Letters to the Editor  |   October 2013
Osteopathic Training for MDs
Author Affiliations
  • Theodore A. Mickle, Jr, DO, MPH, MC, USAF (Ret)
    Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma
Article Information
Medical Education / Graduate Medical Education
Letters to the Editor   |   October 2013
Osteopathic Training for MDs
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, October 2013, Vol. 113, 727. doi:
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, October 2013, Vol. 113, 727. doi:
To the Editor: 
In his July 2013 letter to the editor, Dr Fredricks1 expressed his opposition to allowing allopathic physicians (ie, MDs) to participate in osteopathic graduate medical education programs. I recall the similar “us vs them” climate and mentality so prevalent when I was an osteopathic physician (ie, DO) in medical training more than 30 years ago. 
I am grateful that the 2 allopathic military residency programs that I completed (1 in family medicine and 1 in aerospace medicine) did not take a similar closed-door policy toward DO applicants that Dr Fredricks would apply toward MD applicants. 
When Dr Still practiced medicine in the late 19th century, the medical profession he reacted against was not scientifically based and would not have been recognized—or permitted—by any modern school of medicine. Today, both DOs and MDs practice essentially core scientific medicine, as I have witnessed over the past 30 years in both military and civilian clinical settings in the United States and overseas. 
The values and principles2 of holistic, patient-centered, preventive, and health- vs disease-focused care in a primary care setting that some, such as Dr Fredricks, would claim as unique and exclusive to osteopathic medicine are the same as those held by most of the US and international MDs I have worked with. Additionally, such values and principles were repeatedly emphasized during my military family medicine residency—accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education—in the 1980s. 
I recommend that the “us vs them” mentality that continues to maintain artificial barriers between the osteopathic and allopathic medical schools be abandoned as anachronistic and un healthy, especially in light of the fact that most DOs obtain their residency training from allopathic sources. 
   Editor's Note: The views expressed above are the author's and are not intended to represent any positions held by the US Department of Defense or the US Air Force.
Fredricks TR. Osteopathic training for MDs [letter] [published correction appears in J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2013;113(10):727]. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2013;113(7):506-507. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2013.002. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Overview of osteopathic medical education/accreditation/the four-year curriculum. American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine website. Accessed September 6, 2013.