Book Review  |   October 2004
Osteopathic Medicine: A Reformation in Progress
Author Affiliations
  • Gilbert E. D'Alonzo, Jr, DO
    American Osteopathic Association
    Editor in Chief
Article Information
Book Review   |   October 2004
Osteopathic Medicine: A Reformation in Progress
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, October 2004, Vol. 104, 448. doi:
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, October 2004, Vol. 104, 448. doi:
This insightful and user-friendly manual approaches the story of osteopathic medicine from past, present, and future perspectives. Osteopathic medical educators place the history and purpose of osteopathic medicine in perspective for physicians, student physicians, and interested nonphysicians. 
Gerald G. Osborn, MD, MPhil, succinctly presents a complex history of osteopathic medicine and makes clear that this form of healthcare is a unique American phenomenon. Starting from humble beginnings, the osteopathic medical profession expanded its curriculum beyond that of the musculoskeletal system, yet purposely maintained a central theme that recognizes the importance of this system for the maintenance of health. Organizational cohesiveness, political and legal savvy, and certainly some good fortune allowed osteopathic medicine to not only survive, but also to develop a strong position in modern healthcare. 
In chapter 2, John M. Jones, DO, focuses on osteopathic medicine as we know it today, exploring the osteopathic medical philosophy and how it has evolved. Later in the chapter, the osteopathic profession's “second great osteopathic philosopher,” Irvin M. Korr, PhD, builds on the initial teachings of osteopathic medicine's founder, Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO. The author reviews osteopathic principles and practices and uses case presentations to clarify these concepts. 
Next, Barbara Ross-Lee, DO, describes how classic osteopathic medical care evolved into a healthcare delivery profession with a primary care emphasis. As allopathic medicine pursued specialty and subspecialty care, osteopathic medicine maintained its focus and strength in primary care medicine. 
Felix J. Rogers, DO, then explains how, despite this primary care focus, specialty and subspecialty care evolved within the osteopathic profession. The evolution of these areas of specialization in osteopathic medicine accelerated the profession's prestige and its acceptance by patients. Osteopathic physicians chose to maintain the basic practices of osteopathic medicine; however, and implemented osteopathic medical tenets, which were later expanded. 
Douglas L. Wood, DO, discusses the history and progressiveness of the osteopathic medical education process, necessary to support the growth that was occurring in the profession. Dr Wood's explanation helps the reader to understand how the basic tenets of osteopathic medicine were maintained as the profession matured and was integrated into the healthcare environment. 
The final chapter focuses on the future of osteopathic medicine. Here, the editors, Drs Gallagher and Humphrey, speculate how the osteopathic medical profession may change over time. In addition, they note ways in which patient care and medical education need to change so that osteopathic medicine remains separate from allopathic medicine as a healthcare system. 
I recommend this book for experienced osteopathic physicians, as well as osteopathic physicians in training and individuals who are interested in understanding the osteopathic medical profession. 
I have now read this book twice, and with each reading, I have learned a great deal. I have a greater appreciation of the foundation of hard work it took to develop this professional opportunity. Because of the efforts of so many, osteopathic physicians can continue providing a distinct type of healthcare for patients.♦ 
 Edited by R. Michael Gallagher, DO; Frederick J. Humphrey II, DO; and Marc S. Micozzi, MD, PhD. 137 pps. Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh, 2001. $41.95.