Letters to the Editor  |   December 2009
Discrimination Against DOs Alive and Well
Author Affiliations
  • Carl Hoegerl, DO, MSc
    Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania
Article Information
Neuromusculoskeletal Disorders
Letters to the Editor   |   December 2009
Discrimination Against DOs Alive and Well
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, December 2009, Vol. 109, 654-655. doi:
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, December 2009, Vol. 109, 654-655. doi:
To the Editor:  
Just when I thought that discrimination against osteopathic physicians was becoming less common, I have discovered that it is still alive and well. 
I was recently interested in taking some neurology subspecialty certification examinations. However, I was disappointed to learn that the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties (UCNS) does not recognize the osteopathic neurology board certification. I contacted the UCNS via e-mail to ask if they would offer an exception to their policy and consider my osteopathic neurology board certification, but their response was “no exceptions.” I subsequently found out that the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) also offers no recognition of the osteopathic neurology boards—either for active membership or fellowship status. 
The osteopathic neurology board examinations are perhaps more difficult than the allopathic neurology board examinations. For example, during the oral part of my examinations, I was required to not only examine patients, but also to interpret electroencephalograms, electromyograms, and radiographs. I do not believe that the allopathic neurology board examinations typically require such interpretations. Thus, I believe that the lack of recognition of osteopathic board certification by the UCNS and AAN is both discriminatory and arrogant. 
I work with many allopathic physicians, and we view each other as equals. I make diagnoses of neurologic conditions and treat patients just as well as my allopathic colleagues. I should not be discriminated against simply because I have a “DO” after my name instead of an “MD.” 
The federal government, including the Department of Veterans Affairs and the US Armed Forces—as well as thousands of hospitals across the United States—recognize osteopathic board certifications. Why the UCNS and AAN do not is a mystery. 
I have observed that the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and the American College of Osteopathic Neurologists and Psychiatrists have tried throughout the years to get various organizations to accept AOA subspecialty certifications, and they have achieved a great deal of success. Unfortunately, there remains much more to do. 
I encourage all osteopathic physicians—especially those who are neurologists—to write the UCNS and AAN to urge them to accept osteopathic neurology subspecialty certifications. If we stick together and fight, perhaps we can continue to move the osteopathic medical profession forward.