In 1897, the students of Still’s American School of Osteopathy established the American Association for the Advancement of Osteopathy, which still exists as the American Osteopathic Association. The following year witnessed the formation of the Associated Colleges of Osteopathy, an organization that standardized the curriculum and the requirements for those wishing to earn their professional degrees.
In 1952, the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare officially acknowledged the authority of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) to accredit osteopathic education. This federal nod spurred expansive growth in the profession, with new schools in the U.S. and around the world producing more osteopathic practitioners than ever before.
Types of Osteopathic Practitioners
Those people who earn their Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degrees in the U.S. are officially known as osteopathic physicians. Like other medical doctors, they can write prescriptions, perform surgery, or use osteopathic manipulative medicine at their discretion. Just like their M.D. peers, D.O.s must pass medical board exams and obtain their licenses to practice medicine.
Most other countries do not require osteopathic practitioners to have medical degrees. They are called osteopaths, and the law limits them to the practice of non-invasive manipulative therapies predominantly for neuromusculoskeletal conditions.