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American Osteopathic Association honors the 130th anniversary of the founding of osteopathic medicine

By AOA Staff


Agilda Dema understands that environmental circumstances factor into a person’s health. When she was deciding a preferred career path, she wanted hands-on training and an opportunity to think and treat patients as a whole.

“I’m very thankful for my osteopathic medicine training because it taught me to have a well-rounded, whole-person approach to diagnoses such as seizures and headaches in the pediatric population,” said Dema, a fourth-year medical student from Midwestern University, a private medical and professional school with campuses in Downers Grove, Illinois and Glendale, Arizona.

She will enter a child neurology residency program at the University of Chicago this year after graduation.

Each year, the osteopathic medical profession joins together during National Osteopathic Medicine Week (NOM Week) to raise awareness of osteopathic medicine and the distinctive care osteopathic physicians provide. This year’s observance, which runs April 18-24, 2022, will highlight the many milestones achieved since the founding of osteopathic medicine in 1892. Osteopathic physicians, or DOs, practice in every medical specialty and believe there’s more to good health than the absence of pain or disease. Their whole-person approach to medicine focuses on prevention, helping promote the body’s natural tendency toward health and self-healing. The American Osteopathic Association, with headquarters located in Chicago, represents more than 168,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students.

“Our distinctive practice of osteopathic medicine provides great care to many patients in the United States,” said AOA CEO Kevin M. Klauer, DO, EJD.

Building on a proud 130-year history of providing distinctive, whole-person care, the osteopathic medical profession continues to chart record-breaking growth and expansion with each passing year. There are almost 135,000 DOs nationwide. Two thirds of actively practicing DOs are under age 45. The number of female DOs, particularly those under age 45, also continues to grow dramatically. Women have played a key role in the osteopathic profession since the first osteopathic medical school was founded in 1892. Overall, females make up 43% of DOs in active practice today and nearly three-quarters of these are under age 45. Keeping pace with national trends, female students constituted a majority in the ranks of first-year osteopathic medical school students.

“DOs have an opportunity to provide a spark and be the beacon of light for a more holistic approach to healthcare,” said Julieanne P. Sees, DO, a board-certified pediatric neuro-orthopedic surgeon caring for children with neuromuscular conditions at Nemours Children’s Health. “We know that wellness means treating the whole person, and through our osteopathic hands and heart we understand the difference in treating the mind, body and spirit as opposed to just treating diseases.”

Osteopathic medicine is one of the nation’s fastest-growing health care professions. Every year, significantly more osteopathic physicians enter the workforce and help shape the practice of medicine. Today, DOs hold some of the most prominent positions in medicine. They oversee care for our nation’s astronauts, serve in the uniformed services, and even serve as the physician for President Joe Biden.

An all-time high total of 7,049 osteopathic medical students and past DO graduates matched into residency positions that will start later this year, through the 2022 National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) Match.

Aldwin Soumare knows the impact he can make not only in the black community, but in the health profession overall. As a fourth-year osteopathic medical student, he looks forward to helping his future patients understand the importance of treating the whole person and not just the symptoms of disease.

“Where I am from, you are more likely to be incarcerated or killed in gun violence than to become a physician. So I consider it a privilege to be a medical student, not only for myself but for my community,” said Aldwin Soumare, a fourth-year medical student at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. “Every day, I think about my future patients, my community and the opportunity to become a leader in a profession that is empowering and impactful.”

The incoming class is spread out over more than 41 specialties, including family medicine, diagnostic radiology, neurology, neurosurgery, obstetrics-gynecology, orthopedic surgery and psychiatry.

“The success of our DO students and graduates in this year’s match is an exciting indicator of the continued growth of osteopathic medicine and the remarkable quality of the osteopathic physicians entering the healthcare community,” said AOA President Joseph A. Giaimo, DO.

Notable increases for placements in key specialties, such as diagnostic radiology, neurology, neurosurgery, obstetrics-gynecology, orthopedic surgery, pathology and psychiatry, indicate growing opportunities for DO residents to pave the way for further incorporation of osteopathic principles and practice across all areas of medicine. To learn more about DOs and the osteopathic philosophy of medicine, visit

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