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Letters to the Editor  |   February 2008
Ignorance in High Places
Author Affiliations
  • Linda Ha, DO
    Internal Medicine Center, Summa Health Systems, Akron, Ohio
    Associate Director
Article Information
Medical Education / Graduate Medical Education
Letters to the Editor   |   February 2008
Ignorance in High Places
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, February 2008, Vol. 108, 84-85. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2008.108.2.84
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, February 2008, Vol. 108, 84-85. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2008.108.2.84
To the Editor: Three years ago, I submitted a request to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research for a complimentary subscription to Mayo Clinic Proceedings. A complimentary subscription to this journal is available for all general internists, as is publicized within the journal. To my surprise and frustration, however, my request was rejected on the premise that, because I am an osteopathic physician, I am considered a “family practitioner” and, therefore, qualified to receive only The Journal of Family Practice. 
The point that is most disturbing to me about this misclassification is that I am certified in internal medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine—though I also completed an internal medicine internship that was certified by the American Osteopathic Association. A letter that I wrote to Mayo Clinic Proceedings to explain these facts went unacknowledged. 
Several weeks ago, my chief resident, who is also an osteopathic physician, received similar subscription-request rejections from the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic, each based on the same justification. The irony of this situation is that our institution (Summa Health Systems, Akron, Ohio) pays for our internal medicine residents, both DOs and MDs, to attend the Cleveland Clinic's Internal Medicine Board Review and Recertification course. Furthermore, there are numerous osteopathic physicians who are completing fellowships or residencies, or who are active clinicians, at both institutions.1 
This ignorance regarding the qualifications of osteopathic physicians is one of many misrepresentations that the osteopathic medical profession must work vigorously to address. I am deeply concerned that if highly reputable institutions such as the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic harbor misunderstandings regarding osteopathic physicians (as indicated by the actions of these institutions' publishing venues), how can the osteopathic medical profession hope to make any advancement within the greater medical community? Let's not waste our time voicing our disappointment to MSNBC because Keith Olbermann, one of the hosts on that cable news network, made an ignorant comment about osteopathic physicians not being “real” physicians.2 Let's instead go to the source and educate the medical community about the similarities and differences between the osteopathic and allopathic medical professions and work to achieve equality for our profession. 
Physician directory: Leonard Calabrese, DO. Cleveland Clinic Web site. Available at: http://www.clevelandclinic.org/staff/getstaff.asp?StaffId=337. Accessed December 28, 2007.
Crosby JB. AOA responds to MSNBC. AOA Daily Report. June 27, 2007. Available at: http://blogs.do-online.org/dailyreport.php?blogid=4&archive=2007-06&catid=20. Accessed December 14, 2007.