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Letters to the Editor  |   January 2015
Gray Zone: Why a Delayed Acceptance of Osteopathic Medicine Persists in the International Community
Author Notes
  •  *N.K. Pandeya, DO Plastic Surgeon, Flight Surgeon, USAF (Retired) West Des Moines, Iowa
     
Article Information
Medical Education / Being a DO / Curriculum
Letters to the Editor   |   January 2015
Gray Zone: Why a Delayed Acceptance of Osteopathic Medicine Persists in the International Community
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, January 2015, Vol. 115, 7-8. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2015.002
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, January 2015, Vol. 115, 7-8. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2015.002
To the Editor: 
I enjoyed the special report, "Gray Zone: Why a Delayed Acceptance of Osteopathic Medicine Persists in the International Community" by Gougian and Berkowitz.1 
Unfortunately, this problem of recognition of US osteopathic physicians (ie, DOs) as fully licensed physicians has plagued our profession since the beginning, even in the United States. When I was a first-year student at the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery (now Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine [DMU-COM]) in 1965, few people in Des Moines knew that there was a medical school in their city; many thought that we were chiropractors. Locals called us the students from the "Still College"—based on its founding name, Dr S.S. Still College of Osteopathy in 1898! In 2003, when Iowa Governor, Honorable Terry Branstad, became the DMU-COM president for a few years, we gained more exposure. 
At the international level, at least in the former British colonies, the DO degree is confused with Diploma in Orthopedics and Diploma in Ophthalmology. To complicate matters further, osteopaths from Europe do not have the same curriculum and training as we do in the United States. I have not seen the curriculum of the British School of Osteopathy lately, but to my knowledge it was not a comprehensive medical school curriculum. The osteopathy training and degree in Australia and New Zealand is also different; last I heard, it was more on the level of a physician assistant program. 
Understandably, the scope of practice allowed to osteopaths trained in countries outside the United States is restricted to manipulation. However, US-trained DOs should be granted the scope of practice that allopathic physicians have in other countries. The international health licensing agencies must be educated on the osteopathic medical school curriculum and training of DOs in the United States and understand that US DOs are fully trained physicians, distinctly different from osteopaths trained in other countries. This effort has to be taken on by individuals—each one of us—and also at the state and national levels. Some DMU-COM students have attended the WHO fellowship program in Geneva, and their good work is spreading the word. A global health initiative is another great way to spread the knowledge. (doi:10.7556/jaoa.2015.002) 
N.K. Pandeya, DO 
Plastic Surgeon, Flight Surgeon, USAF (Retired) West Des Moines, Iowa 
Correction
The author and the JAOA regret an error that appeared in the following article: 
Hoff G, Hirsch NJ, Means JJ, Streyffeler L. A call to include medical humanities in the curriculum of colleges of osteopathic medicine and in applicant selection. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2014;114(10):798-804. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2014.154. 
In the byline of the article, Dr J. Jeffrey Means' credentials should have been listed as MDiv, PhD. 
This correction will be made to both the full text and PDF versions of the article online. 
References
Gougian RL, Berkowitz MR. Gray zone: why a delayed acceptance of osteopathic medicine persists in the international community. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2014; 114(10): 754-760. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2014.145. [CrossRef] [PubMed]