AOA President Ray E. Stowers, DO, responded to an article, "Find the Best Baby Doc," in the August 2012 issue of American Baby magazine, which included DOs in the category of nontraditional health care providers and implies they might not participate in medical residencies. The letter explains that DOs are fully licensed physicians who not only attend four years of medical school, but also participate in postgraduate medical training.
May 8, 2012
The American Osteopathic Association responded to a blog post, "Why Nurses Need More Authority," on The Atlantic's website, which claimed that advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) should be given greater scope of practice. The AOA pointed out that while nurses are an important part of the health care delivery team, they lack the education and training of fully licensed physicians.
April 27, 2012
The American Osteopathic Association responded to a blog post, "Wanted: Mavericks and Missionaries to Solve Mississippi’s M.D. Shortage," on National Public Radio’s website, which overlooked the contributions made by the osteopathic medical profession to bring health care to rural Mississippi residents. The AOA also pointed out there are actually two medical schools, not one as the blog post referenced, with the opening of the William Carey University-College of Osteopathic Medicine in Hattiesburg.
April 24, 2012
The American Osteopathic Association responded to a blog post, “How to Decide Between an MD and a DO,” on U.S. News & World Report. In the response, the AOA pointed out there is more to evaluating the competitiveness of medical school admissions than test scores and mentioned how osteopathic medical schools place a significant emphasis on personal qualities and attributes. The AOA also mentioned how some candidates to osteopathic medical schools are drawn to the profession’s philosophy of care.
Feb. 29, 2012
AOA President Martin S. Levine, DO, writes to the New England Journal of Medicine in response to the article "Becoming a Physician: What Life is Like." In the letter Dr. Levine explains how DOs are trained to treat people, not just their symptoms and the importance of physicians asking patients questions about all aspects of their lives.
Feb. 3, 2012
In a letter to The Wall Street Journal, in response to the article "Doctors Track Patients' Mood, Social Life to Manage Illness," AOA President Martin S. Levine, DO, elaborates on the philosophy of osteopathic medicine that the emotional needs of patients are just as crucial as their physical needs.
Jan. 9, 2012
In a letter to The Chicago Tribune in response to the article "Patients' plastic surgery research shouldn't be skin-deep, experts warn," AOA President Martin S. Levine, DO, states why fully licensed physicians are best equipped to perform plastic and reconstructive surgery procedures. The letter also mentions the DO certification board as a resource for people to see if their surgeon is board certified.
Sept. 22, 2011
AOA President Martin S. Levine, DO, writes to USA Today in response to an investigative report about the qualifications of plastic and cosmetic surgeons, which misleadingly suggested that board certification occurs only when a physician has met all the qualifications required by one of the American Board of Medical Specialties’ 24 member boards. The letter brings to light the article’s omission of any mention of the certification boards for DOs. Read Dr. Levine’s letter on USAToday.com.
March 30, 2011
In a letter to the Chicago Sun-Times in response to the article "More young doctors choosing careers in primary care" that appeared March 29, AOA President Karen J. Nichols, DO, states the osteopathic medical profession's commitment to providing primary care and shares statistics about the osteopathic match.
March 3, 2011
In a letter to TIME Magazine in response to a series of articles about chronic pain that appeared in the March 7 edition, AOA President Karen J. Nichols, DO, stresses that finding a physician who can help devise an individualized treatment plan, including the appropriate use of pain medications, is one of the most effective ways for pain sufferers to find relief.