Book Review  |   February 2005
Osteopathic Medicine: A Reformation in Progress
Author Affiliations
  • Gilbert E. D'alonzo, Jr, DO
    American Osteopathic Association
    Editor in Chief
Article Information
Book Review   |   February 2005
Osteopathic Medicine: A Reformation in Progress
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, February 2005, Vol. 105, 90. doi:
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, February 2005, Vol. 105, 90. doi:
This insightful, user-friendly manual approaches the story of osteopathic medicine from past, present, and future perspectives. Osteopathic medical educators recount the history and purpose of osteopathic medicine in a book designed for physicians, student physicians, and interested nonphysicians. 
Gerald G. Osborn, MD, MPhil, succinctly presents the complex history of osteopathic medicine, making it clear that this form of healthcare is a uniquely 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 to also 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 practice 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, explains in another chapter how, despite this primary care focus, specialty and subspecialty care evolved within the osteopathic medical profession. The evolution of these areas of specialization accelerated the profession's prestige and increased 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 progressiveness of the osteopathic medical education process, the growth of which was necessary to support the growth that was occurring in the profession. Dr Wood's explanation helps readers 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, R. Michael Gallagher, DO; Frederick J. Humphrey II, DO; and Marc S. Micozzi, MD, PhD, speculate how the osteopathic medical profession may change over time, noting in particular the 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, have learned a great deal. I have a greater appreciation for the foundation of hard work that was required to develop this professional opportunity that allows osteopathic physicians to provide patients with a distinct and effective mode of therapy. 
 Edited by R. Michael Gallagher, DO; Frederick J. Humphrey II, DO; and Marc S. Micozzi, MD, PhD. 137 pps. Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2001. $41.95.