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About AOAO

Mission Statement

To facilitate the education and development of osteopathic orthopedic surgeons to provide the finest musculoskeletal care.

Vision Statement

AOAO: The Leader in Osteopathic Orthopedic medical education.

AOAO History

The American Osteopathic Academy of Orthopedics (AOAO) was formed in 1941. AOAO currently has over 1,900 members, including Active, Life, Military, Retired, Honorary, Allied Health and Associate Members. Each year members of the AOAO participate in the training of 500 Osteopathic Orthopedic Surgeons in 40 different residencies as Program Directors and Faculty.

In order to promote the highest quality orthopedic service, the AOAO has long provided outstanding instructional courses semi-annually. The Academy first promotes and advances the specialty of osteopathic orthopedic surgery among its members. We also promote osteopathic orthopedic surgery throughout the osteopathic profession, disseminating the latest medical information in our specialty. These efforts are aimed at increasing the knowledge of all Osteopathic Physicians, thus enhancing their ability to manage patients in the field of orthopedics.

What is osteopathic medicine?

Although Osteopathic Physicians (D.O.’s), like M.D.’s, complete four years of basic medical education, often followed by two to six years of residency training or graduate medical education, the D.O. designation includes an additional dimension to patient care with the D.O.’s holistic approach to medicine. In addition to the required medical education and training, all D O.’s regardless of specialty, are trained in Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (O.M.T.), a hands-on diagnosis and treatment tool that can be used in conjunction with, or in place of, medication or surgery.

Osteopathic concepts emphasize the following principles:

  • The human being is a dynamic unit of function.
  • The body possesses self-regulatory mechanisms which are self-healing in nature
  • Structure and function are interrelated at all levels.
  • Rational treatment is based on these principles.

All medical, surgical and obstetric specialties are represented within the Osteopathic Medical Profession.

The origins of osteopathic medicine

Dr. A.T. Still, who practiced medicine in the late 1800’s is credited as being the founder of Osteopathic medicine.

At least a half-dozen schools of medical thought dominated the 1800’s. Most American doctors accredited disease to organic decomposition, climate, heredity, or mechanical injuries. Medicine in the 1800’s was filled with “old wives” tales. A.T. Still was disturbed with old wives tales being subscribed to as fact, and rejected contemporary medicine.

The more traditional schools of this period were the Allopaths, or medical doctors, most of whom trained in an apprenticeship or practiced without any formal training; the Homeopaths, who were trained in orthodox medical schools but advocated the use of natural substances to treat ailments; and the Eclectics who borrowed medical thought from all available methods of treatment. Yet another school was that of the Bonesetters, who were the precursors of orthopedists.

Andrew Taylor Still was the product of a little of each of these schools of thought; however he rejected the majority of his contemporaries.

For several years he explored alternatives to drugs and concentrated on the body’s ability to heal itself. This is the period when osteopathic medicine was conceived. Before the end of the decade, Andrew Still was successfully treating asthma, headaches, heart disease, paralysis and other medical problems with manipulative techniques common to the bonesetters.

In 1892 Andrew Taylor Still opened the American School of Osteopathy. He had 15 men and 3 women in his class.

The Osteopathic Physician

Two types of physicians may practice medicine in all 50 states: The Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) and the Allopathic Doctor of Medicine (M.D.). Osteopathic Physicians recognize the relationship between physical structure (musculoskeletal) and organic function and view the human body as an interdependent unit rather than an assortment of separate parts and systems. In addition they are also trained in the application of osteopathic principles in practice.

All medical, surgical and obstetric specialties are represented within the Osteopathic medical profession.