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The AOA steps in when DOs and osteopathic students face professional barriers to training, licensure and credentialing.
Though osteopathic medicine is one of the fastest-growing health care professions in the country, DO physicians and students still occasionally encounter professional barriers related to access to training, licensure and credentialing. When these situations arise, the AOA steps in with the goal of ensuring all DOs enjoy the rights and respect they have earned as osteopathic physicians.
If you are a DO or osteopathic student member of the AOA in need of professional advocacy or support, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following list includes recent examples of legal advocacy work the AOA has championed on behalf of its members. This page will be continuously updated with new information as it becomes available. Learn more about our advocacy initiatives on The DO and stay up to date on social media with #AOAinAction.
On May 28, 2021, the AOA released a statement and launched an aggressive social media campaign calling for transparency in use of professional designations by non-physician clinicians. While recognizing the important contributions of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, Physician Assistants and others, the AOA statement urges the healthcare community and decision-makers to support policies that recognize the importance of the physician-led medical team model, recognizing that physicians are the only professionals with the comprehensive medical education and training to lead patient care. Read the full statement.
In December 2020, the AOA and seven individual physicians filed a lawsuit against the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) challenging a policy stating that residency and fellowship program directors must be ABIM-certified in order to qualify residents for the ABIM exam. The policy disadvantages DOs certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine (AOBIM), who are fully qualified to serve as ACGME residency program directors.
The AOA and individual physicians have asked the court to enter an injunction barring the ABIM from implementing the policy. “The only purpose served by the ABIM requirement is to create a competitive advantage for the ABIM. This is harmful to program directors, residents and our graduate medical education system at-large,” said AOA CEO Kevin M. Klauer, DO, EJD.
The AOA continually advocates on behalf of osteopathic medical students and residents who encounter discrimination from audition rotation sites and residency programs that exclude DO applicants. Students who encounter these obstacles should inform their school’s administration and report the behavior to the AOA at email@example.com.
The following list summarizes recent AOA advocacy efforts on behalf of osteopathic students and trainees:
In late 2020, the AOA was contacted by a DO who was seeking, and had been denied, eligibility for subspecialty certification in neurocritical care through the Committee on Advanced Subspecialty Training (CAST) program. The DO, who is certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, had completed an osteopathic neurology residency program and a fellowship in stroke and neurocritical care at Duke. As a result of AOA advocacy on the physician’s behalf, CAST subsequently awarded the certification.
In April 2021, the AOA was contacted by an osteopathic affiliate organization regarding a physician who faced obstacles promoting his facial plastic surgery specialization on Real Self, an online healthcare marketplace focused on plastic surgery, dermatology and minimally-invasive treatments. A Real Self policy required physicians listed as specializing in facial plastic surgery to have trained in fellowships accredited by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS). Eligibility for such fellowships is limited to physicians who complete ACGME training in ENT or plastic surgery and obtain certification through the American Board of Otolaryngology or the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Osteopathic training and certification were not recognized. Following advocacy by the AOA, Real Self amended the policy to align the credentialing process for DOs and MDs and recognize osteopathic training and certification for AOA board-certified facial plastic surgeons.